With over a decade’s worth of experience behind the lens, Gelb has conveyed his distinct narrative vision across mediums. From helming music videos and behind-the-scenes films for Modest Mouse, The Hold Steady and Incubus to directing commercials and of course, making his mark with documentaries including his mesmerizing feature debut, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and its follow-up, the multiple Emmy-nominated Netflix series, Chef’s Table, the filmmaker has always been driven by one common purpose: storytelling. “My goal is to create an emotional connection between the story and the audience, regardless of format,” he says. “Whether it’s a feature film, scripted or unscripted, or just a few images over 15 seconds, I relish the challenge of conveying meaning and feelings to the viewer.”
Inspired equally by pioneering documentary filmmaker Errol Morris and revered Hollywood auteurs such as Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson, Gelb brings a directing style and aesthetic that’s both character-driven and captivating. “My approach is to lean into the truth of the story, into the truth of the characters,” he explains. “Even if the piece is fictional, there is an underlying truth that the audience is searching for, and my job is to guide the audience to it.”
Now as part of Independent Media, Gelb not only has a valuable opportunity to strengthen and guide audiences towards his commercial output, but work alongside the company’s Founder/Executive Producer Susanne Preissler and a high-profile directorial roster that includes Doug Liman, Jean Jeunet, Matt Reeves, Greg Daniels and Janusz Kaminski. “I look at the incredible group of filmmakers that Susanne has assembled and just want to keep up the standard of quality and creativity that they’ve all been doing for years. I expect to learn quite a bit, and I consider it a great honor to be on her roster.”
According to Preissler, who has been admiring Gelb’s work from afar and watching his career blossom after their initial meeting a decade ago, the director brings a unique voice that will prove valuable to Independent Media and the ad industry as a whole. “The way in which David embraces storytelling is profound and genuine, instead of imposing,” she adds. “He knows how to find his own way into the people and the subject, allowing the narrative to surface the right way. This is someone who will benefit the advertising world and they will benefit him. On top of that, he’s a nice person.”
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