Ezra Productions is committed to fostering diverse talent in the video production industry. As part of that mission, our Female Filmmaker Friday series highlights best-in-class diverse directors, editors, and DPs from across the globe. This week, we’re excited to present female commercial video production director, Emily Dell.

Emily Dell is known for directing film and videos that are dynamic and alive, and that seek to show you the world in an entirely new way. She has directed countless commercials and public service announcement viveos for Ezra Productions in Los Angeles, including a public service announcement for healthcare company IEHP and St. Paul AME Church, a series of PSAs for IEHP starring Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe, and a PSA for UC Riverside.

Emily has also directed commercials and branded video for Marvel Studios, Fox Home Video, PepsiCo, Estee Lauder and more. In narrative film and television, she directed thriller HOW I MET YOUR MURDERER for Lifetime Network, Created/Directed series TROUBLED YOUTH for digital network CryptTV, and recently sold an original screenplay to Amazon Studios, for production by Di Novi Entertainment (CRAZY, STUPID LOVE; RAY DONOVAN). Her graphic novel VERONA is available wherever comic books are sold.

Emily studied Neurobiology and International Literature at UC Berkeley while studying film at NYU. Emily counts amongst her proudest achievements the ability to eat M&M’s with chopsticks, officiating the wedding of her two best friends, and that time she sold a dirty poem for a bottle of 18-year-old scotch.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Emily to get a peek into her world and how she got to where she is today.


How and when did you decide to get into the world of video production?

Video production, and visual storytelling, is what I have loved more than anything else for my entire life. While it is a business with uncertainties and risks, there is no greater feeling than when an audience connects with the work. I’ve had the honor to create videos and PSAs that build communities, champion overlooked issues and make people healthier.

The people I work beside in video production are all artists in their own way; collaboration in a creative team is a constant joy, even when we are pushing against deadlines and filming challenges. I have seen crew members create a lighting setup, an artful scenic design or composed line that blows-away my expectations and elevates the entire project. When a team is inspired, the end result is better than you could even imagine.


What makes your work and your directing/filming style unique?

In everything I do as a storyteller – especially in film and video production – my goal is to show you the world in a way you have not seen before. To make the ordinary extraordinary, to subvert expectations and to see the beauty and connection in all things with rich bold visuals, lyric soundscapes and camera movement. I want to make people stop and SEE the world, really see each other, and remember a sense of wonder. My work is known for dynamic energy and color, while always grounded in character at its heart. My goals are to make people as spectacular as they truly are, to make audiences feel the wonder in even something that seems small, and to get them to connect emotionally with our world in a richer way.

There are two parts to this answer, as there are always two layers to storytelling in film and video: the level of the visuals and soundscape, and the foundational story underneath. What I love about commercial video production is the interplay of both layers: how you accentuate story elements and themes through making it seamless and subtle on the visual level. Hallmarks of my style include bold choices in framing, color and camera movement. I love to marry that with a rich, lyric soundscape and dynamic editing.


You won a lot of awards for the IEHP x St. Paul’s video. Can you take us behind the scenes of that video production project?


Working on the IEHP x St. Paul AME Church video production was an inspiring experience. We had the rare opportunity to tell a real-life story that was simultaneously personal and global, and that touched-on deep issues of justice in our community. It was an important story, but we saw a way to make it uplifting. I believe that all members of the team – from crew members who went above and beyond, to a Grammy-nominated songwriter and most of all the leadership at IEHP and Jillian Ezra – were equally inspired to go above and beyond. There was a shared commitment that this was a story that needed to be told as majestically and authentically as possible. This allowed us to be especially ambitious: using original song composition and live recording, as well as bold use of color, camera movement and more. Our hearts were in it one-thousand percent, and I’m certain that is the hallmark of its success.


What are your interests outside of filmmaking?

I’m an active advocate for Reproductive Justice, working specifically with Reproaction and the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP). Last year we built a coalition of creatives in film and television that raised almost $30,000 for reproductive justice, and in the new year will launch a webinar series, on communication tools around reproductive rights and the anti-abortion movement, specifically for the creative community.


How do you help other women succeed in the video production world?

I hire women. As often as possible! When anyone asks me for a referral for a role or position, I always try to recommend other women.

Do you have any advice for other female filmmakers?

There are truly only two things within our control: 1. The quality and consistency of our work, and 2. How we show-up for our collaborators.


We’re so grateful to female commercial video director Emily for taking the time to share her story with us. As a woman-owned video production company and creative agency, Ezra Productions is committed to working with women, minorities, and young people, and helping them thrive in the video production industry. Whether you’re looking for a production company in Los Angeles or New York, we’re experts at creating engaging video that promotes your brand and social change. Contact us to learn more about our services as a commercial video production company.