13
Sep
2023
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Jeana Khoury Brings Her Visual Style to Tessa Films

Director Jeana Khoury, whose evocative work for the Joburg Ballet and her powerful “Bride Armour” anti-domestic violence spot for Carling Black Label have won awards and raised eyebrows, brings her talent for visual storytelling to the roster of Tessa Films. Her signing was announced by Tessa Co-Founder and EP Lisa Masseur.

Khoury, who also goes by the name Jeana Theron, continues to be represented in South Africa by Darling Films. She’s directed numerous campaigns for a wide range of brands, including J&B, Toyota, Hyundai, Environ, KFC and First For Women. Her reel includes everything from TVCs to music videos, fashion films, documentaries and branded content.

To view Jeana’s work, go here .

“Jeana’s unique visual style was what initially drew me in,” says Masseur about her new talent. “And honestly, her most recent projects have continued to stun me in that regard. Overall, the look and feel of her work is uniquely distinctive, but there’s always a storytelling thread. And often, these stories have some heart and truth to them.

“We see Jeana’s skills and innovative visuals being well suited for automotive brands, spirits, and sports categories,” adds Tessa EP Amy McIntyre. “But her strengths are so impressive, we predict her work will break through in the US.”

Looking for a base on which to more fully engage the US market, Khoury heard about Tessa Films. “The more I learned about them, the more I felt I’d be a good fit, and when Lisa and I connected, she totally agreed,” she explains. “They’re built on honesty, integrity and a hustle mindset – they have a sincere hunger and desire to help grow their directors.” In joining Tessa, she adds, “I hope to make great, visually breathtaking, meaningful and intriguing work – and lots of it!”

This should be an easy reach for the filmmaker, as her work has garnered some of the industry’s top accolades and honors. Her “Bride Armour” spot won multiple Lions at Cannes, including a Gold Lion, as well as top honors at the Ciclope Festival in Africa. Her “16 Days of Light” for First For Women took the Grand Prix at the Loeries in 2020, and made the shortlist for the Cannes Glass Lion, while two of her films for the Joburg Ballet earned both Gold and Silver Lions.

Here is a look at “16 Days of Light”…

Khoury brings a strong artistic ethos to her work, which traces its roots to her education. An artist at heart, she studied Fine Arts at Wits University in South Africa, where she began dabbling with video art. She says her inspiration to pursue a career in the visual arts was triggered when she saw Jane Campion’s “The Piano” as a young girl, “and I fell in love. I saw that filmmaking could fulfill my creative abilities, and I was so inspired that a woman directed it – which meant that I could do it, too, although it was much more difficult when I was younger than it is now.”

Her career took its first steps when she started working as an assistant for the South African writer/producer Amy J. Moore, one of the driving forces behind “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency,” the hit BBC/HBO series about a fictional woman-run detective agency. From there she moved into commercial production, joining the legendary South African production company Velocity Films as a creative researcher.

Aware that much of her work features strong women in highlighted roles, she cites a spot she just directed, again for First For Women, as an example of the kind of influential, talked about projects she wants to direct: “This is a for women-only insurance company created to meet the needs of women, and features influencers from South Africa,” Khoury explains. “Aside from having a strong, meaningful message, I was able to flex my visual muscles and literally play with fire and crashes! It’s a special effects feast, mostly done in-camera.”

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