COKAU Featured in SHOOT online's Up-and-coming directors

Up-and-Coming Directors: The Spring Collection

By Robert Goldrich

Read The Original Article at SHOOTonline

Promising Talent Comes From Agency, Movie Art Direction, Feature Filmmaking and Experimental Sectors

SHOOT’s spring season ensemble of up-and-coming filmmaking talent includes: a U.K. ad agency creative director who’s made a major splash with a short film he wrote and directed; and a creative director in Portland, Ore., who has landed production house representation after directing varied projects on the agency side.

Also in the spring SHOOT up-and-coming directors mix are: a feature art department veteran who’s come up the ranks, successfully transitioning to the director’s chair with his feature filmmaking debut unspooling at this month’s South by Southwest Festival; a duo whose experimental film fare in Paris is gaining momentum in the ad arena; and a feature director who scored his first commercialmaking gig, which rolled out during this year’s Super Bowl telecast.

Here’s our spring collection of some promising directors to watch.



The Devil You Know—a Santa Monica, Calif.-headquartered integrated production house founded by executive producers Don Block and Simon Wallon last summer—recently brought the Cokau duo consisting of Achille Coquerel and Thomas Kauffmann aboard its directorial roster for exclusive U.S. representation. The signing is in line with the company mantra of connecting with artists from varied disciplines and bringing their talent to bear in commercials, branded content, and other forms of filmmaking across different platforms.

Coquerel and Kauffmann met in 2006 and worked together for several years as editor and motion designer in a Parisian audiovisual studio. They began directing in 2010 as Cokau and produced numerous experimental videos pushing visual boundaries. In 2012, Cokau won the Vimeo Award for best experimental video on the strength of Prie Dieu which captured the fantastical world of the preying mantis and its prey, with a tongue-in-cheek flair. The whimsical, visually arresting short served as a catalyst for invitations to direct other projects, spurring Coquerel and Kauffmann to form their own studio, Cokau Lab in Paris. The Cokau duo went on to put its graphic signature across work for the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Pernot Ricard, L’Oreal, Infiniti, and Yves Saint-Laurent. Cokau’s fusion of editing, motion design and sound design with their live action is a prime driving dynamic behind their films.

The Devil You Know’s Wallon, who is based stateside but has roots in France, related, “When I came across Cokau’s work, I was instantaneously blown away.  The delicate and deep understanding of organic elements combined with their extremely powerful energy and visual approach make them truly unique directors.”

A French piece for Nissan’s Pulsar showcases how folks can personalize the look of their car—and captures how they feel as a result. Titled “Personalization,” the meticulously designed spot is a visceral experience for which Cokau tapped into its digital wherewithal for agency TBWA Paris.

Also in the automotive arena, Cokau wrapped a Volkswagen spot shot in Shanghai for the Chinese market, meshing live-action reflections of the Coupe GTE with CG enhancements, bringing a new dynamic feel to sheet metal photography.

The blending of different production disciplines is additionally evident in a promo spot for Biotherm’s Aquasource moisturizer which incorporates expertise in tabletop, live action, and fashion/beauty. “We didn’t want to do the water via CGI,” explained Coquerel. “We love to shoot everything as real as we can, with water churning and flowing into the moisturizer jar. The nature of shooting in the studio and working with real elements often lends itself to happy surprises which we love.”

The norm for Cokau’s international work initially had the duo handling not only production but the entire postproduction process. But Kauffmann noted that this has changed to better enable Cokau to take on more assignments as a separate editor drives the post, bringing another perspective and dimension to projects. This way of working is also more in line, he reasoned, with the stateside modus operandi. Kauffmann and Coquerel aspire to step up their activity in the U.S. The Devil You Know is looking to meaningfully introduce the Paris-based Cokau to the American ad market. Cokau continues to be handled in the U.K. by Bang TV and in France via Gang Films for spots and branded content.

Kauffman said that he and Coquerel feel an affinity for Block and Wallon, which figured heavily in the directors’ decision to join The Devil You Know. “We also love the fact that there aren’t too many directors on the roster, that there is a real link between the producers and directors at the company plus we love the work of the other directors here. They don’t do exactly what we do so there’s no conflict. Instead there’s more of a complementary feel.”

Cokau’s commercialmaking and other paid gigs finance their ongoing personal projects at Cokau Lab. The duo has spent the past year-plus on an undisclosed digital interactive experience which is scheduled for release in the next month or so.

Visit SHOOTonline for the entire list of up-and-coming directors.