After successfully launching in the UK earlier this year, multi-platform production company StrangeLove has landed Stateside, making its presence known bicoastally with the opening of offices in New York and Los Angeles.
Formed in partnership with renowned production outfit Passion Pictures, StrangeLove – a company that canvasses the creative spectrum from commercials to film and music videos – is the brainchild of former LEGS Media New York Executive Producer Tom Berendsen.
StrangeLove’s expansion and creative production in the US will be facilitated by former 1stAveMachine vet Melinda Nugent, Berendsen and former LEGS colleague Sara Greco, who’ll each play a pivotal role in establishing the company’s bi-coastal presence as executive producers in the Los Angeles and New York offices, respectively.
According to Greco, each office will serve as a physical home for StrangeLove’s talent, and offer the same premium service and forward thinking approach. “The relationship is harmonious – with Melinda tightening up production and working out of Los Angeles on development, creation of original work – utilising her extensive knowledge of the industry we are building our foundation with an exciting pace and energy. Our New York office is a cultural foundation,” she explains. “We are one of the few companies with a strong base in New York and that helps us keep up with and see things with a contemporary lens.”
The shared history and experience, Berendsen says of the team as a whole, which in the UK includes Dazed / Dazed Media alum Tai Thittichai as EP and Claire Blewer-Jones as Director of Sales, is what makes this proposition unique. “Together, we’re leveraging our combined and varied experience to offer a really progressive approach to our clients,” he explains. “One thing everyone in the industry is acutely aware of is how quickly tastes and trends change and evolve, and how campaign work reflects that with their requests for new types of delivered assets. I wanted to make sure that we could execute classic moving image work with flair, and also do all of the new technical and experimental work our directors have been known for. It was important to me to have a team that is adaptable and a set of tastemakers who could actively drive that new generation of output.”
Among the multitude of revered filmmakers, storytellers and artists comprising the roster as part of its US launch is: Andrew Thomas Huang, a fine artist in his own right and most recognizably known as Bjork’s creative director, the young commercial directing visionaries of BRTHR who have hit a cultural nerve, finding themselves among Dazed’s top 100 youths defining culture and LEGS founders Geremy & Georgie, who launched Florence & The Machine in the US and pioneered experiential work for top-tier brands including Target’s spectacular where they famously took over the Standard Hotel. Both are now individually championing massive projects, Georgie with a globally successful makeup line and Geremy with his first feature film, Patti Cake$, to premiere at Sundance this January. These directors have been at the forefront of culture and advertising trends each step of the way by bringing the artist’s sensibility to all that they do.
Rounding out this roster is the longform/branded entertainment-focused collective Spindle, headed by Sophia Rothbart also a LEGS Alum who is credited with establishing their emerging talent roster. Spindle is home to documentarians and directors intent on crafting progressive narrative driven content, often partnering with the likes of the NYT, they have developed an unprecedented fresh approach to working with brands and publications.
“Each director holds an inspiring point of view and beyond that, they are people we all truly care about…there is reciprocity in that which brings unquantifiable value to this job,” says Berendsen. “How can we not look at each voice here and work towards the best way to share this voice and explore it further through advertising, art, film? ” According to Berendsen, the creative freedom and artistic, close-knit community that was cultivated during his time at LEGS Media, which he helped build out of NYC’s Milk Studios, inform how he wanted to build StrangeLove. “The community at Milk foster creativity because there is so much room to breathe there for a new business. You are emerged in the energy of downtown New York and there was all this freedom to mold something. I signed almost all of the directors who are on what is now the Strangelove roster when I was building LEGS. That was the birthplace of what Strangelove is becoming and I am grateful for to that community for these reasons.”
The second coming is based on the partnership and beneficial alliance with Passion Pictures, which is taking more of a behind-the-scenes role in providing infrastructure and creating flow. “Passion Pictures is rooted in film,” says Berendsen. “We are filmmakers, storytellers and artists, so ultimately our home with Passion makes sense because they have been doing this for years. Their structure helps us see that we can achieve so much! One of the new opportunities we are excited about with Passion is the ability to execute mixed media content of the highest level and our directors have great crossover appeal in their work.”
For Berendsen, the amalgamation of creative and production talent helps fully realize his ambitious concept for StrangeLove. “For me it’s always been about building relationships,” he says. “I saw the opportunity to create something based on bringing together this group of individuals that have always had a special chemistry and then we built upon that. The most important thing to me first and foremost was to build a talented team of creatives and producers that love to work together, with a strong mutual respect at the core and as few egos as possible. Plus, we’re having fun, and that sort of energy isn’t something you can find that easily and is definitely infectious.”
StrangeLove is a progressive production company and media studio based in London and born out of the creative hub of Passion Pictures, representing leading edge, multi disciplinary, award winning talent. Working with clients globally to create commercials, music videos, documentaries and experimental events, we push the envelope for what is possible and expected in an ever-evolving industry. Most importantly, we make cool stuff.