Ian is widely recognised as being one of the most visually gifted, original and imaginative film directors of his generation. He has devised striking and highly evocative ways of bringing the past to life in science and historical documentaries.
Many of his films are now considered to be classics of the genre, and their innovative visual ideas have been widely copied. Standout films include The Elements (RTS Award) The Curse of the Methuselah Tree (Best Environmental Film, Jackson Hole,) The Dambusters (RTS Award), Playing Out, and the recent major BBC drama documentary about the sinking of HMS Coventry, Sea of Fire.
Originally a painter, and famous for having created an utterly convincing French Revolution with five people and discontinued East German black and white film stock (“which has beautiful grain the size of golfballs”), Ian makes a creative virtue out of any limitation placed on him by budget or commissioner, seeing it as a formal challenge. Having a complete understanding of the tools of his trade, he uses the full palette of different film stocks, video formats and post production tricks to maximum creative effect.
His confident hand developed the breathtaking visual style – the “Windfall Look” - evident in such series as Men of Iron, Escape From Colditz , Commando and The Real SAS. A single foray into wildlife documentary revolutionized the genre. The Ultimate Guide to Elephants won numerous awards for the Discovery Channel for its innovative approach, and became the model programme for this groundbreaking series.
Ian has also made powerful cinematic drama for television, often experimenting with new ways of involving real people in fictional stories. Twockers, a landmark BBC drama, was entirely improvised. Ian used the stark landscape of West Yorkshire to tell the story of a group of Northern lads looking for love and excitement in the barren wastelands of Halifax.
Equally accomplished in both drama and documentary disciplines, Ian has developed with Oliver Morse novel ways of making films which combine the strengths of both. – Films such as Born With Two Mothers and Richard is My Boyfriend have been recognised not only for their innovative form, emotional power and intellectual interest, but also for the beauty with which they were realized. Ian continues to develop the drama slate for Windfall, whilst acting as Executive Producer and creative advisor on two major new Windfall documentary series currently in production.