Lionel Coleman operates a camera

Durable Goods Signs Lionel Coleman

Durable Goods has signed multi-hyphenate director Lionel Coleman for commercial representation in the US market. From narrative to docu-style ads, sports to visual lifestyle, Coleman’s commercial portfolio showcases his talent for storytelling across different genres. Along the way, he has built a reputation for making large moments out of very small moments from the director’s chair, working with such brands as Adidas, Ford, Gatorade, Huggies, Kia, Nike, Power Bar, Red Cross, and Walmart.

An alumnus of the Diversity Director Program at CBS, Coleman is also a celebrated episodic television director whose credits include NCIS Mothership, NCIS (Hawai’i and New Orleans), All Rise, and God Friended Me.

“Lionel ticks all the boxes for what today’s brands and agencies look for in a director,” remarks Hani Selim, Executive Producer/Managing Partner, Durable Goods. “For one, he is passionate about telling stories that pack an emotional punch and have a larger purpose behind them; and with a skill set that extends to cinematography, editing, and photography, he brings cohesion to every detail in a production, ensuring a smooth set to boot!”

“At every turn of my directing career, my love for the art of commercials and short-form storytelling has always stayed with me,” remarks Coleman. “It’s a space where you get to be more hands-on and experimental, visually and narratively. Moreover, a platform where you can reach audiences and make a cultural and social impact, which is something that I am very much motivated to do as a filmmaker. Thankfully, Durable Goods has the support and partners to make all of that possible.” 

Fascinated with the human condition, particularly as it relates to issues of race, bias, and prejudice, Coleman is a decorated filmmaker behind such titles as Margaret Cho’s I’m The One That I Want and These Final Hours (2022). The latter made waves on the international film festival circuit and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. 

These Final Hours speaks to everything I enjoy about storytelling,” says Coleman. “It makes you question how you see yourself and certainly yourself in the rest of the world. It’s the kind of storytelling that I want to continue doing in the commercial space.” 

Brooklyn-born Coleman discovered his passion for arts and culture by way of a broadcast journalism career at the CBS news station in San Francisco. Parlaying his experience shooting dangerous overseas news assignments, Coleman took a job as content producer and director at Nike headquarters, where he worked with such athletes as Michael Jordan, Carl Lewis, Tiger Woods, Lisa Leslie and more. Coleman emerged as a triple-threat filmmaker from his Nike tenure, honing his skills as a cinematographer, editor, and director. 


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“What made that Nike work so seminal back then was how they placed athletes in real situations and delved deeper into their mindset with a documentary-like aesthetic – something that finds its way into much of my work to this day,” adds Coleman. 

Seeking to expand his creative vision across new genres and audiences, Coleman began directing big-budget commercials in 2001. His spot for Hyundai showcased his automotive chops, blending humor and clever VFX. Meanwhile, Coleman continued his work in the sports genre, directing an award-winning campaign for Gatorade, featuring NHL great Sidney Crosby. Last but not least is Coleman’s pioneering work for Huggies, which captured the beauty of real-life childbirth in the delivery room.

“Whether it’s a celebrity athlete or a mother giving birth, I pride myself on making the talent feel as comfortable as possible so that the moment – real or scripted – comes off natural and authentic,” concludes Coleman. “It’s something I really enjoy doing and a skillset that I’ve perfected over time through my documentary work.” Coleman is currently in pre-production on an upcoming episode of Seal Team on Paramount Plus, and an episode of Raising Kanan, produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and showrunner Sascha Penn (Creed). Coleman is also directing and executive producing a documentary this summer with Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance.


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