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Production company Table of Content has signed director Sean Donnelly for commercials and branded content. Donnelly specializes in tabletop and product work for such clients as A&W, Astoria Distilling, Belucci, Coca-Cola, Citi, Honda, Tabasco, and Verizon, among others. More recently, he teamed up with agency Zulu Alpha Kilo to direct a series of brand films for the craft brewery SingleCut and their new Notes IPA, an interactively packaged craft beer that doubles as a guitar lesson. The signing marks Donnelly’s first exclusive commercial representation as a director following a decorated cinematography career before that. Currently, Donnelly is shooting Season 3 of Godfather of Harlem for Epix.
“Sean and I go all the way back to my agency days when I knew him as a young and hungry camera assistant,” remarks Rick Knief, who heads up Table of Content. “I’ve been a big fan and supporter of Sean’s from day one and have enjoyed watching his career blossom as he has become one of my go-to DPs. His prolific move into the director’s chair comes as no surprise, and we are thrilled to offer our brand and agency partners yet another multidisciplinary filmmaker like Sean, especially those in the food and beverage space, where he truly shines.”
"Ricks' belief in me has meant everything,” adds Donnelly. “I've never turned down a job with him because I know his passion and commitment to creating great work. The opportunity to join Table of Content was no different. I'm excited to start the next chapter of my career here.”
The son of a cinematographer and grandson of an art director, Donnelly grew up in the world of advertising. After earning a BFA in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology, he ascended the ranks on film and commercial sets as a DP on the Coca Cola “Happy Machine” campaign, Citi “Progress Makers,” and Weis Markets “Local Farmer.”
Directing tabletop work was a natural progression for Donnelly, who, over the course of 10 years, defined his personal aesthetic with a painterly sense of composition and lighting. He is fascinated by the crossover point in filmmaking between art and science, which lends well to tabletop work: “It’s a genre that requires visual precision, with highly technical rigs and motion control; but you need an artful eye to make the most of these tools, so my work in this space is very much about balancing the art and technique of it all. That's where the magic happens.”
Beyond directing, Donnelly marries art and science through his coffee roasting company, Mighty Oak, New York’s first and only wood-fired coffee roaster. What began as a passion project as a desire for coffee in the neighborhood up to his standards, he discovered the complexity of wood-fire roasted beans, starting in his backyard with a cast-iron pan. Word spread among friends and family, and once local restaurants inquired about placing orders, he knew it was time to scale up. Mighty Oak now operates a brick-and-mortar cafe showcasing their custom-built wood-fired coffee roaster, as well as shipping beans across the country.
“Our food and beverage clients will also appreciate that Sean doesn't just shoot beautiful campaigns, he is an innovator in the industry,” concludes Knief. “He is a craftsman in the truest sense, who is always in a state of innovation, playing between the left and right brain. If there's a better solution, he'll go out of his way for clients and take the long road to make a good idea great.”
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