Sophia Banks defined herself as a director with a spot she shot for Christian Siriano featuring gorgeous young women wearing couture gowns skateboarding through the moody streets and industrial back alleys of downtown Los Angeles.
With richly saturated colors, an edgy soundscape and stunning static shots that set an anticipatory tone, Banks captured the imaginations of two of fashion’s hottest trendsetters: Pam & Gela, the best friends who started the Juicy Couture empire. They soon hired her to create a digital billboard for their new brand that occupied a prime slice of Times Square real estate and mesmerized the masses with its lush imagery of bold young women living on the cutting edge of fashion and fun.
The massive ad paid for itself in 24 hours and increased the brand’s sales by 40 percent. Banks’ success can be credited to her singular vision and unique background. The Australian native studied film, acting, fashion and business in three countries including at acclaimed institutions like USC’s school of cinematic arts and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
Her razor-sharp eye for cresting trends led her to partner with Satine—one of L.A.’s hottest boutiques in the early aughts. She later launched the Whitley Kros label with Marissa Ribisi and became a sought-after celebrity and film stylist.
Clocking time on set served to heighten Banks’ awareness that she belonged behind the camera. Her sensibility as evidenced by her success in fashion was profoundly visual. A stint mentoring under famed German director Wim Wenders sealed the deal and Banks dove headfirst into her most meaningful adventure as a fearless female director.
Gigs for top brands like BMW, Cheeky for Target, Doritos and Ford soon followed as well as work with Pam & Gela, Ralph and Russo, Valentino and GenLuxe magazine.
Banks has also distinguished herself in the world of music videos with a fast-paced electronic romp for the Aussie band Strange Talk Music. In addition, she is hard at work on several features, the first of which—a short titled, “Unregistered”—will be released this Spring. Other exciting projects include a digital series currently in development about the dark side of social media.
A self-professed “tech geek” who loves cameras and has a knack for visual effects, Banks epitomizes the brazen, forthright nature of unstoppable women everywhere and brings unparalleled beauty and style to each project bearing her name.
Exposing the dark undercurrents of the rules, norms and technologies governing society is at the core of the work I do as a director. Topics such as the psychological price of social media and the impact of sexism in the workplace are treated with irony and the subtle humor inherent in the most effective satire.
Breaking rules is what I do best, whether it be writing in the voice of a dispossessed character or favoring long, static shots over the fast jump cuts that have become the norm in Hollywood. The idea is to encourage my viewers to break out of the preordained boxes they have allowed themselves to occupy.
As a strong-willed female director, I bring a unique perspective that is both tender and unabashedly bold. My voice is as courageous, outrageous and outlandish as that of any man. The difference is that I can speak to a universe of understanding that men can’t.
My palette is at times lush and beautiful; and at others stark and fraught. I focus on forms in the frame that others overlook, and I know how to arrange a shot to highlight subtext and innuendo. Like many of the directors I admire most, including Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese, I rely on the power of imagery to tell my stories.
In an era dominated by instant gratification, when less is considered more—even though it is usually lacking in depth and texture—I offer a holistic approach to film and television, one that asks the question: “Where do we go from here?” And answers it with a full emotional, spiritual and physical journey.