Director Phedon Papamichael, ASC, GSC has signed with Jim and Kristin Evans’ commercial production company Untitled, Inc. Papamichael has recently wrapped the upcoming spot for Nespresso, featuring George Clooney. His work also appears in a heartwarming campaign for Greece’s Aegean Airlines (five-time European Airline of the Year winner). The ad is well loved in Greece.
“Phedon’s been directing up a storm in Europe this past year, with captivating and poignant work for Green Cola, Milko, VW (automotive commercial of the year), Seat and Infiniti,” says Untitled founder and executive producer Jim Evans. “We’re looking forward to bringing Phedon’s unique gift for directing back to the American marketplace.”
“I’ve recently had good fun working with Jim on the Nespresso spots,” says Papamichael. “Together with him, Grant Heslov and Clooney there is a relaxed, family-like atmosphere during production. I’m excited and honoured to be part of the family.”
With his award-winning cinematography background, Papamichael also brings his prowess for strong visuals to the commercial directing world. As a DP, he is responsible for dozens of hit films, including Pursuit of Happiness, The Descendants, 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line and Nebraska, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination. His next cinematography release, Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, is slated for release on Dec. 22.
“Downsizing is a satire about the end of the world,” says Papamichael. “It’s timely. It even has a WALL in it – humane, sad, funny -- all without ever being preachy. “And Matt Damon is amazing, as always.”
Over the past year, Papamichael’s masterful short film A Beautiful Day has screened at 25 film festivals internationally, winning awards for Best Short at five.
With home bases in Athens, Greece and Los Angeles, Papamichael attributes his gift for film-making to his worldly upbringing, growing up in Europe to a Greek father and a German mother. After his Fine Art studies in Munich, he moved to the States to pursue cinematography.
“I was raised in the indie film world. My father, Phedon Papamichael senior, was an art director for John Cassavetes,” he says. “I got to hire my father to do production design on the first feature I directed when I was 29 years old (The Sketch Artist) – Wally Pfister was the DP.
“Later we worked together again on Nick Cassavetes’ first feature, Unhook the Stars." For Papamichael, the best script is one that is simple but high concept, relying on exceptional visuals for storytelling. He prefers to let a designed, composed cinematic language do the talking. He is enthusiastic about all forms of film-making. “I dislike the way the industry attempts to pigeon-hole us, especially in the feature world. When you’re good at something, they want you to just keep doing the same thing.
“Commercials give me an opportunity to explore different styles and techniques – it’s the perfect way to stay fresh and innovative for many years to come.”