Directors Haley Geffen and Sam Stephens Go Co_ed
Co-ed Studios’ (clockwise from top left) EP Alexis Kaplan, managing director Damijan Saccio, partner and director Haley Geffen, and partner and director Sam Stephens.
  • BROOKLYN, NY
  • --

Haley Geffen and Sam Stephens have launched Co_ed Studios, a Brooklyn-based production company. The new boutique venture has quietly produced work for a number of brands and media companies, including TED, NBC Universal, PVH (parent of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Van Heusen), MetLife, Charter Communications, NatGeo and Discovery Communications. Their latest work for Barbarian and the Japanese electronics and technology company Omron, aptly titled “Super Team,” shows their collaborative capabilities as a company.

Geffen, a live action director with extensive chops in broadcast work with an emphasis on sports and celebrities, most recently was the executive creative director and roster director at Bodega Studios. And Stephens, a writer/director at heart whose live action,  animation and CG work reflects an irreverent, playful streak, was most recently a co-founder and executive creative director at humble, a bicoastal company that closed last year.

At Co_ed they’ll direct jobs individually and also team up on projects that require live action, 2D and 3D animation, VFX and design. As was the model at both Bodega and humble, Co_ed will offer concept-through-completion capabilities, ranging from creative all the way through live action, editorial, post, finishing, color grading and mixing.

Joining Geffen and Stephens is managing director and partner Damijan Saccio, who most recently was EP at Postal, the design, VFX and post production division of humble. Prior to that he was a founder and EP at UVPHACTORY, the design and production studio based in New York.

Rounding out the Co_ed team is EP Alexis Kaplan, who brings vast experience in live action as an EP and head of production at such companies as a WHITELABEL product and Supply + Demand. She started her career at the design and production studio Imaginary Forces, where she worked on projects that frequently integrated VFX, animation and motion graphics. Also on board at Co_ed is budding producer Nikki Horowitz, who comes over from her post at Bodega.

Clients said working with Co_ed’s collaborative model has shown its advantages: “Throughout the production process, their expertise was clear--seamlessly integrating live-action, CGI and captivating storytelling in a technically challenging narrative,” said Barbarian ACD Cole Orloff, who worked with them on the “Super Team” spot. Added Barbarian executive producer Joe Guyt, “On projects like this, the complexities are always multiplied. But from start to finish, from shoot through post, they approached the job as one team, creating one film. The result was a tremendous success. It’s been a great partnership.”

Stephens says the launch of Co_ed is a natural next step for both Geffen and himself: “Haley and I had spent a number of years building the creative abilities of our respective studios from scratch,” he notes. “We were both ready to go out on our own and craft something tailor-made for who we are as professionals and as people.

“I think we both had in mind a more boutique vibe,” he continued, “one that could be choosier with projects, smarter with overhead and more focused on the part of the business we really enjoy – namely, making quality creative together with quality people.”

As for the Co_ed moniker, Stephens explained, “We wanted to get across the idea of inclusion, of multiple, diverse viewpoints having equal weight. This was our chance to create a new culture that was founded on gender equality. It’s funny, I’m the arty one who’s obsessed with fashion and food, and Haley is like the queen of sports, so we slipped into a fresh kind of non-stereotypical gender balance rather naturally.”

“We loved the idea of the ‘co’ prefix, too,” added Geffen. “So many of the things we’re really passionate about just happened to start with those two letters: collaboration, coexistence, communication, community. It just fit.”

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