In the last two years alone, Karien has accumulated some serious metal for her work, including awards from One Show, Crystal, Loeries, Bookmarks, SAFTAs and more. But obviously most importantly (to us at least) she received a ‘Special Mention in the iDidTht Craft Awards’ by Jonathan Beggs, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi. Beggs on New Balance ‘Baby vs Dale Steyn’: “The outstanding TV commercial this month is not a TV commercial but an online piece for New Balance. (…) It’s beautifully handled by Karien Cherry from Giant Films. Directing celebrities and kids (and cats) is a lot harder than watching them!”
Karien was born in Malawi, raised in Zimbabwe, has a South African ID, an American driver’s license, married a Brit, speaks Afrikaans, English, Shona and French and completely beside the point, but equally intriguing, especially if you’re a millennial, has recently deleted Facebook off her phone. She’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, and we think the key is in her work.
After school, Karien spent 5 years traveling the world as an actress with a performing arts troupe. She eventually decided to swap the theatre planks for the director’s chair and enrolled at AFDA Cape Town. It was during her honours in Writing and Directing that Karien first met director Ian Gabriel from Giant Films. Karien: ‘He came to give a lecture there and he was just so cool, chilled, approachable, a real breath of fresh air. I decided there and then that I was going to be his friend.’ We laugh, because that’s kinda cool, in a semi-creepy, but non-threatening, yet totally stalkery, kind of way.
With Ian’s background in theatre, the two immediately hit it off and during her final year at AFDA, Karien was interning at Giant Films. Karien: ‘I always say I did a degree at AFDA in film making and then I did another degree at Giant in advertising.’ Karien researched for Ian for three years and assisted on his feature film ‘Four Corners’. Oh, by the way, she has the most credits on that film, six to be exact #DropsMic.
Her first piece of directing work with Giant Films is still one of our faves.