Her work captures authentic human experiences with stunning visuals and heartfelt performances
February 28, 2023, Los Angeles—Thinking Machine, the creative storytelling boutique founded by award-winning directors Matthew and Jason Docter, aka Docter Twins, has signed acclaimed filmmaker Kat Keene. Keene, who joins Thinking Machine from Caviar, has directed commercial films for brands such as Facebook, H&R Block, Verizon, Chick-fil-A, CVS and Lincoln which span the genres of sports, beauty and tech. Theyshare in common gripping stories, rich characters and worlds that resonate for their authenticity whether capturing real stories or ones that just feel real.
“Kat and I have known each other since the beginning of her career in advertising and it has been an inspiration to watch her journey as a storyteller,” commented Alon Simcha, Executive Producer, Thinking Machine. “Her work is purposeful, visually captivating and deeply human. There is a spontaneous and adventurous spirit through all of her work and I love how her journalism background is evident in her craft. I am thrilled that we are finally getting an opportunity to work together and excited that she is a part of this new chapter at Thinking Machine.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Alon, Matt and Jason and be in on the ground floor of building something really special,” Keene said. “I’m looking forward to expanding the reach of my work while taking advantage of the flexibility of such a modern, nimble company. I’m the third director on the Thinking Machine roster, and the energy of creation and evolution is palpable.”
Keene’s stylish visuals and candid performances stem from her roots as a journalist and documentary filmmaker. She launched her career at MTV directing such blockbuster series as “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” She was a video journalist at The Guardian U.S. covering everything from Noam Chomsky to the 2012 presidential primaries, and had her award-winning work commissioned by outlets like the New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR and The Washington Post. At 25, she worked for National Geographic creating and directing The Explorers Project where she documented awe-inspiring scientific work including Spinosaurus bones in the Sahara, bioluminescence in Bermuda and big cats in Kenya. National Geographic magazine published her photographs as well. Keene is currently in development on her first narrative feature, an incredible true story based on the real life of a pioneering female sports agent.
Keene has spent the last 7 years making commercials and explained she seeks a “controlled chaos” in her approach. “I want to create the set and setting for the right moment, reflection or performance to bubble up.”
Those objectives manifest themselves in her work for brands such as Facebook with “Calm,” a film created in-house for the Alpine Climbs Facebook Group. It documents a challenging climb up the peaks of Canada’s Banff National Park, and captures the omnipotence of nature and the tranquility that rewards the respectful and disciplined climbers when they reach the summit. Her standout spot for CVS, “Beauty in Real Life” (via Standard Black) is the antithesis of often unattainable portrayals of beauty. Keene films a diverse cross-section of women and the spontaneous role that beauty plays in their lives as whatever it is that makes them confident and happy. Another spot, Academy Sports “For All” (via FCB Chicago) revisits the empowering theme of sports for women, but is all the more potent in its story of women who have encountered resistance their entire lives for being plus sized.
“I approach everything journalistically,” Keene said. “I always want to know about everything and uncover the little sparkling gems that will make a story really special. I’m big on prep and planning, but my background has taught me the importance of being in the moment and open to the unexpected. I also really believe in humanity and in the power of truth. I think I’m looking for that in anything I do: What is the truth here that will move people? I want people to leave watching something I’ve directed feeling opened up or changed in some way.”
About THINKING MACHINE:
Who doesn’t want to plug into a machine that does a little thinking for you? Especially to answer big bold questions like, “Which color sweater works best against the fuchsia wall?” And “Why do freckles and curly hair get me so excited?” A nimble boutique production company of epic proportion, we do more than mind meld ideas - we work to connect with you as people. Let’s lift the creative, make challenging choices, and push for greatness - because until the robots can dance and the machines make love - it’s on us to inspire the masses. When shared minds come together, there ain’t no stoppin’ us… thinkingmachine.tv
As you can all see, Kat is a cutie. But what you can't see, is that she's an absolute joy to work with. Her curiosity and creativity is contagious!