- Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2017
- LOS ANGELES
Noble, a shop headed by co-founder and EP Mark Medernach, has signed the French directing duo of Camille Bovier Lapierre and Jean-Baptiste Lefournier--who work under the name Camille & Jean-Baptiste--for spots and branded content in the U.S. This marks the first American representation for the directors, who began working together while at MAC GUFF in Paris, and have since shifted their French affiliation to studio Les Fils De.
Camille & Jean Baptiste are notable for their deft mix of live action and visual effects, marked by a strong flair for design. This can be seen in work like their “Design Your Life” for the Asian carmaker Haval, in which live action storytelling, mixed with VFX and AR, depicts how people will interact with the sleek, technology-powered Haval automobiles of the future. Other Camille & Jean-Baptiste work for brands like Citroen shows off their work with CG, while spots for the French energy management firm Schneider Electric reveal complex live action scenarios, enhanced by effects and graphics, that demonstrate how the company’s products benefit its customers.
The directors also have their hand in fashion, beauty and personal care work as well. Their spots for brands such as L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Sephora and the luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin display the ability to mix effects and live action with a sense of drama, style and panache.
The benefits of co-directing were something the two filmmakers discovered almost by accident. “We’d already begun to direct on our own, and decided to team up to compete internally at MAC GUFF for a feature film title sequence project,” said Jean-Baptiste. “When we won the job, we realized we were an effective team, and so we’ve continued to work as partners.”
The piece he’s referring to is a design-driven procession of red, white and blue swatches and swipes, backed by a ‘60s surf music soundtrack, that culminates in an impressionistic version of the British Union Jack. It opens the live action romp Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia, a French blockbuster that starred Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve.
Jean-Baptiste trained in graphic design while Camille first earned a degree in architecture before studying visual effects and motion graphics. As directors, Jean Baptiste was drawn to graphic-driven work while Camille explored the mixture of live action and effects. Their styles meshed perfectly, complementing their strengths and leading them to create ads, music videos and short films that combine visual effects with cinematography, lighting and design in support of what they like to call “an inspired poetic vision.”
Jean-Baptiste said they collaborate closely during preproduction, but also have their own specific areas of responsibility. “Camille hones in a bit more on storytelling consistency, while I focus on cinematography,” he noted. “We both join to fine tune the very look of the film, especially when it’s heavy on design.” And while they enjoy the creative flexibility that working in VFX and CG provides, they’re never far removed from the emotional impact of live action. “We feel it makes for a more grounded film,” said Camille.
Medernach launched Noble in July 2015 after 25 years with animation company DUCK Studio. He and partner/director Paul Dektor brought with them eight directors previously represented by DUCK. Noble, Medernach explained, is designed to operate in a lean fashion. “Our approach is to represent independent artists that specialized in unique forms and styles of animation,” he said. “They’re artists from around the world, who can either work on their own or, if needed, we can set them up with a studio or produce it in-house. In any case, we’re able to provide them with a support team ready to make sure they can deliver their best creative solutions.”
He first saw the work of Camille & Jean-Baptiste online, and was captivated. “I watched their Citroen spot and loved it,” he recalled. “As I explored more and more I realized that each project was exciting in its own way, so I reached out to them.”
Medernach feels the directors’ talents will have broad appeal for agencies and brands in the U.S. At Noble, Camille & Jean-Baptiste join a directorial roster that includes BlinkMyBrain, Jamie Caliri, Oliver Conrad, Paul Cummings, Dadomani, Lane & Jan, Lucas Borras, Hsinping Pan, John Robertson, Screen Novelties, Smog and Tiny Inventions.
The company is represented on the East Coast by Carolyn Hill and Amanda Rosenberg, in the Midwest by Katy Richter and Heather Guillen, and on the West Coast by Kevin Batten and Crystal Bedford.