Commercial Production Company Aris Signs Director Colin Sonner

Commercial Production Company Aris Signs Director Colin Sonner

Jul. 09, 2024

Commercial production company Aris has signed Colin Sonner for representation in the US and Canada. With an interest in intimate, emotional human stories and visual experimentation, Sonner specializes in commercials, promos, and content for lifestyle, sports, outdoors, and industrial product brands. His clients include Mercedes-Benz, Coors Light, Miller Light, Comedy Central, The New York Times, and The New Orleans Saints, among many others. At Aris, Sonner has already commenced on a digital series for Amgen and Edelman, featuring influencer Alexis Nicole Nelson, as well as a VFX-driven brand anthem for Hubbell Inc. 

Greg Bassenian, Founder/Executive Producer at Aris remarked:

“From action-driven spots to vignette-style storytelling to fun and snappy comedy, Colin is a versatile director who excels at honoring a script with a cinematic style that’s grounded in believability – a balance that is very hard to pull off in the commercial medium. Furthermore, Colin represents a new generation of multidisciplinary content creators who possess the hard skills to produce high-quality content independently. That's a huge asset to Aris as we look to keep pace with the demands brands have to produce more content, especially for social media.” 

 

Sonner added:

“Aris has a highly specialized roster with support and resources tailored to everyone’s unique talents. They’re always looking to innovate and take productions to the highest level possible, whether it’s elevating a pitch with a new visual element or exploring new technologies, making it the ideal home for me to evolve my style and grow as a director.” 

 

Sonner started his career as a documentary filmmaker, covering subjects ranging from music to sociopolitical issues, primarily in the vérité style. Today, his documentary background informs his process of working with talent, as he always seeks honesty and surprise in their performances. 

Sonner said:

“Working in docs took me all around the world – places that wouldn't be accessible otherwise –  and taught me a lot about life. The experience, in many ways, prepared me for my transition to commercials, especially directing content featuring non-actors. Building trust, and making everyone comfortable, is everything.” 

 

Where documentaries and commercials diverge, however, is what interests Sonner most as a filmmaker today: meticulously planning the right shot, with an emphasis on hyper-intentional storyboards, where framing, lens, and lighting embody narrative purpose. 

He explained:

“Documentary filmmaking is often inductive by nature, as you’re typically getting as much footage as you can, then piecing the story together in post. Commercials, on the other hand, are an incredible form of poetry, a distillation of symbols, where every piece has to be right – and you've got to nail it in 15 to 30 seconds. It’s a challenge I love tackling as a filmmaker.”

 

Prior to signing with Aris, Sonner was represented by The Bigger Picture. He broke into the commercial world with a spot for Dick's Sporting Goods, which suited his action-based childhood in Southeast Alaska, filled with whitewater kayaking, hiking, fly fishing, and shooting snowboard films for his friends. As a sports fan, the campaign was a perfect segue to some of his favorite work, including a spot he shot at Citi Field (Mets Stadium) for Citibank and Superfly, as well as a promo with Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen via agencies Current Global and FCB.

Bassenian concluded:

“The artistry and expertise Colin brings to his craft is evident in every detail—the cinematography, color, lighting, and the way he directs performances. It's a joy to see it all unfold. And coming up as a DP, he is a savvy, hands-on leader on set who understands what it takes to ensure the technical aspects of a production are efficient, collaborative, and in sync with the creative vision.”

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