Director Kevin Berlandi has signed with bicoastal production company Durable Goods to direct commercials and branded content in the U.S., the company announced.
Among the Korean-American director’s recent credits are episodes of Netflix’s Partner Track and CBS’ NCIS: Hawaii and NCIS: LA as well as commercials for such brands as Audi, Burger King, Nissan, Toyota, Kia, Buick and GMC.
“Brands know Kevin and trust him,” said Mike Brady, executive producer for Durable Goods, in a statement. “They know his work and the performances he gets, and from there, he has an easy time starting conversations with automotive clients. Whether it’s a commercial or a trade show, these brands need content that has to look, feel, and be executed like a franchise film. Kevin has already been able to do that for a number of brands.”
“Commercials feel like a uniquely American art form, and that world is such a great playground for directors creatively,” said Berlandi, also in a statement. “A director is hired for their vision and skillset, but you’re ultimately asked to champion someone else’s concept.”
Berlandi started as a production assistant, working his way up to join the Directors Guild of America (DGA) as an assistant director. From there, he worked as AD on the Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers franchises, as well as The Bourne Legacy and Marvel’s The Avengers.
He went on to spend 18 months as an in-house director at ad agency Pitch. He also participated in the DGA’s Director Development Initiative, Sony’s Television 2016 Diverse Director’s Fellowship and CBS’ Director Participant Directing Initiative. This led Berlandi to television, directing primetime procedurals for CBS.
His most recent effort, Netflix’s Partner Track, was recently the second-most viewed series on the platform.
“With a show about a Korean-American lawyer on the partner track, I try to tell stories in a way that people from different backgrounds can connect to that experience,” said Berlandi.
Berlandi also participated in the Association of Independent Commercial Producers’ 2021 Commercial Directors Diversity Program. Berlandi sees this experience as the perfect training for his commercial work, particularly for automotive brands.
“Watching directors like Michael Bay and Gore Verbinski work, you see them command a large set with all the technologies and toys,” Berlandi said. “Still, it’s great training for commercials because both are sets where you are pitching ideas constantly.”
Berlandi’s short film, Hana Sasaki’s Tail, adapted from the book, Three Scenarios, premiered at the 2016 Festival de Cannes. In addition to his directing work, Berlandi is also active at the DGA as a two-term chair of the Asian American Committee, contributing to numerous initiatives with the Diversity Committee.
“I’ve always felt like I see things from two different worlds,” said Berlandi. “Maybe it was being born in South Korea and then raised outside of Boston, but I’ve always had a perspective that allows me to step outside myself and the content I’m directing. That way I can service both worlds – the material at hand, and the viewer who will eventually watch it.”
Outside of work, Berlandi spends time with his daughter and wife, describing himself as a “semi-professional lacrosse player” and a fully professional coffee fanatic.