Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Powerful Female Director Eliza Brownlie Joins Free The Bid Network

Earlier this year director Eliza Brownlie joined Free the Bid, an initiative founded in 2016 that aims to create an equal playing field for women directors to bid on jobs in the global commercial advertising industry.

"This organization is dedicated to promoting extraordinary female directors in the industry worldwide," says Brownlie. "Getting accepted into this network was a huge honor, and I'm so grateful that something like this exists. It's important for so many reasons...it provides accomplished women directors with the visibility and access to jobs that we deserve. Additionally, Free the Bid fosters a diversity of points of view, without which, the narratives that are told become very homogenous."

Some of the other female commercial directors who've been invited to join Free The Bid include  Patty Jenkins ("Wonder Woman," "Monster"), Sofia Coppola ("Marie Antoinette," "Lost In Translation"), Kathryn Bigelow ("Point Break," "Zero Dark Thirty") and many more.

By making a pledge to Free The Bid, brands and advertisers promise to include the reel of at least one female director everytime they triple-bid on a commercial production, meaning that of the three directors they pitch to a client one of those will be from a woman. More than 50 global advertising agencies including  DDB, BBDO and JWT, and brands such as Coca-Cola, eBay and Levi's have pledged their participation in the network.

Over the last few years Eliza Brownlie has directed commercials and fashion films for brands including Dove, Canon, Cast + Combed, Top Expert and more.

Brownlie says, "My personal directing style is characterized by dreamy, stylized, and atmospheric imagery that feels both intimate and ominous. I'm interested in exploring social constructs and the alienation that humans experience as a consequence of such, often with a focus on women."

One of her recent projects as a director is an upcoming commercial for Angie Bauer, a luxury lingerie collection constructed in Los Angeles using hi-tech fabrics and delicate embroideries created in Italy. Slated to be released on the Angie Bauer site, the world's leading contemporary fashion platform Not Just a Label and various fashion magazines and blogs, the commercial depicts an American woman with an affinity for Parisian culture who embarks on a nocturnal adventure over the course of a night in LA wearing several pieces from the Angie Bauer collection.

"Visually, the aim for the commercial was to reflect the design of the pieces– contemporary, feminine, and delicate yet strong," says Brownlie.

"Angie and I were fans of each other's work and had been talking about collaborating for a while… I loved her design sensibility and I knew her pieces would look amazing on film. I came up with a concept which I put into a pitch deck outlining the story, the directorial approach,  as well as visual mood boards. I presented it to the client who loved the idea and brought me on board to direct it."

Emphasising a modern woman who enjoys intimates that are simultaneously luxurious and comfortable, the commercial stars Tarryn Lagana, who also starred in Brownlie's narrative horror film "The After Party," an Official Selection of the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival and the Sacramento Horror Film Festival in 2016 and 2017.

Since beginning her career with the music video for The Darcys' song "Itchy Blood," which developed from an idea she and cinematographer Peter Hadfield pitched to the band and their label Arts and Crafts Records, Brownlie has shown immense creativity and brilliant sensitivity in all of her follow up work. Her use of surrealist imagery and subtle sensuality make her commercials and fashion films feel as though we are being transported into a beautiful dream.

Designer Angie Bauer says, "I knew Eliza would make the video spectacular, and I completely trusted her direction from the start. She has such a distinct personal style and an exceptional work ethic. Her ability to create a captivating mood through imagery and performance is unparalleled. The commercial turned out beautifully, and I can't wait to share it with the world!"

Many of the projects Brownlie has directed to date, such as the series for Dove's Self-Esteem Projectand the pitch deck for Canon Female Hero, have been the result of a colleague showing her reel to a client.

"The production company and client contacted me after watching my reel," explains Brownlie landing the Dove project. "A producer colleague had suggested me for the job. I pitched on it against several other directors and was awarded the commercial. I felt very passionate about the concept and the positive message of it, and I knew it was something that I could do well."

Her empowering portrayal of women artists in the Dove project led Brownlie to be tapped to direct the Canon Female Hero project, a docu-style commercial campaign that tells the stories of three successful women photographers that debuted alongside the release of Canon's new digital camera line.

The level of emotion and humanness she draws out of her subjects makes her a rarely gifted artist in the industry, but if a client doesn't have the opportunity to see her reel, then they can't choose her to direct their project.

"I wish networks like Free The Bid existed when I was growing up. There were only a handful of women directors that were discussed in popular culture conversations at the time, and girls just weren't as encouraged to pursue film or given as many opportunities as their male counterparts," says Brownlie. "Inequality in the industry is still rife, but networks like Free the Bid are working diligently to change this by backing exceptional and unique directors who happen to be women."

As a director, Brownlie is currently in various phases of production on several upcoming projects including a commercial for Vissla and D'Blanc, one of the world's top surf and eyewear brands, a fashion campaign for the luxury department store Departamento, a docu-style commercial for The Spirit Guild, as well as a comedy project that is being produced by Avail Comedy and stars Chris Fairbanks from HBO's "Crashing" and Comedy Central's upcoming series "Corporate."

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