New York, NY - Fortune Cookie, a creative collective of directors, animators, artists, and editors banding together to create moving narratives for agencies and brands, has launched. The key masterminds behind Fortune Cookie are veteran director/photographer Pierluca De Carlo and independent filmmaker Ben Wolfinsohn. The collective launches with a wildly creative spec reel that fuses a street-smart filmmaking approach with reality-based comedy.
The filmmaking collective will direct all projects under the Fortune Cookie moniker, tackling idea-generation on through to production and post by reaching into its network of core creative collaborators who specialize in everything from set design to visual effects, editing, and finishing. Fortune Cookie launches as a division of NYC-based production company IDENTITY to collaborate with agencies and brands drawn to Fortune Cookie's particular -- some say unusual -- approach to storytelling.
"Fortune Cookie is our alter ego that lives completely detached from our day-to-day persona," said De Carlo. "Because Ben and I have both established ourselves in our respective fields -- me with my lifestyle commercial work and Ben with his numerous film and TV projects -- Fortune Cookie is our playground that allows us to take different risks."
The pair's backgrounds and personalities couldn't be more opposite, but they complement and feed off each other -- De Carlo brings hard-won experience that comes from years working in the advertising business, while Wolfinsohn is a relative newcomer with a fresh-faced approach. They're an odd couple -- but it's an incongruous pairing that works.
Added Wolfinsohn, "Pierluca's the Italian who comes from the glamorous world of fashion. I grew up Jewish in the Midwest and was the weird art school kid. Despite these differences, we've been good friends for a long time. We've always wanted to work together and that's why we launched Fortune Cookie."
Over the course of few months, Fortune Cookie has produced a gleefully rebellious reel inspired by everything from skateboarding videos to underground film. One commercial profiles guerilla filmmaker Dave Parker, who makes movies with trash. Another shot in Todos Santos, Mexico looks at the social media phenomenon as a man drives through a sleepy town blaring 140-character quips like "Lady Gaga's new album totally kills it" from his roof-mounted speaker system. And a spot for satellite radio looks at a homemade instrument that allows a goat named Clark to express himself through avant-garde music.
Said Joe Masi, executive producer, IDENTITY, "People have responded with incredible enthusiasm to Fortune Cookie's reel, and the question I get the most from agency producers is 'who in the world are these guys?!' because their work is so original, fresh, and unexpected. There's certainly mystery around the cast of creative characters behind Fortune Cookie, but there's a lot of experience behind them too and that makes agencies feel very secure."
The Italian-born De Carlo, who is currently based out of Todos Santos, Mexico and Lecce, Italy, has spent 15 years directing ad campaigns for lifestyle and beauty brands and began his career as a production designer for director Mark Romanek and photographer Herb Ritts. De Carlo will continue to direct beauty/lifestyle work under the IDENTITY shingle.
Wolfinsohn's background is in feature films and documentaries. He's directed film fest favorites "Friends Forever" and "High School Record" and sold the TV show "Gigantic," which airs on the Teen Nickelodeon network this fall. Wolfinsohn recently embarked on an ambitious -- and admittedly, traumatizing -- personal project called "My Odd Days," in which he vowed to animate one thing that happened to him every odd numbered day. The result is 50 two-to-four-minute shorts about everything from run-ins with Michel Gondry and Lou Ferrigno to pep talks with Pierluca de Carlo.