DK: Which film genres provide the most imaginative in your opinion?
TN: This is a difficult question and it is very hard to pinpoint down to a particular genre. There are imaginative and interesting designs in all genres, but if you had to pin me down, I would say that the most creative posters come from Eastern Europe in the 50, 60s and 70s, where the artists were given complete freedom to interpret the film and express themselves.
DK: Were there major differences between Posters distributed in the US and those in Europe for the same Hollywood film?
TN: Up until the late-70s, all countries had completely different poster designs for the same film – this is because different distribution companies were in charge in each country and they had to cater to the different psyches. This is one of the most interesting aspects of what I deal in.
From the late-70s to today, the same image or photos are used on posters from around the world-for example; the image for Jaws (which has a shark swimming up towards a girl) was reproduced on the US, British, Japanese, French, Spanish and Italian posters.
DK: Alfred Hitchcock I am sure you would agree was very aware of his own marketing potential. He did not hesitate to even appear on some posters like with his cameo (Birds is one that comes to mind) roles. Why don’t we see the same with directors today like Tim Burton for instance?
TN: Regarding Hitchcock, you are right in that he was very aware of his own marketing potential. This is especially true on posters for re-releases of his films, which more often include his image in the design. This has the consequence of increasing their value and in some instances, the re-release commands more money than the first original release.
As regards to modern directors, for example, Tarantino, his name in large letters is enough to attract attention. E.g., the first poster issued for Kill Bill: Vol 1, had an image of a sword and in big letters it read “Quentin Tarantino’s Fourth Film.”
DK: Could you tell us more on your latest tribute book to Audrey Hepburn?
TN: “Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years” is different to all the other books that I have done up to this point. My previous publications were solely devoted to poster art, whereas the Hepburn book includes original still photographs (both on and off set), magazine covers, fashion sketches, and numerous biographies and essays on the different films and people involved in forming Hepburn’s image.
DK: What was so unique about Audrey (in comparison to other Hollywood Vamps like Grace Kelly or Ava Gardner) that caught your attention?
TN: It actually happened the other way round. I was approached by the publishers to do a book on Hepburn. It was not until I started looking into her career in detail, that I fully appreciated the impact she had and still has on popular culture.
Incidentally, in the gallery, she is by far our biggest selling star.
DK: There seems to be an ever-growing appetite for art books on films in recent years. What explains the success of this type of publication today?
TN: Arguably cinema is the most important art form of the twentieth century. It has permeated all levels of our society and its influence on all areas of popular culture can be acutely seen. I think this explains its continued popularity.
DK: Have the DVD’s and the Bonus features curbed the volume of such publications or on the contrary encouraged sales?
TN: Bonus features on DVD’s etc are really for major film buffs, whereas publications appeal to a wider audience. I don’t really see the two as being that closely connected to be honest.
DK: As a movie enthusiast, do you also have any knowledge or interest in Iranian films and posters? Do you have any rare posters from before the Revolution? Did any survive?
TN: I am a huge fan of Iranian Cinema. Abbas Kiarostami is one of my favorite directors and for me; he is on a par with legends like Fellini, Kurosawa, Truffaut and Godard etc. In fact, his film Close-Up is in my opinion, one of the greatest films ever made. I also very much like earlier films such as The Cow (Gaav) 1969 by Darius Mehrjui and A Simple Event (Yek Etefagh sadeh) 1973 by Sohrab Shahid Saless to name a few.
Unfortunately, I have never been able to track down original Iranian posters for these films. As far as I know, the posters that are on exhibit in the Tehran Museum of Film are American or European posters for Iranian films. I would love to find the originals. I do buy posters for Iranian films that I like whenever I come across them.
DK: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to purchase a film poster of some value?
TN: Do your research. Buy what you like, and not what you think you should buy. Be careful of condition and originality.
DK: I would like to ask you a traditional question on behalf of our editor-in-chief Shabnam Rezaei. What would you take with you on a desert island?
TN: I would take my partner Roxanna, a DVD player, DVDs and an endless supply of good food.
VIVE LE CINEMA!