We are very pleased to announce that up and coming director René Sascha Johannsen has joined Black Dog Films, for representation in the US. He has won awards at Sundance, travelled far and wide, and shot the likes of Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Isaac, Gary Busey, Nephew, L.O.C, Marina Abramovich, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield to name drop just a few, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him on board!
René grew up in a small town in Denmark, and was restless to create from an early age. After spending many years living and working in Copenhagen, he recently set up a bi-coastal home base and currently divides his time between New York City and Los Angeles.
Inspired by soulful performances, passionate people, spicy food, strong coffee and skateboarding, René is energized by artists like Roman Gavras, Early Larry Clark, Spike Jonze, Kasper Tuxen and Adam Jandrup, and is constantly pushing himself. “Things that piss me off or annoy me for whatever reason forces me to come up with better alternatives. When there are things I really don’t like I try to prove to myself that it’s possible to create something different than that. How else can you judge? Curiosity killed the cat, not me…”
He started making videos at a young age. “I started shooting skateboarding in my teens and with that came other performance-oriented visual storytelling and street photography. When I got more serious I moved on to documentary and music videos. I was playing in bands and had a few friends that blew up who I made music videos for. Danish bands like Suspekt, L.O.C. and Nephew. Some of them on Super8 film, others on Super16… Trial and error but lots of luck!”
In 2005 he began working at the Danish National Broadcast (DR), where he stayed for a few years filming and editing TV shows and travel documentaries. “That kinda felt like school to me. I learned to work under tight deadlines and big budgets and big egos.” Then, in 2006, he went to North Korea to shoot a documentary for DR called The Red Chapel. “That blew some minds and opened some doors,” he said. “Since then its been a ton of travel and music documentary with a tint of comedy, art and a few more music videos. I have been lucky to be surrounded by some very creative and talented people so the bar has always been high.”
The Red Chapel, which René DP’d and edited himself, won the World Documentary Cinema Prize at Sundance and was also nominated for a Golden Frog for cinematography at Camerimage. Most recently, he was recognized for his work as co-producer, additional editor and additional DP on the critically-acclaimed indie film The Wolfpack. For music videos, at the Danish National Awards he has already taken home Hip Hop Video of the Year twice.
We look forward to the cooking up new and wonderful creative collaborations together, and can’t wait to showcase more from this talented young directed soon. “I’ve known about Black Dog for a long time and I’m just psyched they saw me too and like my work. I’m excited about being one step closer to the great artists they work with. Not just the bands, but also the strong team and other directors,” he told us.
Welcome to the team, René!