- Friday, Apr. 12, 2019
- LOS ANGELES
Director Gerard de Thame has joined commercial production house Mutt Film. A prolific filmmaker with more than 500 ads to his credit, de Thame has worked with such major brands as adidas, American Express, Audi, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Microsoft, Nike, Samsung and Whole Foods. For the latter, he directed a documentary-style ad, which escalated into the first-ever national campaign for the health food retail giant.
His knack for cinematic intimacy is apparent in the recent RAM “School Talk” spot he directed for GSD&M. Focusing on the emotions of a father speaking at career day, de Thame used images of the truck minimally and only in a completely natural way. He describes the campaign as a dream project: “At the heart of the film is the idea of passing core values from one generation to the next. Blending the father’s voiceover over a recollection of associative images hit a tenor of emotion that’s rare in the auto advertising space.”
From big-budget promotions for leading car, tech and beverage brands to surprisingly low-key intimate character-driven narratives, de Thame exhibits a wide ranging versatility. He has earned Emmy nominations for his work for Mercedes-Benz (“Modern Ark”) and Volkswagen (“Synchronicity”), and numerous industry honors such as Cannes Gold Lions, D&ADs, AICP Show and Clio Awards, and BTAA’s Best Commercial of the Year. He also had the great distinction of having his work--such as Mercedes-Benz’s “Falling in Love Again”--showcased at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The British native made his directorial debut with a black-and-white short film shot in 16mm. He continues to approach filmmaking in much the same way. He directs and shoots, often times using pocket-sized cameras that allow him to be nimble on his feet. At the same time, he gives actors and non-actors space on set. This can break down narrative expectations and help to create a relaxed atmosphere, which can bring intimate moments to life.
“In many ways, things have come full circle,” said de Thame. “I started out hand-holding lightweight 16mm Aaton cameras. Now I’m back to hand-holding even smaller ones, and I absolutely adore the freedom that it brings.”
“I think one of the most liberating things about our business is that no two projects are ever the same,” he continued. “Each set of challenges and parameters forces you to adapt and try new things. I always look for projects that allow for experimentation and the opportunity to elevate the creative vision to a higher ground.”
Joining de Thame in this new venture is his executive producer Shannon Lords-Houghton, now a partner at Mutt, and his longstanding producer Fabyan Daw. The director said he knew Mutt was the right place for him upon meeting partners Beth George and Jonathan Hyde, “It was clear they have a vision for the future, but aren’t opposed to pivoting when things need to change. They not only support my own perspective, they encourage it.”
Mutt EP/owner George said, “I have been a massive fan of Gerard’s work for a very long time. I’m so inspired by his ability to see the little things, yet capture the big sweeping picture at the same time. We are honored to be working together.”
Prior to joining Mutt, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York, de Thame was most recently represented by Great Bowery Film. Previous production company roosts for him include HSI, Believe Media, and Supply & Demand.