Growing up with one parent serving in the military, frequent relocation became the norm for director Elisha Smith-Leverock. Now based in Berlin, after a decade in London’s Hackney Elisha’s childhood saw her enjoying the perks of experiencing life in several different countries.
For Elisha, being on the move has helped to develop her understanding of culture and taught her how to read people. Being able to intuitively grasp new trends also contributed to her filmmaking process and bolsters her ability to make the ordinary cinematically extraordinary across branded and unbranded film work.
Having initially started out as a photographer, Elisha has gone on to build an award-winning portfolio, redefining her filmic style with every job she takes on. Her passion for art direction and cinematography is evident as each project is considered yet highly stylised. She has worked with a range of clients, such as AirBnB, Selfridges, Fila, Sony, Boohoo and Nowness.
With a German mother and an African-American father, it’s no surprise that identity features as a prominent theme in most of her creative work. It’s something Elisha is constantly exploring through her own mixed heritage.
Elisha is fearless when it comes to her films, tackling topics like diversity, gender stereotypes and surrealism with a maturity and softness that works on-screen. Her short doc Miss Black Germany is about the contestants of a black beauty pageant. The film follows them as they seek to find a place of acceptance in a world that idolises a predominantly white western ideal. This piece follows her Grand Prix-winning ASVOFF entry a few years earlier for I Want Muscle, a short about a glamorous female bodybuilder.
Aside from her film work, Elisha is also deeply committed to championing diversity both on and off screen, both as an artist and the ambassador for Free The Work in Germany.