The French directing duo of Camille Bovier Lapierre and Jean-Baptiste Lefournier – who work under the name Camille & Jean-Baptiste – have signed for US representation with Noble
. The announcement was made by Mark Medernach, Co-Founder and Executive Producer of the studio. The signing marks the first American representation for the directors, who began working together while at MAC GUFF in Paris.
Camille & Jean Baptiste are notable for their deft mix of live action and visual effects, marked by a strong flair for design. This can be seen in work like their “Design Your Life” for the Asian carmaker Haval, in which live action storytelling, mixed with VFX and AR, shows how people will interact with the sleek, technology-powered Haval automobiles of the future. Other Camille & Jean-Baptiste work for brands like Citroen shows off their work with CG, while spots for the French energy management firm Schneider Electric reveal complex live action scenarios, enhanced by effects and graphics, that demonstrate how the company’s products benefit its customers.
Being French, it’s no surprise the directors have their hand in fashion, beauty and personal care work as well. Their spots for brands such as L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Sephora and the luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin display their ability to mix effects and live action with a sense of drama, style and panache.
The benefits of co-directing were something the two filmmakers discovered almost by accident. “We’d already begun to direct on our own, and decided to team up to compete internally at MAC GUFF for a feature film title sequence project,” says Jean-Baptiste. “When we won the job, we realised we were an effective team, and so we’ve continued to work as partners.”
The piece he’s referring to is a design-driven procession of red, white and blue swatches and swipes, backed by a ‘60s surf music soundtrack, that culminates in an impressionistic version of the British Union Jack. It opens the live action romp “Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia,” a French blockbuster that starred Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve. (Check out their Q&A about the project here.)
Camille & Jean-Baptiste bring eclectic backgrounds to their work, with Jean-Baptiste trained in graphic design while Camille first earned a degree in architecture before studying visual effects and motion graphics. As directors, Jean Baptiste was drawn to graphic-driven work while Camille explored the mixture of live action and effects. Their styles meshed perfectly, complementing their strengths and leading them to create ads, music videos and short films that combine visual effects with cinematography, lighting and design in support of what they like to call “an inspired poetic vision.”
Jean-Baptiste says they collaborate closely during preproduction, but also have their own specific areas of responsibility. “Camille hones in a bit more on storytelling consistency, while I focus on cinematography,” he notes. “We both join to fine tune the very look of the film, especially when it's heavy on design.” And while they enjoy the creative flexibility that working in VFX and CG provides, they’re never far removed from the emotional impact of live action. “We feel it makes for a more grounded film,” says Camille.
The pair say they were impressed when Noble’s Medernach reached out to them late last year. “We already knew the work of some of the artists on his roster,” says Camille. “We’re very excited about signing with Noble, as we’ve been looking for the right company to represent us in the US.”
Medernach launched Noble July of 2015 after 25 years with the highly-regarded animation company DUCK Studios. Partnering with the director Paul Dektor, they brought with them eight directors previously represented by DUCK. The company, Medernach explains, is designed to operate in a lean fashion. “Our approach is to represent independent artists that specialised in unique forms and styles of animation,” he says. “They’re artists from around the world, who can either work on their own or, if needed, we can set them up with a studio or produce it in-house. In any case, we’re able to provide them with a support team ready to make sure they can deliver their best creative solutions.”
He first saw the work of Camille & Jean-Baptiste online, and was captivated. “I watched their Citroen spot and loved it,” he recalls. “As I explored more and more I realised that each project was exciting in its own way, so I reached out to them.”
Medernach feels the directors’ talents will have broad appeal for agencies and brands in the US. “I think their strongest draw is their ability to handle both live action and visual effects with equal ease and fluidity,” he says. “This means they’ll be hands-on throughout the entire production and post process, and since they shot the original live action content, they know best how to integrate it with effects and graphics. And on top of that, they make beautiful imagery!
“They add a great dimension to our roster,” Medernach continues. “Having them on board allows us to expand beyond the expertise in animation and design that we currently have and transforms us into a truly full-service studio.”
At Noble, Camille & Jean-Baptiste join a directorial roster that includes BlinkMyBrain, Jamie Caliri, Oliver Conrad, Paul Cummings, Dadomani, Lane & Jan, Lucas Borras, Hsinping Pan, John Robertson, Screen Novelties, Smog and Tiny Inventions.