“I learned to edit when I was enlisted in the Army, so I was especially honored to have a role on this work spotlighting Pillsbury’s collaboration with Operation Homefront,” says editor Karen Kourtessis of bicoastal Union, who began her career as a sharpshooter, before shooting and editing training films and news stories. Her new commercial project touches on the sacrifices made by military families and the challenges inherent in their return to civilian life. “The agency team's creative vision attracted me from the onset.” 

Created via Pereira O’Dell, directed by Ritesh Gupta of Search & Destroy, and edited by Kourtessis, “Welcome Home” tells the story of childhood sweethearts Trevor and Brittany, who have managed raising their young son, Cohen, while living on a military base with Trevor often deployed far from home. 

As Trevor prepares to retire from the service after 8 years, the couple faces a new set of challenges in returning to civilian life. They hope to raise Cohen in Atlanta, where their families are based. Enter Pillsbury: with Operation Homefront, the brand helps by purchasing a home for veteran families to call their own while they transition out of the military. 

Brittany and Cohen tour their new home for the first time, with mother and son experiencing a range of emotions, from disbelief to amazement...and pure delight, as Cohen leaps onto the bed in his new bedroom. Of course, nothing tops the joy of FaceTiming with Trevor so he can check out the new digs with his wife and son, knowing they’ll soon be back home, together, for good.

“The shoot was complicated, with a short timeline, multiple locations, multiple cameras + Zoom records & Facetimes, not to mention real people as talent. This all made the edit that much more challenging (and fun) for me,” Kourtessis recalls. “I was thrilled with the way Ritesh captured the ‘surprise' moments and the real emotions and high personal stakes for this military family. He and the agency team worked together to deliver exceptional footage to work with, which made my job a pleasure.”

Among the notable projects cut by Kourtessis is award-winning work for Google (“100 Billion Words”/Google Translate, “Free Up Space”); Cotton "Rosie Reborn”; and Memorial Sloan Kettering Patient Stories.