- LOS ANGELES
Siblings Sophie and Walker Cole, aka directorial duo The Coles, have joined Sanctuary Content for commercials and branded content in the U.S.
Previously handled in the U.S. market by production house Hey Wonderful, The Coles--born and bred Manhattanites now based in L.A.--are alumni of SHOOT’s 2017 New Directors Showcase. For both their commercial and short film work, The Coles prepare closely together leading up to a shoot, then divide and conquer on set. Sophie focuses on performance, while Walker communicates with the talent. With one keeping an eye on the big picture to stay true to the vision, and the other focusing on the momentum, energy, and mechanics of the shoot, they hold each other accountable, coming out the other side stronger as a result. The product of this creative give-and-take can be seen in campaigns for brands including Apple Music, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, CVS, and Tory Burch.
Their short film Present Day, Athens is a piece of work they cite being proudest of thus far, having both had a hand in virtually all aspects of the production. The film garnered several accolades, including Silver at the 1.4 Awards and a win at the International Cinematographers Guild--Emerging Cinematographer Awards. The latter honor gained recognition for Daniel Bombell’s lensing acumen.
The Coles’ journey into advertising was perhaps inevitable, with a family tree that reads like a call sheet. Their father is veteran commercial director Charlie Cole and their uncle, Charlie Miesmer, was a prominent former ECD at BBDO NY. Additionally, their mother was a rep, their other uncle a production designer, and their stepmom a hair and makeup artist. Despite their industry-soaked DNA, working in commercials wasn’t their original plan.
Both of The Coles’ backgrounds are firmly rooted in the arts. Sophie studied art history and worked in fashion, then became a costume designer. Walker was an art dealer. As fate would have it, in 2016 they wound up collaborating on a film project together and it went so seamlessly, they made their directorial partnership official. The pair credit their development as filmmakers to the very fact that they experienced a world outside of advertising before ultimately returning to it.
In a joint statement, The Coles shared, “We both really enjoy the challenges of telling a story in a short, finite amount of time as it breeds creativity. Those who are really exceptional at it can make 30 seconds feel like 30 minutes in terms of substance, and that is a real art.”
Preston Lee, founder and executive producer of Sanctuary Content, said, “Sophie and Walker’s family shorthand lends itself to a singular clarity of focus in their collaboration, which is truly wonderful to watch in action. They each leverage their innate abilities and honed skills, then come together in a sort of checks and balances system that benefits from the best of two differing perspectives. We’re thrilled to be representing them in this next stage of their career.”
The Coles maintain representation in the U.K. market via production house Spindle.