There could not be a more appropriate time to introduce director Samantha Nell to the advertising industry. Not that there’s anything ‘appropriate’ about these times, but hey, if you’re gonna be making commercials during a pandemic, you’ll want Sam on your team. Gentlemen Films has fondly always referred to her as ‘Swiss Army Sam’. From directing to writing and editing, Sam comes with all the features! She even has production experience, so not only does she possess problem-solving chops, she’s also an internationally recognised performance director with a strong sense of aesthetic and an idiosyncratic sense of humour.
Now more than ever before, budgets need to be used in the right place while still creating work of a high standard, which just so happens to be Sam’s sweet spot. What really got our jaws dropping was that, because of her experience directing (and doing pretty much everything else) on her short films, Sam is able to take projects and see them through from inception to post, an invaluable skill when it comes to stretching the moolah with the added bonus of being backed by a renowned production house like Gentlemen.
Sam grew up hooked on musicals: a gateway genre. And that led to all kinds of other films; from action films all the way through to art-house horrors about lesbian mermaids. Sam is a human encyclopedia of the different modes of cinema. Her focus is on finding the best approach for each specific story rather than applying one brush to them all. Why commercials? Sam says they offer the opportunity to do just that: “Paint in a multitude of styles.” She then looked embarrassed at having made a painting analogy. Not unlike Sam, her work is often quirky, offbeat, or as she puts it ‘funcomfortable’ (a term Sam admits she borrowed from Transparent director, Jill Solloway.)