Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Peter Richardson, who recently made his TV directing debut with the landmark, seven-part documentary series Belief that explores faith around the world on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, is now expanding his commercial portfolio by joining forces with Hollywood-based production company, Sticks+Stones Studios.
Though he’s partnered with various production outfits during his career, with Sticks+Stones Richardson hopes to drive his dualistic “epic and intimate” approach to storytelling further into the advertising space. “Whether it’s documentaries or commercials, you’re still working with human beings — it’s about making this connection that feels real,” Richardson says. “In the case of an actor in commercials, it’s all about what they bring to the table. It’s connecting with someone on a very human level.”
While the versatile Richardson not only works on commercials for brands like Blue Cross Blue Shield and directs, edits and shoots his own documentaries, it was the spiritual, soul-seeking themes of a project like Belief that resonated with the Notre Dame alum and Portland native, who relies on his ability to connect on multiple levels. “From a filmmaking perspective, there is this connection I feel I make with people through the lens, establishing that connection, intimacy and trust with the subject and viewers,” he says. “When I feel that direct, pure connection and intimacy with them through the camera, I know it’ll translate well for a viewer.”
Richardson first made a splash with his stirring, emotional 2011 documentary about the terminally ill called How to Die in Oregon, which garnered the aforementioned Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to the acclaimed doc, Richardson helmed the enthralling feature doc Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon, a film in which he again wore multiple hats as director, producer and editor and that marked his debut at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s Richardson’s multi-faceted approach that appealed to Sticks+Stones executive producer Marlon Staggs, who says, “Peter is one of the smartest directors I’ve ever met. He’s perfect for the modern economy because he does it all. Producing, writing, directing, shooting and editing documentaries has finely tuned his ability to work lean and mean. Because of all of his abilities, he creates emotional work that stays with you long after the picture fades.”
Along with his foray into more commercial work and film, Richardson is directing an upcoming series for Showtime, which will debut in the first quarter of 2016. Sticks+Stones Studios, meanwhile, is repped by Toni Saarinen of Saarinen-Pico on the West Coast, Catherine DeAngelis of Hot Betty in the Midwest, and Brandon Pico of Hapa TV on the East Coast.