Shots | Filmmaker Michael Haussman joins VANDAL

Award-winning writer, director and artist Michael Haussman has joined VANDAL, the company founded by director Francis Lawrence and producer Heather Heller – for commercials, music videos, and branded content in the US.


As a music video director, Haussman has created a canon of music videos featuring the likes of Justin Timberlake, Chemical Brothers, and Kanye West, garnering numerous honors, including six MTV Video Music Awards and a Museum of Modern Art Award. In the commercial arena, he has distinguished himself with high-profile ad campaigns for Levi’s, Diesel, Absolut, BMW, Yves Saint Laurent, Guinness, and more. VANDAL will produce new work in association with Haussman’s 

Person Films, the global production company behind many of the director’s acclaimed longform projects such as Do Not Disturb and The Audition, and commercials for Bulgari, Roger Vivier, Tods, Volvo, Fiat, and Hagenhas; Person Films has also earned a reputation as the most prestigious service company in Italy.

Haussman recently completed the feature film Edge Of The World (formerly titled Rajah), starring John Rhys Myers. The film is being distributed in the U.S. by Samuel Goldwyn Films and is based on the true story of James Brooke, the inspiration behind Kippling’s The Man Who Would Be King and Conrad’s Lord Jim and Heart Of Darkness. 

“I’ve always considered Michael to be one of the best in his class as a commercial and music video filmmaker,” said Heller. “Our ethos as a company leans heavily on our cumulative background in celebrity-driven advertising and high-profile videos, and having worked with many of his video clients – Shakira, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez and Usher – I felt that Michael would be a natural complement to the VANDAL roster.”

“I believe it is important to keep a balance between films, commercials, music videos and the fine arts, as this cross-pollination of creativity constantly brings a fresh approach to each medium,” said Haussman, whose past films include: Rhinoceros Hunting In Budsapest, starring Nick Cave, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; Blind Horizon, starring Sam Shepard; The Unsinkable Henry Morgan, which also premiered at Sundance Film Festival; and The Audition, which premiered at The Venice International Film Festival. To date, Haussman has won six international film festivals. Do Not Disturb , the anthology series he created, wrote, directed, and produced with Jude Law, was officially selected for the Cannes Series Festival 2019. 

Haussman’s most recent art exhibition, Gravity, premiered at Los Angeles Pacific Design Center, and was chosen by L.A. Weekly for inclusion in the “top three of the ten best art exhibitions in LA…” Gravity was presented at Berlin Art Week and Cannes InOut Exhibition. As a painter, Haussman’s solo art show, Naturales, featuring large-scale matador and bull paintings (ink on paper), premiered at the Desoto gallery in Los Angeles and New York Scope Art Fair.

“Michael has the ability to weave natural performances into delicately told stories, across multiple media,” Heller concluded. “He is the kind of artist we had in mind when we created VANDAL.” 

LBB: The Future Is Short


I’ve always been obsessed with short formats.

I like short stories, especially from Sam Shepard and Paul Bowles.

A collection makes up a bigger overall idea and theme, which can sometimes be more profound than a longer movie or book.

Making something short is an art, where every component counts.

Being meticulous with each frame.

The craft that commercial directing has taught me is how to tell gripping cinematic narratives in very short time frames.

I love long-form. I’m working on two features and a television project right now, but I will always have a deep love for short-form storytelling. In this attention economy, where there are more options and competition for eyeballs than ever, it strikes me that the future of entertainment is about diversity and variety. The best short-form series have contained character-led stories, propulsive narratives and surprise, which is its strongest attribute.

Last year I created a series with writer Larry Volpi called Do Not Disturb. As a director I have spent a lot of my time in hotel rooms around the world, hanging that little sign outside the door to afford some privacy, along with hundreds of thousands of others. Everyone hangs that sign for a different reason, because in a hotel room you have complete privacy, or at least the illusion of that. And so, every day a hundred thousand stories play out on private stages across the world, and that became the springboard for Do Not Disturb, a short hotel room anthology series.

We wanted to make it a true anthology. A mix of genres – horror, drama, comedy, thriller – every episode a space for an actor to come in and make the stage their own. It was intentionally designed to be a theatre for craft – a playground for production and sound design, acting, directing, editing… cinema. So in creating the series, we made space for this to be a love-letter to the craft of short storytelling, and worked with the most talented forces in the film and television industry, from the other directors I brought on – Jude Law (making his directorial debut), Zoe Cassavetes, Jake Chapman, Mounia Akl, Dylan Southern & Will Lovelace, and Matt Huston to the most brilliant actors Monica Bellucci, Jack Huston, Suki and Imogen Waterhouse, Daniel Mays, and Robert Emms. One of the great advantages of short-form is the space it allows for experimentation, both with talent and ideas.

With each episode confined to a hotel room that we never leave, the laws of space and time set hard boundaries within which we could play. We never wanted the audience to know where a story would take them – each character is never quite who they seem. There’s a human truth behind every door that, despite the best will in the world, we’re all this close to being exposed.

We were invited to premiere at Cannes Series this year, and I’m writing this from the balcony of my hotel room in the hills, after watching ten of the best international short-form series play. I was struck by the richness and craftsmanship at work in this new format for television – and how much diversity there is in approaches. It’s easy to make a glib statement that the future of television is in shorter lengths. And that would be a mistake. The industry is still learning what to do with short-form, though it’s clear the audience wants more. It’s exciting that the entertainment world has room for so many different ideas and expressions, and as someone who is passionate about the craft of storytelling, I’m proud to be one of the filmmakers translating those skills into the new frontier of short-form entertainment, creating a new breed of television.



One of the favorites heading into this year’s Canneseries Short-Form Competition has to be the star-studded anthology series “Do Not Disturb,” spearheaded by the U.K.’s Pulse Films in association with Blackpills Studio.

Michael Haussman and Larry Volpi created the series, and its nine, 10-minute episodes were written by the two along with Olivia Poulet, Mike O’Leary, Nida Manzoor and Davey Spens.

“Do Not Disturb” takes the audience behind the little plastic placards we hang on hotel-room door handles when we need a nap, want to be left alone, or perhaps up to something a bit more adult, as is often the case in this show.

Some episodes are comedies, some terrifying and others sultry, but each explores the darker side of humanity that is often kept behind closed doors.

The series’ directors include Haussman, Jude Law, Jake Chapman, Mounia Akl, Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace, Zoe Casavettes and Matthew Huston. It’s produced by Pulse Films, Person Films & Riff Raff with Blackpills Studio.

Monica Bellucci highlights a cast of major film and TV stars featuring, among others: Ralph Ineson (“The Witch”) Jack Huston (“American Hustle”), Daniel Mays (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), Sophie Cookson (“Kingsman”), Robert Emms (“War Horse”), Edward Holcroft (“Kingsman”), Suki Waterhouse (“The Girl Who Invented Kissing”), Imogen Waterhouse (“Nocturnal Ani
mals”) and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (“Misfits”).

Creator-writer-director Michael Haussman answered questions from Variety ahead of the show’s CanneseriesShort Forms world premiere.

Anthology series seem an ideal format for short-form. Can you talk about some advantages of the format for “Do Not Disturb”?

Anthology is great for short form because you can create a season of different genres- comedy, horror to drama – which play to the strength of how short-form series are discovered and consumed, each bite offering something different. In our series the audience is dropped into several short, provocative setups in hotel rooms around the world, with the energy constantly moving, and the audience never quite knowing where they’ll go next or what they’ll find. Short format plays to its advantage, continuously ratcheting up the stakes and tension, keeping the characters and stories twisting until the end.

Was the series always intended to be short-form?

Our series was purpose-built for short-form, as hotel stories are best chronicled in short antidotes or crazy experiences which we all can relate to in our travels. It mirrors the thousands of dramas that play out in hotel rooms every day, everywhere, when the Do Not Disturb sign is left hanging.

Audiences just seem to be coming around to short-form TV, and will likely be impressed with the casting in “Do Not Disturb.” How did the big-name actors in the series come to be involved?

From the start we built a vehicle for talent with constantly twisting story lines motivated by the characters. Who you meet in the beginning is never who they are in the end.  This freedom to evolve and change in such a short time frame was unique and resonated with high-level talent both in front, and behind the camera.

The series is world premiering at Canneseries, which has become perhaps the most important showcase for this format. Can you talk about what it means to have your series as part of the official competition lineup there?

As the short-form format market has grown, a few festivals have turned a spotlight on this new breed of television, none more prestigious than Cannes. We were thrilled to be invited to join the Official Competition lineup.

Read the full article at Variety

From Contact Music: Your Song ft. Ed Sheeran

Published on 1 September 2017 | Contact Music 

Rita Ora has teamed up with chart sensation Ed Sheeran for a glorious new acoustic rendition of her latest single ‘Your Song’. The track originally featured uncredited backing vocals from the latter, but this new video sees him take a more active role as guitarist.

They certainly make for a remarkable duo in this raw, intimate live performance. The original version of the song reached number 7 in the UK and it is the first track from her long-awaited forthcoming second album, the details of which are yet to be announced.

‘Your Song’ was co-written by Ed, produced by Steve Mac, and released back in May 2017 via Atlantic Records. Rita Oea performed it for the first time at an amfAR charity gala at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, and has also released an official video for the song which was shot in Vancouver, Canada and directed by Michael Haussman.

Read the full article Contact Music 

From Rap-Up: Rita Ora – ‘Your Song’

Published on 22 June 2017 | Rap-Up

Rita Ora’s infectious anthem “Your Song” has a sleek video to match.

Directed by Michael Haussman, who’s worked with Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, and Madonna, the visual is a look into an Ora-led boardroom meeting, where the songbird stuns her colleagues by dancing on the table and walking away.

Seemingly in a trance, the British songstress walks (and dances) around the office building, shedding her clothes, and making her way to the parking lot. Then, she hops in a red BMW, to drive backwards through Vancouver to find her lover.

Read the full article on Rap-Up

From Shots Magazine: Levi’s Sea of Blue

Levis encourage us to ditch our phones and get down to some double denim loving in a new spot.

Debuted during the Grammys, ‘Sea of Blue’ is the fourth ad launched as part of the brand’s ‘Live in Levi’s’ campaign. This ad was directed by Michael Haussman and Mike Piscitelli for Pulse Films Ltd, who created the film for FCB West.

In it, the only two people not on their phones at a party catch each other’s eye, and fake phone-based flirting ensues. The two get closer together, admire the sheer amount of denim each of them is wearing, then jump in the pool (they obviously haven’t been told that most denim experts advise against washing your jeans…).

This ad is to be part of a constellation of content, with related TV, cinema, and print campaigns running alongside digital and social media content.

Read the full article from Shots Magazine 

From Creativity Online: Levi’s Pokes Fun at Smartphone Obsession in Its Latest Spot

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on 

Hooking Up In Real Life, Not Online

Editor’s Pick

In Levi’s latest TV ad, which broke during the Grammys, the denim brand puts a new slant on the brand’s sexy boy-meets-girl scenario, with a mischievous nod to its target audience’s smartphone obsession.

In “Sea of Blue,” boy and girl meet at a pool party at which everyone is clad in denim, and everyone is glued to their phone, not looking up to make contact with anyone “in real life.” The pair catch each others’ eyes, mime a phone call without phones, and then fall into each others arms (and the swimming pool.) The spot was co-directed by Mike Piscitelli and Michael Haussman, through production company Pulse.

Part of the brand’s ongoing “Live in Levi’s” campaign by FCB, the campaign spans digital and social platforms, TV, cinema and print globally. As well as the TV spot there are style videos, behind the scenes footage and additional stories captured during the shoot that were made into digital shorts to be featured across social media.

Read the Full Article on Creativity Online

Adweek Ad of the Day: United Turns Airport Security Into an Olympic-Level Obstacle Course

Do you ever feel like an Olympic track star while trying to navigate the maze that is the airport check-in experience? United Airlines feels your pain.

The 2016 Summer Olympics begin next month in Rio de Janeiro, and this week United debuted its first related ad as the official airline of Team USA.

The 60-second spot “One Journey. Two Teams.” will first air during the opening ceremony next Friday. It resembles past efforts from the brand in that it stars both United employees and American Olympians doing their best to get to the gate on time.

The athletes featured include volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings, two-time gold medal soccer player Carli Anne Lloyd and four-time gold medal swimmer Missy Franklin, among others.

The ad, created by United agency of record mcgarrybowen, also features a Rio-style remix of the client’s theme song “Rhapsody in Blue” courtesy of audio production company Yessian Music, which recruited authentic Brazilian street musicians to help create the very active re-imagining of Gershwin’s classic. The voiceover for this spot comes from Mr. Bourne himself, Matt Damon.

“Our 2016 Olympics advertising was a great way to engage and showcase our employees and our partnership with Team USA,” says United managing director of marketing and product development Mark Krolick. “The United team works incredibly hard year round to transport U.S. Olympians and Olympic hopefuls to training, competitions and the Olympics and this campaign demonstrates that in an upbeat, fun and optimistic way.”

The ad was filmed on a real 787 Dreamliner in Los Angeles, and the athletes performed all their own stunts.

Mcgarrybowen executive creative director and managing director Haydn Morris tells Adweek, “It’s an honour to have a client with such an intimate and longtime relationship with Team USA; they do the hard work of flying those guys wherever they need to go, year in, year out. Mcgarrybowen does the easy bit of bringing that story to life.”

Read the Full Article on Adweek

From MTV News: 7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Selena Gomez’s ‘Same Old Love’

By Emilee Lindner

Selena Gomez’s “Same Old Love” video follows the singer rolling through the city in a raindrop-speckled car, observing life from safely inside.

But after watching life go on around her, she’s ready to immerse herself in the human experience, so she ditches the car, which continues on to her concert empty. Don’t worry though, after drifting around city streets and a nightclub — something that she wouldn’t get to do in real life without fans and paparazzi smothering her — she runs back to the venue on foot to make it to her concert on time.

For the fans who got the first look of the video at Gomez’s Revival album event in L.A. last week, that’s where they thought it ended. But little did they know that Selena would come out for a surprise performance, and their reactions would be filmed for the end of the video, released on Tuesday.

We got on the phone with Michael Haussman, who directed “Same Old Love” — along with Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack,” Madonna’s “Take A Bow,” Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” and more — to get the behind-the-scenes stories that went into the carefully crafted visual.

Read the full article on