Radar Adds Director Frank Donnangelo

Radar Adds Director Frank Donnangelo

Chicago-based production and post-production company Radar Studios is now representing LA-based director Frank Donnangelo for commercial projects nationwide. Donnangelo brings to Radar’s talented line up of directors and artists his ability to create rich, cinematically designed atmospheres and his skill in bringing forth evocative performances.

“Frank is an incredible visual storyteller. He possesses an amazing sense of camera movement, a skill that allows him to lead viewers through a story in not only dialogue, but in the setting and the mood,” says Executive Producer Graham Gangi.

A native of Arkansas, Donnangelo made his first foray into Chicago’s production landscape right out of college via an opportunity with Digital Kitchen. His work until that point had been all live action, and during his time with Digital Kitchen he gained experience in motion graphics, where his live action background informed his graphics work.

“First and foremost, I’m a live action director,” says Donnangelo. “I’ve always approached graphics and design from the standpoint of movies: If I was going to shoot this live action, how would I design the frame? How would I go about shooting it?” After two years with Digital Kitchen, Donnangelo began freelancing, which first brought him to Radar’s attention.

Donnangelo’s cinematic sensibility appears readily in his short film, Kanzler, a darkly comic whodunit that will begin making the festival circuit later this year. Donnangelo both wrote and directed the short and says he approached its look “like a throwback to old Hollywood, in the sense that everything is on a dolly, where master shots move into medium shots, medium shots move into close ups - very actor blocking and camera movement dependent storytelling.”

Donnangelo’s work on the music videos “Blood is Blood” for Adam Faucett and the Tall Grass, and “Event of Your Leaving” for Raum, as well as his work for Nike Basketball, recall the brooding, atmospheric territories mapped in Kanzler. Each piece connects with the viewer on a visceral level through powerful imagery, thoughtful camera work and emotive performances from both actors and non-actors alike.

Evoking an emotional response from a viewer in order to make a lasting impression is Donnangelo’s aim. “There’s ample opportunity for storytelling in all mediums and I think commercials that touch on the emotional side, or associate an emotion with a brand, are the most profound,” he says.

Such a precise vision is best accomplished through collaboration, and Donnangelo says Radar’s encouraging environment is what attracted him to the company.

“They are there to support me,” he says. “Joining Radar means having someone in your corner who is there for you, who wants to make you better at what you do, and help you gain more opportunities. They’re so laid back and so welcoming.”

Donnangelo’s unique vision and collaborative nature appealed to Gangi and the rest of the team at Radar as well.

“Frank is a great collaborator. He’s able to sit with agencies and talk about their ideas and build with them, and then communicate with the rest of the artists here,” says Gangi. “As an all in one shop, collaboration is something that we really foster in our environment at Radar, and Frank will be integrated seamlessly into the process. He’s an all-around, really great guy. And he rocks an amazing mustache.”

View his reel here.