Michael Givens is a Writer/Director/Producer/Cinematographer with extensive feature film and commercial production experience at both the national and international levels. He was an internationally respected Director of Photography for nine years before beginning his directorial career in 1989. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, Michael began his career as a still photographer. Fulfilling assignments for many publications, he found his niche in the fashion and music industries. Subsequently, he moved into film, becoming a Director of Photography for such noted directors as Ridley Scott, Steven Friers, Philip Borsos, Ron Maxwell and Peter Smilie. After guiding his career in the camera department of 40 plus feature films and hundreds of commercials he moved to the field of directing.
An American director with an international reputation, Michael has directed successful, award winning campaigns for a number of large corporations, financial institutions and manufactures including UPS, Credit Swiss, Pepsi and Visa. His expertise covers many genres including: airlines, tourism, food (human and pet), automobile and special effects.
Utilizing a comprehensive network of international affiliates and contacts, Michael successfully plans and directs films worldwide. Whether the story calls for shooting on location in Europe, Africa, China or the United States, Michael assembles the finest technicians and production team available to ensure the success of the project. Recognizing the need for different visual styles to reflect and speak to different cultures, Michael has created successful campaigns for audiences in Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America. While filming in nearly every corner of the globe, Michael’s reputation as a director-cameraman easily adaptable to difficult and hostile locations, earned him the distinction of being the first western director to film in Vietnam since the end of the war.
Michael’s directorial debut was under the tutelage of Ridley Scott while at RSA. After which, he built a successful affiliation with the production company GLG. Michael then formed his own company, Michael Givens & Associates. After which, he joined forces with Director/Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel at Dark Light Pictures. Presently Michael is represented by a number of the finest worldwide production companies. His recent projects include: Fix-o-Dent (worldwide), multiple global Whiskas spots, Wrigley’s and Iams for all of Europe, Milka and Persil for Germany, Mizuno for Japan, Amaro Montenegro for Italy and Audi for Russia. Michael’s most recent music video was for Lonestar.
After nearly 1,000 television commercials, Michael turned his attention back to the silver screen. His feature film credits include directing and photographing the second unit for Coyote Ugly and Cinematographer on Rebel Private, a film with director Ron Maxwell (Gods and Generals, Gettysburg) entitled Father of his Country and The Celestine Prophecy (based on the best-selling book by James Redfield). Opposite Day, a feature film Michael directed and photographed, starring French Stewart, Pauli Shore and Dick van Patton. In the cinema soon will be his Rock and Roll drama starring James Brolin, Carlos Bernard, The Marshall Tucker Band and Dilana (of Rockstar Supernova fame) called Angel Camouflaged. Also, lensed and lit by Michael, the holiday film Chilly Christmas. Michael is currently in pre-production on a number of quality motion picture projects.
Michael brings a highly refined sense of storytelling to his work, drawn from years of experience, including his time spent as acting coach at the renowned John Kirby Studios in Hollywood, Ca. Combining his knowledge as a TV commercial director with his experience in feature films, Michael Givens creates films that deliver their messages technically and dramatically.
He who is brave is free.
Seneca, 1st century AD, Roman philosopher