Director Sean Donnelly has signed with New York City-based production company Table of Content to do commercials and branded content.
Donnelly specializes in tabletop and product work for such clients as A&W, Astoria Distilling, Belucci, Coca-Cola, Citi, Honda, Tabasco and Verizon, among others. More recently, he teamed up with agency Zulu Alpha Kilo to direct a series of brand films for craft brewery SingleCut and their new Notes IPA, an interactively packaged craft beer that doubles as a guitar lesson. The signing marks Donnelly’s first exclusive commercial representation as a director following a career in cinematography. Donnelly is currently shooting season three of Epix’s (soon to be MGM Plus) Godfather of Harlem, starring Forest Whitaker.
“Sean and I go all the way back to my agency days when I knew him as a young and hungry camera assistant,” said Table of Content Head Rick Knief in a statement. “I’ve been a big fan and supporter of Sean’s from day one and have enjoyed watching his career blossom as he has become one of my go-to DPs. His prolific move into the director’s chair comes as no surprise, and we are thrilled to offer our brand and agency partners yet another multidisciplinary filmmaker like Sean, especially those in the food and beverage space, where he truly shines.”
“Rick’s belief in me has meant everything,” Donnelly said, also in a statement. “I’ve never turned down a job with him because I know his passion and commitment to creating great work. The opportunity to join Table of Content was no different. I’m excited to start the next chapter of my career here.”
The son of a cinematographer and grandson of an art director, Donnelly grew up in the world of advertising. After earning a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology, he ascended the ranks on film and commercial sets until he became DP on Coca Cola’s “Happy Machine” campaign, Citi’s “Progress Makers,” and Weis Markets’ “Local Farmer.”
Directing tabletop work was a natural progression for Donnelly, who, over the course of 10 years, defined his personal aesthetic with a painterly sense of composition and lighting. He is fascinated by the crossover point in filmmaking between art and science, which lends well to tabletop work.
“It’s a genre that requires visual precision, with highly technical rigs and motion control; but you need an artful eye to make the most of these tools, so my work in this space is very much about balancing the art and technique of it all,” Donnelly said. “That’s where the magic happens.”
Donnelly also owns and operates New York’s first and only wood-fired coffee roaster, Mighty Oak. What began as a passion project for Donnelly evolved into a brick-and-mortar cafe in Queens, N.Y., that features a custom roaster and ships beans across the country.
“Our food-and-beverage clients will also appreciate that Sean doesn’t just shoot beautiful campaigns, he is an innovator in the industry,” said Knief. “He is a craftsman in the truest sense, who is always in a state of innovation, playing between the left and right brain. If there’s a better solution, he’ll go out of his way for clients and take the long road to make a good idea great.”