Tag Archives: Lesley Chilcott

Director Lesley Chilcott joins Splendid & Co. roster

LA-based production house Splendid & Co. has added director Lesley Chilcott to its roster. An award-winning filmmaker, documentarian and producer, Chilcott began her career in the commercial world before diving into the documentary arena as a producer of films such as the Academy Award-winning An Inconvenient Truth; the Barack Obama biographic film A Mother’s Promise shown at the 2008 Democratic National Convention; It Might Get Loud, about legendary guitarists The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White; and Waiting for Superman, for which she received an award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Documentary from the PGA.

Her current documentary, CodeGirl, was released last month. The film tracks the story of 5,000 girls from 60 nations as they competed in an entrepreneurship and coding competition organized by Technovation. Prior to its release in theaters, Chilcott uploaded the film for free on YouTube in conjunction with Google’s Made with Code initiative. In addition to being shown at 64 Google offices worldwide, teen girls from around the globe hosted viewing parties.

Chilcott’s commercial focus establishes her aptitude for the lifestyle realm, directing spots for brands such as Motorola, AT&T, Corona, M&Ms and Cover Girl. Having wrapped CodeGirl, her move to Splendid marks a focused interest in commercials.

“With so many great production companies in the mix, Splendid stood out to me as a highly inventive company that not only supports their talent but is ingenious in the way that they source truly interesting and different work,” says Chilcott. “This is very appealing to me.”

“Lesley brings such unique skill to our roster with her experience as a documentary filmmaker and commercial director,” says Erin Tauscher, Splendid partner and executive producer. “Her ability to elicit incredible performances from real people as well as trained actors really stood out to me when I watched her body of work for the first time.”

Lesley Chilcott revisits education with ‘#TEACHnow’ PSA

By Randi Altman

Documentary filmmaker and commercial director Lesley Chilcott tackled the topic of education when she produced Waiting for Superman, a documentary that investigated public education in America.

She has returned to that topic once more, this time for the small screen and in the form of a 60-second public service announcement called #TEACHnow for Participant Media, a company that focuses on feature film, television, publishing and digital content meant to inspire social change. #TEACHnow premiered in early May as part of National Teacher Appreciation Week.

Lesley Chilcott (producer on An Inconvenient Truth and It Might Get Loud) talks about making this education PSA under the Rabbit Content banner. You can view it here.

Lesley Chilcott

What inspired the PSA?
Participant Media asked me to create a short spot to inspire teachers, but to make it something we’ve never seen before and to give it scope. After talking about it for awhile, I became stuck on one thought… you know those epic recruiting spots made for the military? Why not make one for our everyday heroes — teachers? I mean, who hasn’t had that special teacher that changed the way they look at things?

How did you come up with the story?
Creatively, I thought it might be interesting to follow four teachers getting ready for their first day of class. Instead of jumping out of helicopters they would be doing everyday things…tying a shoe, putting on a jacket, driving to school. And then showing how interesting prepping for your classroom can be.

These are our everyday heroes doing everyday things… and yet, these are the people that are teaching the future. So you’ll see an abundance of sun flares as our teachers go to school. I wanted to say, “Take a new look, the classroom is an exciting place.” Teachers now can have a lot of creativity in their careers. Mainly, I wanted to visually illustrate that teaching is so important that it deserves its own recruitment piece showing teachers as the heroic, life-changing, amazing people they are. I also wanted a big dramatic score, something composter Peter G. Adams ran with and really delivered.

You directed this piece, yes?
Yes. It was extra special to me because I was able to concept, write and direct — something we don’t always get to do.

What did you shoot on and why?
We used two Arri Alexa XTs with Elite anamorphic lenses. We only had a full day with our crew and then had a splinter unit a second day for some additional shots. We also had a Steadicam for a few shots.

LAdy with numbers tying shoe

Who was your DP?
Logan Schneider, whom I use a lot for both commercial work and documentaries. He brought an immense amount of creative ideas to the project, and not every DP can do great handheld work with anamorphic lenses like he can. His crew is also fantastic and really worked hard on this. Additionally, my production designer, Heidi Adams, was a key player. The classrooms look magical and yet very real.

What kind of look were you after?
I wanted to bring scale to an everyday occurrence: going to school to teach. Anamorphic lenses gave me scope and scale and we turned the world of teaching into a world with 12 suns.

Where did you do the shoot?
We shot in the Valley and downtown LA.

Where did you go for the post?
I love working with Chris Catanach at Stitch Editorial. He is clever, fast and he really brought a beautiful approach to a feel-good piece that honors teachers. Chris is genius at both a commercial approach and documentary style, so he was the perfect choice for this. And he always puts story first.

Teach Still 20 copy

Did you work with the colorist or did the DP?
Both of us went to the session with Leo (Leandro Marini) at Local Hero Post. Luckily for me, Leo was able to hop off his film for a few hours and give us some of his time. It’s one thing to be an amazing colorist, but Leo knows instinctively what is also best for story.

Would you like to add anything?
Two things: Participant Media is always visionary with their social outreach campaigns, so I love being a part of this. As education reform leader Geoffrey Canada, says, “Teachers are a work of art.” We need to show our brightest minds that teaching can be an incredible career choice and Participant clearly believes in this mission.

The other is that all of the crew went above and beyond. When everyone heard this was to honor teachers, everyone was in. Just like that. I think that’s a really nice commentary.

‘A Small Section of the World’: How this doc got its look and feel

Producer/director Lesley Chilcott called on DP Logan Schneider to capture the images she needed to tell this story.

By Randi Altman

Lesley Chilcott makes documentaries. Some as a producer, such as An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman and It Might Get Loud, and some as a producer and director, such as her latest, A Small Section of the World. The project is about a group of women in a remote part of Costa Rica who started a coffee mill… and a very successful one at that.

Chilcott got involved in the project when Greenlight Media and Marketing in Los Angeles told her about ASOMOBI (The Association of Women of Biolley) and their micro mill built on top of a hill in Costa Rica. They sell their beans to Italian coffee company Illy Cafe. “My Continue reading

Pros share what they are thankful for this season

By Randi Altman

I admit it, I am one of those people who takes the meaning of Thanksgiving for granted. At quick glance, I think Thanksgiving is about turkey, over-eating, family gatherings and a parade featuring ginormous flying cartoon characters, but the real meaning sometimes gets lost in all of that.

This year I made it a point to think about all that I have to be grateful for, and there is a lot, including, of course, my family. In addition to them, I still get giddy about having all my music on my phone and just a click away. My wrists and I are also thankful for my Wacom tablet. It’s amazing. Oh, and Colin Firth. Don’t judge me.

Work-wise, I am very grateful that I got to re-invent myself with postPerspective and how just Continue reading

Filmmaker Lesley Chilcott curating PGA doc series

By Randi Altman

Los Angeles — Lesley Chilcott, known for her work on documentary films such as the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth as well as It Might Get Loud and Waiting for Superman, has been curating the most recent Producers Guild of America (PGA) series in LA, called The Doc Club. Continue reading