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Artist-driven boutique Rakish welcomes to their roster award-winning director Fern Berresford, whose dynamic and offbeat visual storytelling is simpatico with Rakish’s sophisticated, cinematic vision.
“Rakish has a fantastic slate of talent which got my attention immediately,” said Berresford, who was drawn to Rakish’s highly-curated roster. “There’s a unique space for my style of visually striking and bold, emotive storytelling. I think my reel will add something distinctly different to an already brilliant roster.”
Since the age of eight, London-based Berresford has always been passionate about film, motivated by its ability to change people’s emotional state, express new ideas, and challenge perceptions. Rakish has built its reputation on thoughtful, forward-thinking, and deeply human projects, making Berresford a natural fit.
“Fern's work is conspicuously hers; her visual style and her straddling of humorous yet not-on-the-nose-funny tones,” said Preston Garrett, Managing Director. “As Rakish puts a vested focus on artistry first, collaborating with these specific points of view is the business we're in.”
A graduate of the Film School at University College of Falmouth, Berresford’s work spans across film, music, and television. Her repertoire reveals a daringness to play with bold colors, witty concepts, and compelling characters. Right off the bat, her style caught the attention of big industry players.
Six months into her first running gig at a commercial production company Berresford won a funding competition and shot her first short film. The project was an auspicious debut, as it was later nominated for the prestigious Cannes Young Directors Award and won Best Film at the Women in Film and TV Awards.
This first taste of success inspired her to hustle for every opportunity she could get as a director and stills photographer in the years to come. By now, her list of accolades runs quite deep, including two Gold Awards from Creative Circle, two Silver British Arrows, and most recently, a Female in Focus Award from the British Journal of Photography.
Berresford devotes her time to making commercials with creative and socially conscious concepts she feels connected to, often handling both the direction and photography elements on a single campaign - much to the time and budget-saving delight of the client. As a result, her body of work encompasses several memorable and emotionally impactful campaigns that align with Rakish’s commitment to producing work that packs an intimate and visceral punch.
In the “Space for You” campaign for LinkedIn, Berresford tells the story of a disillusioned city-dweller who experiences varied workspaces before finding belonging in her career, when colorful strangers suddenly join her in work at her dining room table, in the streets around her apartment and in an ever-evolving selection of beautifully shot locations. The ad is punctuated with pops of bold color and driven by a catchy, feel-good tune.
Likewise, in a recent promo for Women’s Aid, Berresford depicts five women overcoming domestic abuse in an unexpected way. Introduced as “The World’s Strongest Women,” the campaign created by Ireland-based agency In the Company of Huskies shows five women in workout clothes, running upstairs and breathing heavily, to the soundtrack of upbeat Latin music. But when Berresford reveals several scenes of these women as an attempt to escape their abusive partners, the realism hits as the viewer realizes this is not a sports-related ad.
“Women’s Aid was a strong conceptual idea for a cause I really care about. I enjoyed getting to work with the actors on a slightly deeper level to evoke more emotive performances,” said Berresford. “I had a very clear vision for the look of the film and the agency let me run with it.”
The film went on to earn Women’s Aid a nomination at the Creative Circle Awards in the Film Craft: Best Direction category—and was the project that really caught the eye of Preston Garrett and the rest of the team at Rakish.
“A new spark ignited when I came across the ‘World's Strongest Women’ film. It was a visceral indication of an artist evolved, and the culmination of piercing a new veil of creativity for Fern,” said Garrett. “There's a tonal acuity to it; a tight-as-a-fucking-drum sense of irony; a stylistic execution that boasts Fern's proprietary, heightened lens yet keeps a foot-and-a-half in the real world.”
Now Berresford brings that precise vision and versatile shooting experience to Rakish, where she is bound to do even bigger things. A live action production company founded in 2019, Rakish balances cinematic polish with unexpected twists.
“At Rakish, we happen to be a commercial production company, but more than anything else, we're a hub for artistic savants who exorcise compulsion through directing,” said Garrett. “Fern is absolutely that to me; exorcising the beautiful and poignant angels and demons because they have to come out in a way that is just-so.”
This is Berresford’s first U.S. representation for commercials, and she remains represented by Rattling Stick for directing/commercial work in the UK and by the Photographic Wing of Academy Films for her still photography.