With care and adoration, Nate Townsend’s “Do It Justice,” a cinematic love story dedicated to both Leica and his relationship with his father, documents the importance of the temporary.
Growing up observing Tom Townsend’s ineffable creativity is what gave his son, Nate, the original nudge towards storytelling. It was the summers at the New York Film Academy, the flying out to LA with his father, the visiting sets, and the meeting of directors tied to Tom’s advertising company, Rodgers Townsend/DDB, that influenced Nate’s chosen medium of storytelling to be film. By high school, Nate Townsend knew that film was to be the focus of his life, and he soon found himself a graduate of Loyola Marymount. It’s a particular grittiness and rawness of everyday life that moves Nate, and as he’s evolved as both a human and director, it’s the dramatics and intricacies of real-life relationships that continue to push him to create honest, emotionally-driven narrative films.
It is this deep urge to tell existential stories and to show his appreciation of universally experienced emotions-- emotions having to do with life, death, family, honor, and passion-- that drove Nate to write and direct his latest spot, “Do It Justice.”
Hoping to create a piece that would accurately document the emotional complexity of the type of stories he loves to direct, Nate knew centering a film around his love for his late father, Tom Townsend, and the impact Tom had on Nate as an artist, would be the best way to tap into the deeply rooted questions and feelings most people have about the meaning and longevity of life.
After losing his father, Nate set out on a road trip to visit Tom’s roots, driving from Charleston, SC, to Jacksonville, FL. It was the inspiration of Nate’s pilgrimage to his dad’s home that sparked the idea of a cinematic Leica spot centered around the generational passing of photography; a story that echoed Nate and Tom’s real-life relationship.
Photos by Nate Townsend, taken on the journey that inspired "Do It Justice"
Shot with a Leica M4
“The grieving process is obviously a long one, and sort of always unfolding and it never really goes away,” says Nate. “But it was definitely a big help in giving me some comfort of knowing that I had created something out of a loss. Which is something that he would have done.”
Photo by Kyle Krupinski, Nate Townsend
Still from "Do It Justice"
Telling sincere and meaningful stories is important to Nate, and as Tom Townsend brought authenticity and good spiritedness to the advertising industry, Nate aims to carry his father’s loving energy into the film world as well. You can read more about Tom’s artistry and generous nonprofit work here.
Nate takes his work seriously and surrounds himself with like-minded, positively driven people. When each person on Nate’s production crew wants to create something moving and useful to the world, that is when Nate knows he is doing his best work with the right people. Perhaps this is why Nate and Paxeros are a good fit.
“I try to address meaningful topics and Paxeros does important work that has a positive effect on the world. Especially with the suicide awareness doc, Project Wake Up, that we did together… This is purposeful and it’s what I want to be doing. I want to be collaborating with a production company that shares my values.”
“And you know,” he continues, “the suicide feature I directed was one way I implemented my drive to share meaningful narratives. I’ve always been heightened to thinking about the bitter meanings of the world.”
In regards to how Nate hopes to continue growing and honoring the processes of life; narrative-driven branded content, and eventually features, are definitely on his radar. But as someone who always wants to be improving and honing his craft, it is hard for him to say if he has or will ever “arrive.”
Nate Townsend wants to be filming stories that impact society. He wants to do the human experience justice.
“Ten years ago when I was graduating college- I’m 29 now- my only hope then was really that I would be able to just continue doing this and make a living out of it. And so to be in a place where I have the ability to write and direct projects I want, and explore the profound themes that I want-- that is important.”
To explore more of Nate’s work, go to his Director Page.
Click here to read more about Tom Townsend’s advertising legacy.
Click here to explore Nate’s initial press on “Do It Justice” on The Leica Camera Blog.
Behind the Scenes Photos by Matthew Boyd Williams