May 9, 2022No Comments

Little Black Book: Uprising with Bola Ogun

Uprising: Bola Ogun on Why Directors Should Always Be Learning

Believe Media director talked with LBB on how she entered the industry, the power of divergent thinking and expanding beyond directing to become a better people-manager
“Music and art was a way to move my body and now I do it with the camera,” says Believe Media director Bola Ogun, reminiscing on her childhood spent singing, playing sports and rollerblading. She describes her background as “vibrant, colourful, expressive and so alive” – believing that she now transfers all of this emotion into her directing.

Bola studied musical theatre at the University of North Texas and despite her experience with performing, doing ‘Shakespeare in the Park’, studying her favourite ‘absurdist’ plays and other productions at college, she says didn’t understand the craft of directing until she became a production assistant and began working on TV sets. “I’m so grateful my first television experience was on Ava Duvernay’s ‘Queen Sugar’ because it is set up specifically for new talent and shepherding up-and-coming directors. The cast and the crew carried a lot of responsibility that they normally wouldn’t and offered a lot of empathy for new directors.”

Getting her initial break in the industry via two weeks of non-stop phone calling for a PA position in Dallas, she learned some valuable lessons early on in her career. “On set, always be enthusiastic or at least be pleasant, which feeds into directing – it’s hard to work with cranky directors.” She continues, “Early days directing: Always be learning, always be a student. All my mentors who are super experienced and have won awards and have made a name for themselves talk about learning something new all the time. If they haven’t seen and done it all, then it’s not likely anyone is going to know it all.”

The young creative has already been a writer and director on several films and television productions including ‘Lucifer’, ‘Charmed’, ‘Siren’ and Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’. Adopting a variety of roles, she says, gives her a greater understanding of each crew member, enabling her to manage people better when directing, “Since I’ve been in their shoes, I am better able to give them space and/or the push when I know they can excel.” A project that Bola directed thatshe feels has helped swing the momentum of her career is ‘Are We Good Parents’. The film won Best Short Film and Best Emerging Filmmaker at the AT&T SHAPE Awards in 2018 and was in the SXSW Film Festival’s official selection of the same year.

Regardless of whether she is directing, writing or working in a different role, Bola loves that her career allows her to “vibe with creative people all day” and enjoys rising to the challenge of “learning everybody’s individual language” during the production process. Where she derives true fulfilment, however, is from the reaction of people to her work, especially if she is able to inspire people to see themselves in a new light. Highlighting her short film ‘The Water Pheonix’ as a prime example of this, she says, “I’ve had women older than me and little girls come up to me to express what it meant to them to see a Black mermaid. Helping introduce afro-folklore and inspire the generation before and after me is really fulfilling.”

Looking at the wider industry, the director appreciates ideas that challenge expectations and encourage divergent thinking. “Being interested in digging deeper and knowing that the audience will follow,” she says. “We get to educate people subliminally and help people share empathy. We can inspire great understanding for complex subjects.” To inspire her own divergent ideas, she consumes media in most of its forms and has recently even expanded into virtual reality with Meta’s Oculus – praising the “unlimited amount of environments” that it opens up. And when it comes to inspirational individuals, she admits that it’s hard to narrow her list of heroes down, “I like to think of all those I admire as an infinity gauntlet of talent to look to. I hold onto each person’s strength like a stone and hold onto that for power. David Fincher’s visual discipline, Guillermo Del Toro’s magical realism, Christopher Nolan’s storytelling ambition, Spike Jonze’s mould-breaking, and Chloe Zhao’s patience.”

Outside the world of work, Bola likes to paint and has developed a passion for other creative endeavours, such as wax casting. But even the most creative and productive people find it impossible to stray too far from the various lures of YouTube content: “I spend way too much time on YouTube these days but it’s only because you can find so many helpful things there,” she says. “I love ‘HealthyGamerGG’ – Dr. K is doing really great mental health work there. ‘Wisecrack’ always has awesome deep dives into characters and shows. ‘Great Art Explained’ is… well, great art explained!

Now living in LA and re-entering normal life after, what she describes as, a “meditative” experience during the pandemic, she is currently gearing up for a directorial block on season three of Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’. What really drives and motivates her, however, is not the ambition of ever-increasingly big director spots, nor the awards for her short films – for Bola, it’s all about her family. “We had a hard time growing up and it’s nice to help take care of them and inspire them.”

May 8, 2022No Comments

April 2022 Newsletter

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A (Slightly) Life-Changing Story...
Floria Sigismondi directed Meta's explosive new ‘Good Ideas Deserve to Be Found’ spot. The initiative, aimed at helping small and midsized businesses, is a joyously vibrant celebration of a fantastic realm where everything connects and ideas abound.

Director Bola Ogun Signs with Believe Media

A first generation Nigerian-American filmmaker, Bola's directing career has flourished with episodic credits including Lucifer, Charmed, and Siren. Her breakout short film "Are We Good Parents?" is a nuanced (and hilarious) analysis of modern parents navigating their teenage daughter’s love life.

Director Fredrik Bäckar Jumps Across the Pond

Already represented by Believe in the UK, Bäckar has now joined our US roster. His recent projects include Amazon Prime and Financial Times.

Director Hoj Jomehri In Shots

As a filmmaker and a DJ, Hoj has developed a reputation in dance music as a sonic storyteller. Read more about his ‘playlist’ in Shots.

Director Alex Feil Makes AdForum's Top 5 List

His work on Netflix's "Tudum Stories" earned him a spot on their Top 5 List of Production Directors for March 2022.

Glad "Le Party"
Director: Jake Nava
Vodaphone "Hello Sunshine"
Director: Alex Feil
Kenko "A Fresh Start Made Smoother"
Director: Chris Saunders
Covergirl "America Ferrera"
Director: Paola Kudacki
Netflix "Tudum Stories"
Director: Alex Feil
Criteo "On the Open Internet, You Choose the Future"
Director: Floria Sigismondi
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May 6, 2022No Comments

Remembering Director Jeff Darling Filmmaker & Friend

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Remembering Director Jeff Darling
Filmmaker & Friend
With a heavy heart, our Believe family announces the tragic passing of our dear friend and director Jeffrey Darling. A man of distinguished grace and talent, Jeff has forever impacted our lives through his extraordinary work that is only surpassed by his beloved character.

A family man through and through, Jeff has been a part of our DNA for more than 15 years and we have enjoyed exploring the world through his vision and growing to know his own family. To his wife Sarah and children Imogen, Scout, Cooper and Carson, we send our love and gratitude for sharing Jeff with us through the years – his time, his dedication, and his passionate drive to tell stories that captivate audiences.
Jeff on the set of his upcoming feature film "He Went That Way"

A renowned filmmaker, Jeff garnered over 70 awards across the industry. In 1992, Jeff was included in Cannes Film Festival “Best New Director’s in the World” Showcase, received three honorary awards from Kodak during his career, the Kaleidoscope Salute to Music Video Cinematography, the Kodak Vision Award at the 1999 AICP Show New York, and for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2002 AICP Show New York. His work for Jaguar and Boeing are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and he most recently completed principal photography on his feature film "He Went That Way," a true crime story of a serial killer and his chimpanzee.

As a leader, Jeff was considerate of all those who surrounded him – amidst the complexities and arduous layers of a production, he led with warmth and respect to our crews as much as the creative. He indeed seemed to see the world through a lens of compassion from all angles.

Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Jeff. We will miss you.


– The Believe Family
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May 5, 2022No Comments

January 2022 Newsletter

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Above Boy Shortlisted for Best Documentary at the
Big Sky Film Festival

Making its world premiere at Big Sky on Wednesday, February 23rd, Above Boy, our documentary film following the descendants of Horn Chipp – the Medicine Man for legendary Sioux chief Crazy Horse — spotlights the spiritual foundation of Godfrey “Mikal Okshila (Above Boy)” Benjamin Chipps, and takes a deep dive into the modern realities of the reservation.  

Come Fly Away with Director Amber Park

Recently featured in Shoot Magazine's New Director Showcase, Amber Park continues her ongoing collaboration with Lennon Stella, directing the music video for the singer's latest single, "Bubble."

Director Bruno Aveillan Helps Give Animals a Voice

"The Cry," a campaign from creative agency Altmann+Pacreau and production company Quad (who represents Aveillan in France) for Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis, challenges French politicians to handle animal protection as a core social issue. The spot was highlighted by Shoot Magazine as their Top Spot of the Week last month.

Go Where Help Is Needed
with Director Daniel Skoglund

The spot highlights the ultimate mission of Doctors Without Borders — people over politics. 

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