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Longtime Partners Heather Heller & Francis Lawrence Launch VANDAL for Commercials, Music Videos and More
- Monday, Jan. 25, 2021
In addition to Lawrence, roster includes luminary filmmakers from every genre and discipline
Producer Heather Heller and director Francis Lawrence, the award-winning duo behind some of the most arresting commercials and music videos of the past two decades, have launched VANDAL, a media production boutique creating premium content across all platforms. VANDAL represents established spot helmers alongside directors at the top of their game in features, television, and photography, navigating their transition into spot work. The company also develops young music video directors and content creators, guiding them toward broader recognition and opportunity. In addition to Lawrence, the VANDAL roster comprises director/screenwriter Scott Cooper, director/photographer Sharif Hamza, director Michael Haussman, director/photographer Patrick Hoelck, director/photographer Munachi Osegbu, multi-hyphenate Steve Pink, director/photographer Eugenio Recuenco, directing duo SKNX.TV, director/dp Jesse Salto, writer/director Gene Stupnitsky, director Eli Sverdlov, and director Jean-Claude Thibaut.
While the company’s official launch was delayed somewhat by the challenges of COVID19, VANDAL had the opportunity to produce several initial projects, including Estée Lauder (directed by Thibaut), Jackson Wang Vivo (directed by Lawrence), the music video for Joji and Diplo’s “Daylight” (directed by Osegbu), and L’Oréal Wow with Viola Davis, Amber Heard and Hellen Mirren (directed by Hoelck).
"After two decades of line producing, it was time to open my own shop," said Heller, whose numerous awards include a Grammy for producing Lady Gaga’s "Bad Romance" music video - directed by Lawrence - which garnered a dozen other top honors, including Billboard’s Video of the Decade; an MTV UK Music Video Award for Lana Del Rey’s "'National Anthem"; and an MTV Video Award for Best Female Video for Swift’s "Trouble" in 2013 and Best Female Pop Video for Selena Gomez "Come and Get It." "I have always highly valued my relationship with Francis and felt that our combined body of work created a cornerstone from which to launch a visually driven boutique commercial studio."
Heller recently produced digital campaigns for Tiffany and Co. with Elle Fanning, Cartier with Annabelle Wallis and YSL Cosmetics with Zoe Kravitz, reinforcing her position at the forefront of creative advertising and film production for beauty and luxury brands. Of VANDAL’s diverse roster, she explained, "The amalgamation of film and photography has risen to a highly desirable production standard in the beauty and fashion business. Having spent most of my career with hybrid directors, that is the first place my mind went as far as an ethos for the VANDAL brand."
"I opened VANDAL with my partner Heather Heller not only as a vehicle to produce and direct commercials for myself, but also to build a company that promotes emerging talent while shepherding the careers of established helmers who can deliver the kind of quality work that we have become known for since 1997,” said Lawrence. “Our aim is to create a boutique roster that is limited in size but not in scope.”
The directing talent at VANDAL shares a passion for putting both creative and quality work on the screen. “Representing directors who are also astute feature film stalwarts further emphasizes our commitment to visual storytelling in the short form which is evident in Scott Cooper and Francis Lawrence,” Heller said. “We are also fully committed to breaking new diverse and exciting young talent with Munachi Osegbu and SKNX who are creating music videos that move the needle for Meghan Thee Stallion and Madonna. Since the inception of the company, we have expanded our creative offerings to include venerable helmers like Michael Haussman, comedy icons like Steve Pink and Gene Stupnitsky, as well as masters of celebrity-driven branded content like Eli Sverdlov and Patrick Hoelck.”
Heller noted that VANDAL’s status as a female led company is “something that’s become more common in the last 5 years, but certainly was not always the case - so I am grateful to be living in a time when it is not only recognized but celebrated.”
“I am really proud of the creative team we have assembled,” Heller concluded. “In 2021, our goal is to lead the company forward with an eye toward projects that draw on our accomplishments as a group of unique artists while we continue to develop the voice of VANDAL through unique and culturally relevant projects.”
VANDAL is represented by Head of Global Sales Carl Forsberg and Senior Agent Justin Lassoff (Apostle) on the East Coast, Sarah Gittersonke (SGP Partners) in the Midwest, Julie Koellner (Remedy Reps) in Texas, and Deirdre Rymer Rivard (Blush Creative) and Lisa Gimenez (Lisa G & Company) on the West Coast. Tommy Labuda (Labuda Reps) handles VANDAL for music videos. Estelle Leeds reps Munachi Osegbu and SKNX on the commercial and content fronts.
Meet The Directors
Among the singular voices of cinema is Scott Cooper, who has won widespread acclaim for directing and writing HOSTILES (2017), BLACK MASS (2015), OUT OF THE FURNACE (2013) and CRAZY HEART (2009), on which he led Jeff Bridges to his Best Actor Oscar. Cooper comes to VANDAL just as he completes his latest film, ANTLERS, produced by Guillermo Del Toro, which marks his debut in the horror genre. He reteams with OUT OF THE FURNACE star Christian Bale for the upcoming VALHALLA.
“It’s an amazing thing to see a face and be infinitely curious about its origins,” VANDAL Director & Photographer Sharif Hamza has said regarding the cultural diversity inherent in his work. Hamza has directed campaigns for the likes of H&M and Dior Homme, while shooting still for Kenneth Cole, Fenton and more, in top fashion mags across the globe. He counts La Perla and the Ralph Lauren Holiday Campaign among his recent work. Regardless of the medium, Hamza leads the viewer on an elegant kinetic journey to raw beauty.
Award-winning writer, director and artist Michael Haussman arrives at VANDAL having recently helmed the feature film EDGE OF THE WORLD, starring John Rhys Myers. His music videos - featuring Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Chemical Brothers, Kanye West and more - have received multiple honors, including six MTV Video Music Awards and a Museum of Modern Art Award. Michael has directed award-winning ad campaigns for Levi’s, Diesel, Absolut, Bulgari, BMW, Yves Saint Laurent, Guinness...the list goes on, and VANDAL is honored to be adding to it in association with Haussman’s Person Films.
If there were an award for putting Oscar-winners at ease, VANDAL director and photographer Patrick Hoelck would need another mantle. He recently directed a series of spots for L’Oreal featuring Hellen Mirren and Viola Davis. Hoelck’s warming presence is evident across the many platforms through which he plies his art, including his THE LOVE SHOW podcast and on-camera appearances in films.
Francis Lawrence’s latest work for fashion brands like Calvin Klein, Tiffany & Co with Elle Fanning, and Dior with frequent feature collaborator Jennifer Lawrence, are visual wonders of enchantment and luxury – expanding on the aesthetic he has brought to such sweeping features as WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and the lush, beautifully lensed RED SPARROW. From three installments of THE HUNGER GAMES franchise to “Bad Romance” - considered the most watched video of all time - and so much more, the filmmaking imprint of Francis Lawrence is one of beauty, quality and unparalleled production, a collective standard sustained across the VANDAL roster.
“I feel that meeting (VANDAL founder) Heather Heller was serendipity, since she produced the music video that ignited my passion for art and creating,” Munachi Osegbu recalls, referring to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (directed by VANDAL partner Francis Lawrence). “Lady Gaga was my biggest inspiration growing up because she was my beacon of hope. She showed me that being different and weird wasn’t something to be ashamed of, and that changed me as a person.” As a photographer, he has shot for clients such as Converse, Nike, Rolling Stone, PAPER Magazine, 88rising, Interscope, Epic, and 300 Entertainment. In February 2019, at 22, Osegbu made his transition from photography to directing, and since then his videos have been viewed over 200 million times on YouTube.
When Anthony Anderson and his real-life mama teamed up for T-Mobile during the 2020 Super Bowl broadcast, the Steve Pink-directed spot instantly resonated, as much for the escalating comedic beats as the credibility of the performances. Equally at home going darkly comic and bringing laughter to mamas everywhere, Pink is a natural for the VANDAL roster.
Internationally renowned as a director, photographer and fine artist Eugenio Recuenco was born in Madrid and began his career collaborating with mags including GQ, Marie Claire2, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. His beguiling surrealist short, “The Essence of Seduction” for Loewe Perfume, was honored as the best advertising of the year in Spain, among other honors. Recuenco’s print clients includes Diesel, Yves Saint Laurent, and PlayStation, and he’s brought a nontraditional, painterly quality to spot projects for Chivas Regal, Vanderbilt, Motorola and more.
Director/DP Jesse Salto brings to VANDAL a keen eye trained on the unknown, drawing the viewer into a web of mystery and beauty. Originally garnering acclaim as 1/2 of the Salto Brothers directing duo, Jesse is developing his solo career, backed up by a solid record of advertising work defined by meticulously crafted visuals and storytelling for Chevy, Mazda, Toyota, Ubisoft, Samsung, Diesel, L’Oreal, Audi, and more.
In 2021, music-driven content looks a lot like SKNX.TV (directing duo Sasha Kasiuha and VMA Award winner Nuno Xico). First up is the Netflix documentary chronicling Madonna’s Madame X Tour. Coming from the world of film editorial and visual effects, respectively, Nuno and Sasha juxtapose traditional cinematic art form with cutting edge technologies and other mixed media, true create not just a story, but a sensation.
Comedy happens...especially when the characters in a story are allowed to operate outside the boundaries of advisable behavior. Director and co-writer of the BO smash GOOD BOYS, Gene Stupnitsky gives his creations exceptional license, with hilarious results. This makes the Writers Guild Award winner and six-time Emmy Award nominee a proper VANDAL.
Whether he is teaming with WONDER WOMAN’s Gal Gadot to “capture the beyond” for Huawei, or shooting for Ali Baba, Oppo, Pelephone and Coke, VANDAL’s Eli Swerdlov defies the laws of physics, taking us to places that don’t exist...and making us want to live there.
Breathtaking, classic and aspirational, the work of French filmmaker Jean-Claude Thibaut features celebrated subjects such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sophie Marceau, Naomi Campbell, Jon Hamm and Karlie Kloss, bringing to VANDAL all the elegance of a Monte Carlo roulette table, with none of the risk - just the strong point of view and technical proficiency of a visual artist whose commercial clients include Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Estée Lauder.
VANDAL represents established spot helmers including filmmaking exemplar and partner Francis Lawrence, alongside directors at the top of their game in features, television, and photography who transition into spot work via the singular acumen of partner/producer Heather Heller. VANDAL also develops young music video directors and content creators, guiding them toward broader recognition and opportunity. From emerging groundbreakers to iconic disruptors, VANDAL is cultivating a legacy brand where experience meets experimentation to produce content that will stand the test of time.
L’OREAL PARIS – WOMEN OF WORTH | Spots Title(s): WOMEN OF WORTH | Agency/Location: McCann NY | VP Creative Director: Sue Whelan, VP Creative Director: Rachel Liebson, Agency Producer: Charlie Reed, SVP Executive Producer: Debbie Dunlap, SVP group Account Director : Lu Midori, Art Director: Sean Costello | Production Company/Location: VANDAL / LA | Director: Patrick Hoelck, DP: Pieter Vermeer, EP(s): Heather Heller, Producer: Kevin McMahon, Production Manager: Alex Czajkowski, Coordinator: Niko Toubia | Editorial Company/Location: Good Company NYC
Artist: Joji and Diplo | Label: Columbia Records – 88 Rising Video Title: Daylight First Air Date: August 6th 2020 | Production Company/Location: VANDAL / LA Director: Munachi Osegbu, DP: Crash, EP(s): Heather Heller, Head of Production: Kevin McMahon, Producer: Collin Druz, Co-Producer: Saintina Guilliano, Production Manager: Elisabeth Makitalo
Client: Dark & Lovely (Softsheen – L'Oréal) | Spots Title: Dark & Lovely | Agency/Location: McCann (NYC) SVP, Group Creative Director: Roger Kilmartin, Creative Director: Nicholas Bullock, VP, Creative Director: Sue Whalen, Art Director: Margarita Cardenas, Agency EP: Debbie Dunlap, Producers: Jory Sutton & Isabel Conte | Production Company/Location: VANDAL (LA) Director: Luke Gilford, DP: Julian Kapadia, EP: Heather Heller, Line Producer: Kevin McMahon, Production Supervisor: Michael Dudek, Production Coordinator: Jason Meyer | Editorial Company/Location: Modern Post (NYC) Editor: Will Town, Editorial EP: Charlyn Derrick