His work is characterized by gripping performances, cinematic visuals and compelling storytelling, as seen in his recent Woody Creek Distillers campaign, with William H. Macy delivering his eccentric cool for the brand he is a partner in, and AXA “Kathmandu,” a candid portrayal of a heart wrenching true story from 2015’s devastating earthquake in Nepal.
The news was announced by Luke Ricci, President of RSA Films US.
“Douglas is a wonderful talent who has a prolific history in commercials and branded content,” Ricci commented. “He is a perfect addition to the esteemed roster at RSA and I look forward to working with him in both traditional and non-traditional formats.”
“I started my career in the industry in London, where directors work very closely with producers who are more creatively involved than in the US,” Avery said. “I found a kindred spirit when I met Luke Ricci. He has the sharp vision and determination to elevate whatever he puts his mind to. We’re already sharing ideas to make an impact beyond the work, to be part of a bigger community of creators and causes.”
Avery’s commercials for Gillette, Gatorade, Carhartt, Audi, FedEx, Lexus and a long list of other brands share the ability to evoke visceral reactions in audiences. With a background lighting for storied photographers, Avery draws inspiration from artists and writers, and points to the work of Andrew Wyeth and Cormac McCarthy whose images and words say so much, simply and powerfully, as important influences.
“I like to dig into a multitude of creative avenues, which was a priority for me joining a new company,” added Avery. “A place like RSA Films where the tree has many branches – advertising, film, television, art, experiential and beyond is unique. Having the bar set by Ridley Scott, whose work I’ve found incredibly impactful since I was a kid, is an incredible draw.”
Avery lives with his family, and two dogs and three chickens, shuttling between Los Angeles and Three Rivers, a village in the foothills of the Sequoia National Forest. He began his career in New York in photography working for legendary artists Richard Avedon, Steven Klein, Albert Watson and Annie Leibovitz. He learned to stay ever curious, to experiment with lighting, work closely with talent and mine for unexpected performances, and how to often handle out-sized personalities. He spent a year in Japan, then went on to work in London and Paris as a fashion photographer for ID, The Face and Dazed & Confused.
Eventually he decided to pursue his affinity for narrative, moving away from the fashion industry to shoot short films. His second short – Hitch – was selected for Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Directors Showcase at Cannes. He followed this up with a Levi’s campaign for BBH London which won him Best New Director at the British Arrows. A year later he won a CLIO Award for Direction for an Altoids commercial. Also noteworthy, his music video for Pepe Deluxe Salami Fever, a collaboration with groundbreaking Swedish creatives Linus Karlsson and Paul Malmstrom which Bizarre Magazine named “Video of the Decade.” That momentum has continued throughout his career, working always at the highest level with agencies Chiat/Day/LA, Wieden+Kennedy, Venables Bell & Partners, Grey New York, Publicis Worldwide, BBH and many others.
“I am rarely satisfied with the finished product,” Avery said. “As my wife often says, I’m a perfectionist. But I think I’ve grown to realize that having imperfections is far more interesting, making the work more textural and emotional. I want to be the vinyl LP, instead of the digital download. I am always looking to learn and grow. If I ever get to the point where I’m not learning something new on set, push me in front of a bus.”