- LOS ANGELES
Believe Media has signed Eli Snyder, marking his first global representation as a director for branded content, advertising and music video projects. Snyder recently wrapped second unit directorial work on Netflix’s Rebel Moon.
“Eli is an incredible talent, collectively as a director, writer and producer. He hustles, he explores, he’s a very contemplative storyteller,” said Believe Media CEO and executive producer Liz Silver. “As we continue to expand the talent on our roster with young, evocative filmmakers like Pietro Coppolecchia, Josh Hayward, Bola Ogun and now Eli, we look forward to creating work with them that sparks influential cultural conversations for brands and music artists.”
Snyder began his career in film as a child actor in 300 (2006) and Watchmen (2009). Absorbing the size and scale of the studio film sets, these experiences and his interest in shooting his own stories led him to UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. His award-winning thesis film, Interlude (2019), about a liquor store robbery, won the Grand Prize at the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival, earned the Jury Award at the San Francisco International Festival of Shorts and was distributed through PBS’ Encore series.
A quarterback recruit for the UCLA football team, Snyder enjoyed a season with the Bruins before committing fully to filmmaking.
“Football and directing are all consuming in their own right,” noted Snyder. “The responsibility process, collaboration process and sheer number of people relying on you--that friction of where to spend my time reached a peak and I had to choose.”
Sidelining a lifelong passion for the sport, Snyder has seized the opportunity to bring his experience as a Division 1 athlete and football acumen to screens. In 2016, Snyder joined the crew on the set of his father’s film, Zack Snyder’s Justice League to cast and choreograph Cyborg’s football scene. Scouting a semi-pro league, working with Ray Fisher (True Detective) and the stunt team, Eli Snyder designed Victor Stone’s game-winning drive for the Gotham City Wildcats--a pivotal memory of Stone’s life before the fatal accident that led to his transformation into Cyborg.
Since Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Eli Snyder has completed degree programs at UCLA, AFI and directed over a dozen shorts and specs. His most recent short Aves (2022), a film about a professor and war veteran forced to remember the realities of his past after a bristling encounter with a mysterious student, won the Grand Prize at the 2023 Rhode Island International Film Festival and has been selected for the 2023 CAA Moebius Showcase.
Rebel Moon, which opens in theaters on December 22, 2023, tells the story of a peaceful settlement on a moon in the furthest reaches of the universe that finds itself threatened by the armies of the tyrannical Regent Balisarius; a mysterious stranger named Kora becomes their best hope for survival. The sci-fi action film was shot at the height of lockdown bringing Eli and Zack Snyder tightly knit throughout the production process, quarantining, driving to set together every day and building on their creative partnership.
Zack Snyder shared on their working relationship: “His point of view is his point of view. I respect him as a creative. The main criteria for anyone I work with on any extensive creative collaboration is you want each person--DP, set designers, unit directors--to have a vision all their own and bring a perspective to the project you don’t. As second unit director, they hold a huge responsibility and you have to trust their aesthetic, trust what they’re satisfied with and know that they have that next gear to persevere and get the shot where it needs to be.”
While they enjoy the back-and-forth on Zack’s features, Eli added, “That perseverance thread hits on everything we do. A lot of times you have an abstract idea you’re wrestling with and when one of these ideas is real prickly you need that voice that’s like--if you’re gonna do it, do it. I’m fortunate we keep a constant dialogue on whatever each of us is working on to push one another on those untapped ideas.”
Eli Snyder’s recent graduation from AFI marks a full circle moment for all as Zack, a founding director of Believe Media, signed with executive producers Liz Silver and Luke Thornton just out of Art Center. A couple of his student films piqued their interest and, together, they filmed a spec that would go on to earn Zack jobs with Wieden+Kennedy and Hill Holliday (then Hill, Holiday, Connors, Cosmopulos) including the iconic Budweiser “Clydesdale” ad that premiered during the 2002 Super Bowl. This nurturing of young talent has been the catalyst for era and genre defining artists under Believe’s stewardship, a nod to the company’s visionary commitment to artistic originality and visual innovation.
“He [Eli] has a clarity and a restlessness to unpack concepts to tell stories that captivate,” added Silver. “It’s a duality we love to see brought to life; it’s something Eli has developed in his own right and wields to guide his work.”
“The genesis of Believe has always been to capture that new idea or new take--it’s what the company will always be about and with all the new talent on board it’s great for us to keep moving the creative forward,” Zack Snyder concluded. “It’s so cool to see Eli become a part of it.”