Emerging director Meghan Daniels’ ethical approach to filmmaking led to directing an icon for Nike
Emerging director Meghan Daniels’ ethical approach to filmmaking led to directing an icon for Nike.
Having signed with Robot just under a year ago, Meghan Daniels joins a growing group of emerging filmmakers who believe that the filmmaking process should fundamentally be caring in its approach. Only a few minutes into meeting Meghan, we realise the immense value and importance they find in working with compassion, constantly challenging, questioning and championing fair representation in every project.
But before we get into that, we have to acknowledge that mainstream media is slowly (mostly glacially though) realising that authentic representation is more crucial than ever. It was no surprise then that after seeing some of Meghan’s previous work with brands like Adidas and Levis, that Nike contacted them to direct one of their ads starring Caster Semenya, if you haven’t seen it yet…
Nike x Caster Semenya ‘My One Thing’
A story about Caster Semenya and her work with the youths at the Masai Athletics Club.
The way Meghan handles their subject matter, and more importantly their performers, with such respect and care would be invaluable for any creative wanting to tell a meaningful story in an ethical way. Below is an extract we totally stole from Meghan’s Instagram post accompanying the ad for Nike, cause damn!
“I think a lot about what it means to me to be a director. Some thoughts include: the ‘final film’ is not what filmmaking is about – instead, it’s all about the processes and conversations you don’t see with everyone involved; many of the stories you work with are not yours and you do not have authority and agency over them – you listen and act as a conduit to bring these stories to fruition with care and sensitivity in ways in which access is allowed (always ask questions, always check first); always learn (read about the history of representation and image-making in SA and Africa); sometimes you’ll be labelled as the ‘pot stirrer’ but do whatever you must to chisel at the problems that exist in this industry (for me, an example is acknowledging and utilising my white privilege and positionality at all times, and learning every day especially when I f*ck up); human beings are complex, act with care and compassion as far as you are able to.”
The mic has been dropped!
Meghan Also Did This
Meghan has a keen eye for beautiful cinematic imagery while still maintaining a gritty and raw feel. Passionate about telling human-centric stories that sit on the intersections of art and documentary. About their work Meghan adds: ‘I think a very important part of my work is also how I try to utilise mixed media, creating bodies of work that look like participatory visual diaries: writing overlays, handycam and full-frame footage, analog photo scans etc. I like pieces to feel collaborative, almost like a diary that everyone has added to’. Here are three of our favourite Meghan spots, impressive stuff from a relatively new director on the scene.
Dada Khanyisa: Adidas x Stan Smith x End Plastic Waste
Adidas ‘Lead the Change’
Levis ‘Pride x Manila Von Teez’
Look, we can go on and on about Meghan, but don’t just take our (and Nike international’s) word for it. Robot’s Executive Producer and Owner, Liam Johnson, pretty much sums it all up perfectly.
“Meghan is in no way scared to challenge my pre-conceptions of things. Because of their lived-in experience of the world, Meghan brings a totally different perspective and point of view to filmmaking than say me, a forty-year-old-white guy. When I first saw the Manila von Teez short film it really stirred something in me. It felt important and it felt really important that I engage with that material. Meghan believes in a filmmaking process that is collaborative, ethical and caring in its approach and I believe that Meghan is the future of advertising.”
More so now consumers expect more from brands, especially when it comes to the impact they leave on society or the environment. The demand for inclusive messaging that is not harmful but rather reflective of the diverse society we live in is growing. And if we’re lucky this messaging will be put in the ethical hands of emerging directors like Meghan Daniels. Wanna (s)talk some more? Robot on IDIDTHAT and Company Website.
Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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