LOS ANGELES— British commercials director Stuart Douglas, whose work for such brands as Coca-Cola, Nike, Sony, Carlsberg and Guinness has won worldwide acclaim, has signed with Original for exclusive representation in the United States. It marks the first time in more than a decade that Douglas has focused on the American market.
Douglas has won numerous international advertising awards for a style of directing that uses such tools as cinematic lighting, impressionistic portraiture and meticulous art direction to tell intimate, emotionally-driven stories. His work includes a global campaign for Jeep, via J. Walter Thompson, Milan, promoting the brand’s full line of SUVs and marking its 70th anniversary. Titled Never Adapt, the campaign features sweeping, cinematic portraits of people engaged in extraordinary activities to support “Jeep’s core values of freedom, adventure, authenticity, passion and uniqueness.”
More recently, Douglas spent several weeks in Bangkok, Thailand, where he wrote and directed a 9-part web series for Sony Ericsson launching its Xperia X1 phone. Conceived by international digital agency Dare, the series is styled as a Hollywood thriller and tells the story of a man who uses his phone to reconstruct his life after being kidnapped and suffering from amnesia. His latest project is a holiday campaign for upscale British retailer Debenhams.
“Stuart is a gifted artist with an outstanding body of work,” says Original executive producer Joe Piccirillo. “He is a unique and compelling storyteller and we are excited to have this opportunity to reintroduce him to the U.S. market.”
Douglas’s other notable efforts include a series of ads for the Bank of Ireland whose artfully photographed tales serve as metaphors for the bank’s financial stewardship. The latest centers on a lighthouse keeper who “keeps the light shining through rough seas.” Douglas also directed a fashion-oriented campaign for British retailer Debenhams, set to Foxes’ song Youth, and a promo for the BBC that sets images of working class people against lines from Jack Kerouac about his passion for people who are “mad to live.”
“A great piece of Kerouac prose allowed me to shoot pictures of real people in real environments while allowing the back stories to simply suggest themselves,” recalls Douglas. “It seems to say a lot without ever shouting about it. I quite like that.”
Douglas began his career as a still photographer, initially achieving success while working in tandem with his brother Andrew as The Douglas Brothers. They later segued into live action, winning awards for their work for Adidas, Glenfiddich and other advertisers. They went onto replicate that success in the United States, working through Los Angeles production company Ritts/Hayden. The brothers eventually split up and at that point Stuart returned to England where he founded Nice Shirt Films with long-time collaborators Jon Hollis, and Richard Martin.
With regard to Original, Douglas says that he chose the company as his new American home because he admired its work and felt a kinship toward its principals. “They don’t have anyone on their roster who does what I do, so I thought I could bring something new,” he observes. “I was also quite impressed with their energy and enthusiasm and with the homework they had done on me. It was apparent that they had given a lot of thought to where I fit in the U.S. market.”
Original is led by executive producers Bruce Mellon, Joe Piccirillo and Marc Lasko. For more information, call (310) 445-9000, or visit www.originalfilm.com.