Where The Buffalo Roam (WTBR) welcomes Sundance Award-winning director Rob Richert for US market commercials and branded content. Hailed for his wit and sharp eye for detail, Richert has enjoyed a successful career directing long-form commercial work, as seen in his Glad Press ‘n’ Seal spot, an infomercial parody; a zany brand film for Ginkgo Bioworks; and a game show spoof for Floome Breathalyzers. Also joining WTBR is editor Whitney James, whose kinetic and visually striking editing style can be seen in campaigns for Nike, White Claw, Pitchfork, DoorDash, Pinterest, and Audi, among other major brands.
“We’re truly stoked to bring on these two lovely humans,” says WTBR executive producer Tim Pries. “We simply love Rob’s sensibilities and willingness to go all in; he’s one of a kind. And we couldn’t be more excited to have Whitney join us full-time; she’s committed to the craft and is bonkers talented. We look forward to making magic with them both, and shining some good light on the world.”
Richert draws inspiration from his upbringing in Berkeley, California. Quirky character studies, and comedic approaches to politics naturally winnow their way into his projects. Effortlessly shifting between film and advertising, the common thread throughout his work is a character-driven approach. He learned how efficacious that approach to structure is while earning an MFA in Directing from Columbia University.
Beyond commercials, he enjoys exploring new tonal territory writing and directing short films, which have screened at festivals like Telluride and San Francisco International. His directorial debut won three best short awards and was included on the PBS syndicated Film School Shorts. He also co-wrote and co-produced The Last Black Man in San Francisco, a fiction feature that premiered at Sundance to rave reviews, winning awards for Best Directing and a Special Jury Prize for Creative Collaboration.
“Where The Buffalo Roam brings an infectious passion,” says Richert, who is currently producing Joe Talbot’s directorial follow-up feature, The Governesses. “I’m excited by the opportunities they provide for directors to thrive. They've embraced my idiosyncratic approach to character and want to push boundaries with me. I feel right at home.”
“The vibe at WTBR is so supportive, and they really trust their people creatively and have their backs,” echoes James. “I hate feeling like just a button pusher. I love to be part of the creative process and be hands-on as early as possible. WTBR absolutely creates that kind of environment for me.”
James’s editing style leans towards the gritty and the visceral, partly owing to her earliest creative experiences shooting and editing her brother’s skateboarding videos on a DVR camcorder. She also developed her love for sound design and music from them as well, which she says taught her the “importance of rhythm; how sound and visuals interact with each other and tell their own story.” She went on to work as an in-office PA at Megalomedia before being promoted to lead development editor, followed by a staff editing position at MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER. Prior to joining WTBR, she freelanced and explored her passion for mixed media filmmaking, working with Director Ariel Fisher and others.