Danny Sangra in plagiarism case with car giants Nissan

We last featured Danny Sangra off the back of his critically acclaimed feature-length debut Goldbricks in Bloom, a comedic and satirical critique of the creative generation, featuring a stela cast including Zosia Mamet (Girls) and Leo Fitzpatrick (Kids, The Wire). Given his instantly recognizable oeuvre and steadily growing fan base, we were shocked to learn that the writer director may very well have been the victim of a substantial case of plagiarism.

Sangra, while still relatively unknown outside of the creative sphere, is a successful writer, director, illustrator and photographer. As well as directing his own films he has worked with clients such as Mercedes Benz, Burberry, Vogue and Ray Ban to name but a few.

Back in 2015 he directed A Fistful Of Wolves for Mercedes-Benz as part of Fashion Week Berlin. The film pokes fun at the typical ‘faux motional’ styled fashion adverts and depicts a man, portrayed by Justin O’Shea, trapped in a world of fashion while his friends wonder what has happened. We begin in the familiar territory of a solitary man narrating over an arpeggiated synthesiser, alluding to his faux dark and mysterious side. In a dimly lit back street in a sports car, O’Sheas narration is abruptly interrupted by the realisation he doesn’t have his keys. He tells us he’s searching for something and knows where to find it. We then cut to him in a late night store picking up some milk. It encompasses the dry, slight-of-hand humour that Sangra has produced his whole career and the ad was a hit, racking up nearly 100,00 views on his personal channel alone and it received a number of hi profile accolades and awards. This was not an unknown piece of film making.

Fast forward three years and Infiniti, the luxury car division of Nissan, have just unveiled their new ad directed by world-renowned film-maker Mark Romanek under the creative direction of 72andSunny.

Starring NBA basketball star Steph Curry, we begin in the familiar territory of a solitary man narrating over the throb of a synthesiser, alluding to his dark and mysterious side. Cruising through the city streets in a high performance vehicle, Curry’s narration is abruptly cut short by a phone call asking if he remembered to get milk. We then cut to him in a late night store picking up said milk.

In A Fistful of Wolves, O’Shea’s character is very much the butt of the joke. He forgets his keys and when he picks up his female counter part, rather than the mysterious man appealing to the female lead, she seems largely unimpressed with the scenario at hand. It quickly transpires that he is in fact simply out to buy milk.

While 72andSunny’s ad – with its somewhat emblematic approach to a tough guy having his cool broke by his female opposite, and which includes the unforgettably clichéd line, “Honey, did you remember to get the milk?” – doesn’t truly bare resemblance to the nuanced dialogue one can expect to find in Sangra’s back pocket, it’s fair to say that the work bares a striking resemblance to Sangra’s vision of three years ago. What is yet unknown, is if there is any direct connection.

The involvement of Mark Romanek may also raise some eyebrows, as back in 2002 he himself was accused of plagiarism with his film One Hour Photo starring the late, great Robin Williams.

In the last couple of days Danny has taken to the time to splice together the two originals into one bite-sized portion for ease of appraisal and uploaded the results to Vimeo. We’ll keep our opinions in our offices, but what do you think?

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