Two top directors join Together Films, Catharine Cooke and Alessandra Scherillo
‘These are two incredibly powerful and established directors that are at the top of their game. Catharine Cooke and Alessandra Scherillo are genius storytellers who both bring such unique perspectives. A great fit for Together Films.’ Says Executive Producer Gaye Leong of the new additions to the Together roster. We find out more about Alessandra and Catharine’s combined experience of over 60 years, Emmy and Oscar noms, SAFTA wins, big brands, Al Pacino, Tilda Swinton, Monte Carlo…we’re not gonna lie, we’re a little intimidated.
Let’s get into why you should get to know both these talents, we’ll go alphabetically…
Meet Director Alessandra Scherillo
Alessandra shooting in Rome
If you haven’t heard the name Alessandra Scherillo before, don’t worry, you’re not completely out of the ad game loop. Half British half Italian, Alessandra has spent most of her career based in London and Milan, but take note because she’s available to shoot in SA with Together Films! After beginning her filmmaking career in the documentary department at the BBC in London Alessandra spent 15 years working as a DOP and emerged from The National Film School with a film that was in competition for the Oscar Shorts. Excuse us while we collect our jaws from the floor.
Alessandra bridged the gap between cinematography and directing and began working on award-winning big brand commercials like Pret a Porter, Armani, Renault, Ford and Vogue and with the likes of Tilda Swinton and Al Pacino. Alessandra has a great eye and brings an elegant European aesthetic to the commercials space. Alessandra understands choreography, dance and movement, beauty, sports (did we mention she used to be a professional skier?), fashion and children. Irreverent, interesting, slightly rebellious in a playful way. Obsessed with the female body and the power in how it’s portrayed, Alessandra creates entire worlds in her storytelling.
ASICS ‘In the City’
THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT ‘Memories Are Back’
L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE ‘Pivoine Flora’
Alessandra on the value of women directing women: ‘It’s important to show the female gaze. Women have to look at women represented by women. We bring a deeper understanding of the body language or even the way a woman would dress. How many times have male directors asked my opinion on an actress’ wardrobe and I tell them straight, that’s not right, she would not wear that.’
Alessandra shooting in Milan
On her journey to becoming a director, Alessandra worked her way up from runner, focus puller, camera operator and director of photography. Her experience propelled her into the top end of the British film industry. ‘A background like mine as a DOP means you bring coverage, understanding of the performance and of the editing. You’re constantly editing in your head. You also learn that it’s not all about beauty but the hidden body language. The most difficult thing is to get the best performance out of models or people with no acting experience, especially when they have very little to do. The internal is very difficult to portray and that knowledge and know-how comes with experience.’ Says Alessandra.
Meet Director Catharine Cooke
Still from ‘The Girl from St Agnes’, directed by Catherine Cooke and Cindy Lee
For the past few years, Catharine Cooke has had a super impressive run in long-form and for her commercial work, she’ll now be repped by Together Films. Emmy nominated and SAFTA winner, Catharine’s credits are endless and most recently include directing Reyka, the first-ever South African TV production to open the Monte Carlo TV and film festival (which she co-directed with Zee Ntuli). She was also the lead director on The Girl from St Agnes, the multiple SAFTA Award-winning limited series (co-directed with director Cindy Lee). On a career moving in-between long-form and commercials she says: ‘Long-form teaches you how to be a team player. But what I love about commercials is I get to condense storytelling, focus on the craft and play with the expensive toys.’
Catharine serves performance, performance, performance. As an actor turned director, Catharine understands actors deeply and her love for crafting performance and immersing herself in a script is evident in her work. Comedy, romance, action or drama, as long as there is a meaty story she brings the goods. Catharine says ‘I learnt a lot from acting. I really understand what it is to feel incredibly vulnerable in front of a camera, your ass is figuratively and literally hanging out.’
PANADOL BABY & INFANT
THE GIRL FROM ST ANGNES – TV Series
Catharine kicked off her career over 25 years ago behind the camera as an Assistant Director to Fiona Macpherson. Like Alessandra, she worked her way up and was an AD for about 6 or 7 years, so by the time she went into directing she really had an understanding and respect of every single department from the PA to the Executive Producer, she got it. An experience she now finds invaluable when it comes to collaboration and productivity on set.
‘Alessandra and I have both cut our teeth in the industry and commercials directing is something wonderful we do and to work with Gaye (Gaye Leong, Executive Producer at Together Films) and be represented by her, who for as long as I have known her has had an impeccable name in the industry, puts us in the golden light.’ Catharine Cooke
Still from ‘Reyka’ directed by Catharine Cooke
Together Films represents Directors Malo 8 and Bevan Cullinan with Alessandra and Catharine now joining. Wanna (s)talk some more? Together Films on IDIDTHAT and Company Website
Contact Together Films:
Gaye Leong: Executive Producer
+27 83 267 8008
Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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