- Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017
- SANTA MONICA, Calif.
Phedon Papamichael, ASC, GSC, an Oscar-nominated cinematographer who’s diversified successfully into directing, has signed with Untitled Inc., the Santa Monica-based commercial production company headed by founders/executive producers Jim and Kristin Evans. Papamichael comes aboard Untitled’s directorial roster, having built momentum overseas as a spot helmer.
“Phedon’s been directing up a storm in Europe this past year, with captivating and poignant work for Green Cola, Milko, Volkswagen, Seat and Infiniti,” said Jim Evans. “We’re looking forward to bringing Phedon’s unique gift for directing back to the American marketplace.”
Papamichael is no stranger to Untitled. He shot for McCann New York the latest Nespresso spot directed by Untitled’s Grant Heslov and featuring George Clooney. “I’ve recently had good fun working with Jim on the Nespresso spots,” said Papamichael. “Together with him, Grant Heslov and Clooney there is a relaxed, family-like atmosphere during production. I’m excited and honored to be part of the family.”
With his award-winning cinematography background, Papamichael 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 Happyness, The Descendants, 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, and Nebraska--the latter earned him Oscar and ASC Award nominations. Papamichael’s next cinematography release, Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, is slated for release on Dec. 22.
“Downsizing is a satire about the end of the world,” said 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 of them.
With home bases in Athens, Greece and Los Angeles, Papamichael attributes his gift for filmmaking 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 Sr., was an art director for John Cassavetes,” he said. “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 [father and son] 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 filmmaking. “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.”