Alma Har’el is making headlines throughout the film and advertising universes with both her work and her gumption. Her latest feature film, LoveTrue, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016, and won Best Documentary at Karlovy Vary.
She has also teamed up with PJ Pereira, chief creative officer and co-founder of Pereira & O’Dell, to address the deep-rooted gender bias embedded in the ad industry, and came up with #FreeTheBid, a pledge to advertising agencies to make 1 bid out of every 3 a female director.
B-Reel Films is understandably delighted to have signed her. In January 2016, Margo Mars joined the London office of B-Reel Films as managing director and partner, and has been focused on growing its business & director roster ever since.
Mars commented, “B-Reel Films is thrilled to be working with Alma Har’el, a director of powerful creative work with a strong narrative and original voice. Her unique aesthetic makes her one of the new cinematic visionaries, and I’m sure she is only at the beginning of a long and successful career in Features, TV and commercials. Alongside her talent as a filmmaker, she is causing a stir in the advertising and production world, with her mission to #FreeTheBid for women directors, an initiative that promises to permeate wider culture and level the playing field for all creative talent to be considered equally. I’m so glad to be in a position with B-Reel Films to support and represent Hare’l and look forward to making more award winning work with her.”
Har’el stepped into the spotlight for the first time her debut film Bombay Beach, which won top prize at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Her unique way of storytelling led to Har’el becoming the first female director to direct a commercial for Stella Artois in its 20 year history of advertising.
She also directed Airbnb’s first ever global campaign with Pereira & O’Dell.
LoveTrue, an exploration of the challenges presented by love, is due to have its London premier at the BFI London Film Festival on October 8. The film has been selected for the Grierson Award and is part of the official programme. The Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition category recognises cinematic documentaries with integrity, originality and social or cultural significance.
To create the film, Har’el collaborated with Shia LaBeouf, an early supporter of her work since starring in the promo she directed for Sigur Ros Fjoger Piano. LaBeouf is the film’s executive producer.
Har’el came up with the idea for #FreeTheBid after she participated in a Mashable story about the low number of women directors making ads. Pereira reached out to her to tell her that she had inspired him to act. He promised to take a mandatory bid from a woman director on every pitch at his agency, as a result of reading the interview.
It seemed nonsensical to both of them that women are the #1 consumer group, making 85% of product purchase decisions, and yet most ads are made by men. Women make up 50% of the world’s population, but only 7% of directors are women.
PJ Pereira describes #FreeTheBid as, “It’s a simple idea that will help the entire advertising ecosystem be more open to women directors. Because it’s right but also because it’s smart. A more diverse industry means a more creative one and a better representation of their customers and of society itself.”
Agencies who have already taken the bid include; Mother, 180, FCB Global, DDB, Joan Agency and Phenomenon.
The story of #FreeTheBid is detailed here: