Commonground makes film debut with Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series

Herbu Brantley’s “Everyone’s Scared”

Commonground made its film debut with five short films and an hour-long documentary for the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series.  Commonground is lead agency for the Artisan Series, a national competition for visual artists. 

“The goal of Commonground, the Bombay Sapphire team and all of our partners in developing the film project was to grow the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series by offering increased exposure locally, nationally and internationally for the incredible imaginative artists featured in the documentary,” says Commonground rep Leslie Gordon.

The Artisan Series pairs regional competition finalists from Chicago, New York, Miami, Houston, and Washington, D.C. with a director from their city to produce a short film.  In Chicago, actor Freddy Rodriguez wrote and directed My City, featuring painter Hebru Brantley.

The documentary Imagination Unleashed: An Artisan’s Journey tracked each artist from their selection as regional finalists, the production of the shorts, through the shorts’ debut in December at the Art Basel Miami showcase, where Jay-Z bought Brantley’s painting “Everyone’s Scared” for a reported $22,000.

Commonground produced the doc with Leopard Films, USA.  It premiered on the Ovation Network in March.  Leopard Films and the Bacardi Global Team are working on an international release for the documentary.

“In addition to managing the Artisan Series since its inception, the Commonground team made sure that all phases of the program were strategically aligned with the Bombay Sapphire brand positioning and the program’s intent,” Gordon says.

“We worked directly with Leopard Films, USA, documentarian Lauren Lazin as executive director, and Mimi Adams and all of our partners to create the concept for the documentary and all five digital shorts, making sure the concept held true to the overall program, and that we were delivering upon our initial strategy which was to showcase imaginative artists and give them unparalleled exposure.”

Director of experiential marketing Roni Jackson led the Commonground team, which included account director Mike Coburn, creative director Aubrey Walker, ACD Elvira Rodriguez, and Commonground managing partner Ahmad Islam.  Bronzeville gallerist Andre Guichard is the national curator of the Artisan Series. 

Bombay Sapphire and Russell Simmons’s Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation begin accepting artwork submissions June 3 for the fourth year of the Artisan Series.