A unique blend of European and American craftsmanship, chances are you’ve spotted Milano-born Marco Gentile’s work in a cinema spot, TV commercial or digital film. A Los Angeles-based go-to director for aspirational storytelling and cinematic visuals, Gentile engages audiences with his aesthetic and captivates by creating empathy with his characters and intrigue in his stories. He has been tapped for that talent by a long list of brands – Mercedes, Toyota, adidas, Sky Atlantic, Orange, BMW, Coke, Volvo, Vodafone and his latest for Houston Methodist, among them. Here, Marco reveals insights about his recent work and his distinctive filmmaking style.
Q> Your recent spot for Houston Methodist has beautiful interior and exterior visuals – from urban and rural landscapes, to interior scenes that begin with intimate shots then segue to more anthemic. The performances of the athletes feel authentic - in look, movement and focus. Can you share some details about the production, including how you cast for the campaign?
Marco> For the hero spot we worked closely with the agency Wongdoody and their great team of creatives who were very open to ideas. We shot ten days in Texas because it’s a larger campaign, and some of those days were devoted exclusively to the sports scenes. We cast mainly real people doing their sport and it was extremely helpful to see them in action. Texas is a great place to shoot very American landscapes for a director like me coming from Europe. The spot is very energetic and shows the determination of the talent in achieving the best performance; working with the athletes really gave us a perfect idea of what they go through when preparing for a competition.
Q> Mercedes 'Designed to Seduce' is mischievous, and you balanced the seduction between the women getting seduced by the car and the men getting seduced by the car. The commercial definitely has a James Bond film vibe. What were your inspirations for shooting that spot?
Marco> That was a funny spot we shot in Lisbon in 2018. I worked hard to give it a cinematic touch – most of the scenes were at night so that gave us the chance to create the light and work on the chiaroscuro to give a strong character and contrast to each scene. We shot it with vintage Anamorphic lenses which of course added texture and that cinematic look to the spot. I had the music composed by my friend Sebastian Pille, a German composer who works a lot in feature films. All these elements concurred to give the campaign that movie flavor. And, yes, I used a Bond inspiration for the women and for the music. I wanted to make it sexy and funny at the same time and play with the beauty of the car compared to the beauty of the locations and the women. The main challenge was to give the idea of being in different cities, but Lisbon is one of those film friendly cities, a mix of old and new, that gave us some distinctive looks.