Bethany Mollenkof

The Seaa’s “See Us Now” (excerpt from branded content)

Bethany Mollenkof

Sibling Rivalry


What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 
This is a hard question for me to answer because I have always been directing in some capacity even if it wasn’t my title. But my career as a commercial director, hired professionally, with the title, started in 2020.

How did you get into directing?
My background is in still photography and I was working at a newspaper when I became really interested in audio and interviews. From there I wanted to create documentaries and it wasn’t until years into my career I began to direct commercials. I always credit my love for storytelling to growing up listening to my parents read and tell us stories around the dinner table with my three brothers and sister.

What is your most recent project?
My most recent project was directing a campaign for Mercedes-Benz to celebrate International Day of the Girl. We highlighted young dreamers and future world changers—all real-world girls, all named Mercedes to create the inspiring series. The campaign was shot on film and each department was led by a woman.

What is the best part of being a director? 
I really love building a team of uniquely creative people to make something special together. I take the responsibility of directing very personally and want people that work with me to feel valued and better after our collaboration. There is nothing like the feeling of leading a group of people towards a common creative goal and achieving it.

What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
My current focus is documentary style commercial campaigns and branded content. I love working with people to tell their stories on behalf of brands in authentic and nuanced ways.

Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I am originally from the South, but grew up in Kenya and South Africa. My background is in documentary photography and through my work I try to make the far away, close and the complex, simple.

How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
The pandemic has really taught me to treat everything as a gift because it can all change so fast.

I try not to get stressed out over little inconveniences as much I used to and I am acutely aware of how temporary everything is which convicts me to be present each day. Nothing ever lasts, is ever finished or ends up the way we imagined. This shift in mindset has made me a much more carefree creative and allowed me to be more experimental and less precious.