I’ve known Kim Gehrig for the best part of 25 years. She is one of my closest friends
In the increasingly ephemeral world of advertising and short form content, her work
has made a lasting impact on culture. It has changed behaviour and attitudes. It has
redefined the way we see things. Kim’s work transcends.
In the early years of Somesuch I remember trying to sell her on an average script. In true
used car salesman fashion I told her I thought it could be good. She paused, looked me
in the eye and told me, “Tim, good is the enemy of great.” I didn’t know what to say. I later
found out that it was an old Mark Waites line from her days as a creative at Mother. Kim has
always known a great line when she hears it. She pushes. She strives. She distills. She always
looks for the essence, the truth — the truth of a concept, the truth of an image. And therein
lies the province of great.
This left brain rigour paves the way for right brain alchemy. Lizie Gower used to talk about
‘fairy-dust’ directors, those that can sprinkle magic. Kim is a fairy-dust director. She conjures.
Over time you learn to recognise that conjuring. She grows quiet, eyes narrowing, looking
askance, fringe ruffled, lost in concentration. Then she walks into a room and says things like,
“I can see this film now. It’s singing vaginas.”
Kim would never consider herself a political film maker. But her work is political in that it deals
with the dynamics of power and representation. For so long advertising has been predicated on
the male gaze, on controlling the way women are supposed to look and behave, on controlling
the way they relate to their bodies, to their sexuality. Kim’s work liberates those bodies and
frees them from shame. But more than that she celebrates people in all their rich complexity.
Her lens inspires as it captures human joy, finding rhythm and music in the everyday.
It’s not easy being a woman in the advertising industry. It’s even harder being a working mother,
caught in that limbo between feeling like you’re never enough or being told you’re too much.
Kim has been patronised, dismissed, talked over, mis-gendered, mansplained; she’s been called
scary when advocating for herself; she’s been labelled a femi-nazi by the Daily Mail; she’s endured
online bullying and rape threats. But her body of work is the loudest rebuke. From ‘This Girl Can’,
to ‘Viva La Vulva’, to ‘Make Movies like the Movies’, to ‘The Greatest’, among many others, she has
earned her place in the pantheon of great directors, while opening the door for a generation of
The late great Steve Golin once told me that the first responsibility of a film maker is to show up
everyday. Kim wakes up everyday with the simple intention of trying to make something great.
I am in awe of her.
Written by Tim Nash, Co-founder, Somesuch
FELLOWSHIP AWARD 2023Visit the The Mill website