Bindler Tells AdChat DFW Insider Stuff
In the brand documentary directed by Robb Bindler, Matthew McConaughey reveals his deep-seated curiosity and unfiltered immersion into the people and process that cultivate the iconic American bourbon Wild Turkey. Filmed in and around the Wild Turkey distillery in magnificent Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, through intimate views and candid conversations, the documentary captures McConaughey’s exploration of the brand as its new Creative Director and the sum of unique elements and bold flavor that are fundamental to Wild Turkey.
Adchat DFW asked Robb a few questions about the Kentucky shoot, McConaughy and how he approached the production.
ACDFW: How did you come to direct the documentary?
RB: Matthew called me and told me what was going down and was interested in my getting into the sandbox with him. Matthew said he wanted it natural, a short documentary about the discovery process.
ACDFW: How you approach the production?
RB: The distillers of Wild Turkey, the Russells, are the real deal, so we tried not to get in the way of the authentic chemistry between them and Matthew. We wanted to make a distinction between shooting a commercial campaign and the documentary. Matthew knew I shot a lot of both, but he didn’t want the onerous footprint of the film shoot on the documentary day. He wanted it to be loose, fun, and to capture the reality of the situation.
AC: Did the process change your view or perception in any way?
RB: I’ve drank Bourbon and Scotch for 20 years and never considered Wild Turkey, but because I sat with the master distiller of the product and talked about it in a different context, I realized how amazing this bourbon is. We can get cynical about the business of advertising, but sometimes changing people’s context really does work. It certainly worked for me. So I’m curious to see what happens.
AC: What have you worked on with Matthew before?
RB: We’ve known each other since our high school art class days in Longview, Texas, and we’ve worked on screenplays, documentaries, movies and more.
AC: Is he as fun and natural as he appears?
RB: He’s an intense, creative person. Some people, like myself, thrive around that energy. For me, he’s a joy to collaborate with because there is a great back and forth dialectic to get at the truth of what you’re doing.
AC: Tell us a bit of your directorial history?
RB: I started as a writer and transitioned into shooting commercials and documentaries. One feature documentary “Hands on Hardbody” launched my career. From there, I quickly expanded to do commercials, mostly in the documentary genre.
AC: How did you decide on the style of the Wild Turkey documentary.
RB: I was torn between doing what I know Matthew wanted, in essence a low-impact production, and what I felt the agency, J.Walter Thompson, and the client wanted, which was that, plus rich, beautiful visuals. So it was a tug of war in my brain between fulfilling a commercial production and being true to the documentary production. It was a bit of a dance between those two worlds, but I think we threaded the needle pretty well.
AC: What was it like shooting on location at the Kentucky distillery?
RB: These guys have made this product with their hands for over 75 years; and as an American it made me proud of the product. I was moved by the whole thing. I grew up in Texas; I’m a proud citizen so it was great getting behind a truly American product.
AC: Do you have a funny story to share about the shoot?
RB: A couple days before the shoot, Matthew decided he was going to show up a day early and go down to the Kentucky River with just me and my camera and get the party started. My initial response was two-fold: “That’s terrific, because it will give me more time with you, we can get the pretty light, get more done, more footage…fantastic!” and “This is going to set off five-bell alarms on the agency/client side who will want to be there when this happens.” Travel arrangements got adjusted and somehow everyone made it there a day early. What we shot that morning became the blueprint for the entire shoot.
AC: Do you find the creative process a moving thing?
RB: Yes. You go in with a road map and great intentions, but then open yourself up to the gods of production and see what happens. You’ve got to be ready to dance with all the partners and let it happen, especially with documentary style work.
Watch the documentary…