Golden LA has signed British director James Lees to its roster. Lees has directed branded films for Cadbury and Beats by Dre, music videos for the likes of Justin Bieber, Li’l Dicky and OneRepublic, and commercial work for such brands as Nike.
“We’re thrilled at Golden LA to be working with James. As both a filmmaker and human being, James brings a sense of inventiveness, curiosity and nuance that allows his work to resonate in unique and lasting ways,” said Matthew Marquis, managing director at Golden LA, in a statement.
“After meeting Matt and Geoff at Golden and all their amazing reps, I knew I had found the right partners to achieve my goals,” said Lees, also in a statement. “I’ve been at this for nearly twenty years, and I have a clear perspective of the kind of work I want to be making now. Golden shares my forward-looking and nimble perspective, and they offer their directors belonging in a community of first-rate creatives.”
Raised near Leicester, England, Lees started his path to filmmaking through acting in the Leicester Youth Theatre. Those early years spent studying acting, mise-en-scène and storytelling laid the groundwork for his directing career.
“I’m deeply inspired by the authentic realism and relatability of the great British and European cinema that I grew up with. In my work I always try to represent the everyman and craft performances that are grounded and naturalistic, whilst taking huge influence from the expansive storytelling of American cinema,” he said.
The Apology Line gave Lees the opportunity to present his voice as a filmmaker. Based around a project conceived by NYC artist Allan Bridge, The Apology Line documents the many confessions Lees received over an anonymous line he set up in the UK. The work earned Lees a nomination at the European Film Academy Awards, selection at Sundance, a special mention award at AFI Fest, and a win at the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival. The Apology Line was followed by three more shorts that finally led to representation.
“One of the most exciting aspects of filmmaking is that no two projects are ever the same. I always identify the unique challenges of each specific film and then create a bespoke methodology to tackle it,” said Lees, who is making more commercial work while casting for a feature film as he joins Golden.
“In commercials, I see my job as being the third baton carrier in the 4x400m relay. We are all running for the same team and are only as good as the other runners,” said Lees. “That’s why I am so excited about getting this new partnership with Golden off the ground – everything is set up to go out, make killer work and triumph together.”