Shooting at the Edge of Wildness

  • Issue no. 3

For this issue’s TAH Pick, we spoke to Wonderhatch’s very own Co-Founder and Creative Director Patrick Gather, and discovered his favourite piece of travel and hospitality content he’s worked on to date – the Nihi Sumba Resort film. 

Why did the Nihi Sumba project stand out to you? 

Nihi Sumba is a dream-like resort on a tropical island in Indonesia, it’s on a lesser known island called Sumba island (surprisingly large) bigger than Bali (which we all know and love). But it’s much more remote. This resort not only has a charm that is wild, raw and untouched but does great things in the local community by supporting a local charity, The Sumba Foundation, who work within the communities to help the locals prosper whilst still keeping hold of their culture and traditions. 

And that’s what makes the location for Nihi Sumba so incredibly unique!

You go to this island, to this little airport, you drive in this jeep that picks you up, for two hours through jungles, along cliff edges and tiny untouched villages – kids waving from the side of the road – it still feels untouched. The locals also love seeing a new friendly face experiencing all their island has to offer.

So for this project, we created a brand film, which was the first film they have ever created – and this went down so well we ended up continuing to create content with them and subsequently made some little vignette films. These were about all of their villas, facilities, and all of the activities/experiences that they offer. This is why they have the motto/mantra ‘Nihi Sumba, the edge of wildness’.

Your client was the hotel. What was the biggest challenge your client was facing / the reasoning for them wanting to do this project? 

Yes totally, as you can imagine as it’s such a remote place, they solely rely on word of mouth and social media. Unlike hotels in Paris, or New York, who even just get footfall customers – but when you’re on a remote island which takes a long time to get to, you need to advertise in a slightly different way. 

So – Nihi Sumba’s main source of advertising is Instagram and that’s SUPER important for them. The owner of the hotel, James Mcbride, is a BIG ally and advocate of social media content and most importantly the content we have produced for him. So it was vital that we produced content which appealed to their audience and performed on this platform. 

The hotel’s location is the perfect place for those unrivalled experiences – such as riding horses along the beach, lying by the infinity pool watching the most incredible sunsets or going on an adventure trail exploring the island. Making Instagram the perfect, and most important platform, for advertising for this client. 

I’m gathering, that when capturing all of these activities and experiences, you might have experienced some challenges along the way? 

I’m glad you’ve asked! 

So, what were they and how did you manage to overcome them (if you did!)?

The challenges we experienced took many different forms along the way…

As you can imagine, shooting in south east Asia comes with a very different climate, which brings technical challenges with the climate. Working in a jungle, by the sea, for long periods of time, starts to deteriorate your kit. So you have to make sure the kit isn’t exposed to the air the whole day, due to the levels of salt carried in the humid air. You start to realise that there is already salt in and around the little buttons and lenses etc – as this is detrimental to your equipment. 

This meant equipment issues were vast!

Also, on a personal level, shooting in excess of 35-40 degrees in SUCH a humid climate left you feeling quite exhausted. Almost to a point where I felt faint and ended up going onto my knees. It was so tough. 

But on a positive note, all of the people on this resort, all of the client team and people we were working with were so supportive, and so friendly. Always making sure you’re ok and fed/watered. It ended up feeling like a family project – everybody was fascinated but most importantly, keen to make it work!

So would you say that’s probably the stand out thing to you about the project, and perhaps why is it so special? 

Yeah, I mean it sounds like such a cheesy thing to say, but the people made this project what it is. And, that’s the local people being completely open minded and welcoming you with open arms into their homes, and villages. I was there sipping tea with such incredible and welcoming people, and was lucky enough to experience their way of life first hand. 

Then, on the other side, the people who also work in the resort (this is really interesting), are almost exclusively villagers from the island who are trained in luxury hospitality. Which was just so great to see.

I guess that gives the hotel that authenticity, because they are local, and they have all of their local insight, knowledge and history, which is such a special offering for the hotel. 

Yes, exactly. This is something that the owner, James, really values and appreciates. 

If you were to do this project again, what would you do differently?

No, I wouldn’t. Honestly, it was just a positive joyful experience. I wouldn’t do anything else. 

The experience we had shooting there is very similar to someone who would go there to travel. You really felt that level of escapism there. Which is just one of those things that you want from a holiday!

One final (more general) question to round off… what do you think is the key ingredient in making a great piece of content? 

I think it captures the essence of what you want the audience to experience when the ‘buy’ that particular ‘product’. So for Nihi Sumba it’s what you gain from those experiences and that’s what these pieces of content needed to convey.

Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn: 

Check out Patrick’s IMDB page:

Gigi Riddle
Account Director

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