- Above // Tori Palmatier, executive producer, Namesake
, a production company with deep and established roots in Utah, has expanded its capabilities with the launch of a Los Angeles division. Utah is where Namesake’s owners and directors have created some of their most beautiful and collaborative work. Although the non-union company officially opened in 2018, the origins of Namesake came into play over a decade ago when Julian Acosta and Cole Webley met in film school in Salt Lake City. Starting out shooting local projects together, as their respective careers rose over the years they grew to nurture a collective of directors.
“Unlike other models, our owners are rostered elsewhere - Julian at RSA Films, and Cole at Sanctuary,” explains executive producer, Tori Palmatier, who is leading the charge on making LA the main presence, solidifying the collective’s presence there while helping to build the roster. Tori continues: “The birth of Namesake, and Julian and Cole’s consistent involvement, is based solely on developing and fostering talent for the new production age. They are our mentors, our guides, and the heads of the Namesake family.”
As a home for up-and-coming storytellers, Namesake’s body of work reveals humanity-driven narratives and cinematic aesthetics. And because Namesake is already used to working-remotely-together, as a collective spread across the U.S., their strongly bonded team is equipped for remote shooting of any kind, including setups that support remote camera monitor sharing.
A recently completed American Express campaign
for mcgarrybowen NY showcases Namesake’s nimbleness and invention. Rising star Ashkan Memarian served as director and creative director, and was physically present at the three-day main unit shoot in Utah, where Namesake has established relationships with the experienced crews and vendors.
Meanwhile, Namesake-affiliated directors spread out across the U.S. handled the second unit shoots and still photography from their respective cities; Abigail Enright in Austin, Christian Schultz in New Orleans and Amandla Baraka in New York. The seamless four-unit production across four U.S. cities went from the bidding stage to final delivery in a mere three weeks.
As was the case with the Am Ex campaign, many of Namesake’s shoots are proudly comprised of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ identifying creators. Empowering under-represented crew and creatives is a vital component of the Namesake DNA - a commitment to diverse voices which upholds and fosters the company’s overarching mission: to create content that connects to the human experience.
“We created Namesake to be a nest for filmmakers hell-bent on delivering the goods, no matter the challenge,” remarks Cole Webley. “And the way that Namesake has been built, with our nimbleness and ability to have low overhead and a small tight crew, is oddly perfect for today’s circumstances.”
Julian adds: “And as we continue to carve out a name for Namesake in LA, Utah and beyond, by the threads of who we are, we are based anywhere we need to be.”