It was with shock and great sadness that in November last year we heard that my friend and colleague Ringan Ledwidge was seriously ill, followed swiftly by the terrible hammer blow of his death at 50.
Ring was a both gregarious and yet also very private, very few knew that he had been very stoically battling cancer for some time.
Last September, I saw him in LA, he was happy, his prognosis was that he’d finally beaten his illness,
he was sitting in the sun with his new baby, his first child, and we talked about his eagerness to get
back to work. In a matter of weeks, he was gone, it was very shocking, a terrible loss to his family,
friends, colleagues, and as witnessed tonight, to film making and the craft of advertising in general.
Ring was undoubtedly in the very top tier of world class directors, his prodigious output was eclectic, ranging over all genres, he couldn’t be pigeonholed. If you were lucky enough to secure him to direct
your project then you knew you were going to get something special.
Ringan was a man with vast imagination, commensurate skill, an innate sense of humour, pathos,
and an ability to get believable and subtle performances from his cast. He could do sexy as well.
He created music videos, films and of course famous commercials.
One only has to look with astonishment at the body of work he leaves, the amount alone is remarkable, and that everything he directed was fantastically good is frankly almost irritating.
He leaves a plethora of well-loved, award-winning ads. I’m not going to list them, there are too many,
but we’ll see a short, extraordinary montage in a minute, put together by his long-term editor,
Ring’s legacy will, I’m sure, be of great use and inspiration to students of the future, thanks to bodies
like the British Arrows, the BFI, and others. It’s so tragic that he should have had many more years of creativity ahead of him, we’ve been robbed.
The thing is, the man himself was so nice, he was tall, handsome, affable, humorous, easy going,
loyal and generous to his friends, greatly loved and admired. A bit of a challenge to stand next to in
a photo call.
He worked by encouragement and inclusiveness, he liked a calm set and a good atmosphere. His confidence meant he didn’t need to be a caricature shouty dick head director, even in times of stress, which we know can occur in our business at times.
If I wanted to sum up what he represents, it’s the best of advertising filmmaking, he was an auteur, something becoming rarer in these days of creating by committee, he had a singular vision and was prepared to make sure it ended up on screen, inevitably the result would be an enormous
enhancement of the written script.
I’d like to thank the British Arrows for acknowledging Ringan and I know his legacy will be cherished
by not only his family and mates but also the advertising industry in general.
FELLOWSHIP AWARD 21|22Visit the The Mill website