It’s official, Director Samantha Nell signs to Gentlemen Films
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.)
Some of our fave ‘funcomfortable’ moments from some of Sam’s commercials and films.
Of course, this is no first date for Sam and Gentlemen Films. Initially, the relationship started out by Sam helping with some assistant directing, post-production, colour work, and production management (whilst directing her own work on the side) but after a few years, Sam agreed to stay on permanently. Gentlemen’s cheerleader-in-chief Ingrid Engelbrecht adds: ‘Sam is, quite simply, a multi-talented, multi-tasking genius. She has collaborated with us at Gentlemen Films on many projects, in various capacities, but she is first and foremost a fabulously talented performance director with a strong, aesthetic eye. Sam also happens to be incredibly hard-working, whip-smart, hilarious and extremely kind. She brings invaluable experience to our team.’
The reason why her number is not already on your ‘most dialled’ list is probably because Sam has spent the greater part of her career bossing it up in the film industry internationally. One of her films even sent her down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. BADASS! So, let’s briefly list the credits to bring you up to speed so you can start throwing money at her.
Another thing that’s BADASS about Sam is her reel. Feast your eyes and ears…
Sam graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia… uh yeah, that’s the same degree Martin Scorsese has. Over her career as a filmmaker she’s made short films on four continents and although she’s only fluent in English, she’s directed films in Mandarin, Korean, Hindi and Zulu. We asked Sam why she would punish herself like that and she simply shrugged and said ‘I love obstacles.’ LEGEND! Her films have premiered at major film festivals including the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, Durban International Film Festival and Locarno. Her accolades include Best Short Film at the Africa International Film Festival and a nomination for a Brazilian Academy Award…We googled it and Scorsese doesn’t have one of those!
Apart from utilising Sam’s strength as a performance director with a clear aesthetic, we would also suggest collaborating with her right in the beginning of your projects, even in the scripting stages. Her innate understanding of the ins and outs of the filmmaking process, editing chops, years of experience as a film director and the ability to stretch budgets to still create work of a high standard, give her a decided edge. But the coolest thing about Sam is by far her personality. She is joyfully awkward, quick-witted and smart. A real new school filmmaker brain, with her finger on the pulse, and creative solutions in her pocket. Get Swiss Army Sam on the job by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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