- LOS ANGELES
Social issues-driven director Brenton Gieser has joined L.A.-based Invisible Collective. This marks his first commercial signing. He brings to his new roost a body of work informed by his background as a biracial Korean American, photographer and social advocate.
A filmmaker whose work has screened at DOC NYC, Mill Valley Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, CIFF, SF Indie Fest, and more, Gieser first crossed paths with Invisible Collective after hearing Justin Polk, Invisible co-founder and director, on a podcast about filmmaking. Immediately, Brenton aligned with what Justin and Invisible Collective were all about.
“I just loved Justin’s vibe and his perspective on creating true, meaningful diversity in the industry with Invisible Collective. I just knew immediately it was a company I had to be a part of,” said Gieser. “I’m so proud to officially be a part of their team. Their perspective on social issue branded storytelling and mine are one and the same—if you come from a place of authenticity and integrity, it will shine through in the work and how people interact with it.”
Creative and executive producer Sam Kelly Jr. said, “Our first production together, Brenton blew me away with his keen sense of directing actors and imbuing every shot with meaning. He accomplishes a dramatic approach with a rich visual style that really separates him from so many directors. From that first frame I saw in the monitor on his short for Mass General I immediately saw a future where we’re making truly powerful and beautiful films, commercials, and branded content together at Invisible.”
Originally from Half Moon Bay, Calif., Gieser spent his 20s at several organizations advocating for those experiencing economic and social injustice. At 30 years old, Gieser pivoted from the social sector to visual storytelling after finding solace in taking street portraiture during a particularly dark period of his life. His love affair with photography eventually led him to make his first documentary, Tender Souls, with which Gieser strived to humanize those living in the Tenderloin, one of San Francisco’s most destitute and misunderstood neighborhoods.
“I went through this kind of really intense dark patch. And during that time, I picked up a camera as a way to cope. It helped create distance between me and the outside world that was becoming overwhelming, and before I knew it, I discovered it was a powerful way for me to tell the human stories I wanted to capture,” said Gieser.
Since, Gieser’s documentary filmmaking and branded content have continued to explore human-centered stories about social issues. His recent spot for Mass General Cancer Center, entitled “When your World Stops,” artfully explores what a person goes through after a cancer diagnosis, a moment Gieser is familiar with after being mistakenly diagnosed with cancer at one point in his life. Likewise, Gieser’s goodness and empathetic touch shines through in his other ads, like one for Family and Me (FAM), which explores the realities of child sex trafficking in the Bay Area, and a COVID-era short for Adidas, which explored the inspirational day-to-day lives of “healthcare heroes.”
“What I care about is people and helping to create a better world for everyone. I’ve always been attracted to social issues and nonprofits, so whenever I can do branded work on their behalf and infuse it with a new level of creativity that may be outside of what they thought was possible—that’s what inspires me,” said Gieser.
By that same token, Gieser’s first feature documentary, The 50, tells the story of 50 men who became the first substance abuse counselors to come out of the prison system. The documentary is set when the California State Prison System was dangerously overcrowded and plagued with widespread drug use. It spotlights the transformational stories of 50 inmates serving life in prison who changed their own lives to help others.
As he teams up with Invisible, Gieser wants to stay true to his passion for social issue-branded storytelling. He looks forward to seeing how Invisible’s reputation, team, and resources can help him maximize his creative potential and the impact of his work.
“Social issue branded storytelling is such an exciting and growing area,” said Gieser. “This is the first roster that I’m jumping on. And I couldn’t be better suited with a company like Invisible, which will challenge me creatively and allow me to level up.”