Commercial film director Nate Townsend has a very personal connection to the Leica brand. Last year, Townsend’s father, Tom, died of cancer only two weeks after receiving an unexpected diagnosis. In addition to countless lessons and influence, Tom Townsend also left his son a Leica M4 35mm rangefinder camera. Shortly after his father’s passing, Nate took an impromptu road trip to his father’s hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. He used the heirloom M4 to document the journey, which ultimately inspired him to create a short film, ‘Do it Justice,’ which you can view below. You can see some of Nate Townsend’s images from his road trip throughout this article as well.

Townsend’s film is a touching tribute to his father’s influence on him as a person and as a creator. Townsend says, ‘My father was and continues to be my greatest creative influence. I grew up surrounded by his photographs, writings, music and commercials, and by the time I started creating myself, his aesthetic and perspective were deeply instilled in me. As my work has continued to grow and evolve, I’ve found that my father’s influence lies most powerfully in the way I approach my creative endeavors.’

Tom Townsend spent his career in marketing. He served as VP and creative director at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles before starting an agency, which is now called Rodgers Townsend/DDB. You can read a very nice article about Tom Townsend at AdWeek. Nate says that his father ‘brought a unique level of honesty and integrity to advertising and used his craft to find and tell the stories of companies, products, and institutions that he believed in.’ Nate continues, ‘It was an easy and honest decision to build this story around Leica Cameras. Not only has Leica played a pivotal role in my story, but as a brand, has a deep commitment to the values I wanted to explore – legacy, craft, and resilience among them.’

Image shot by Nate Townsend on the Leica M4 his father left him. Image courtesy of Leica.

Nate and his father collaborated on a commercial for Tom Townsend’s non-for-profit organization, Pianos for People. The St. Louis-based foundation offers free pianos and lessons to the community.

Image credit: Nate Townsend. Image courtesy of Leica.

‘Do It Justice’ was written and directed by Nate Townsend, with additional writing by Mike McCormick. The film stars Walter Parks and Emma Gross. The EP/Producer on the project was Michael J Hurst, and Kyle Krupinski served as Director of Photography. For the full list of credits, check the video description on YouTube. You can view additional images and behind-the-scenes shots by visiting Leica.

Image credit: Nate Townsend. Image courtesy of Leica.

To view more of Nate Townsend’s work, visit his website. In addition to Leica, Townsend has worked with major brands including AT&T and Bayer. He has also written and directed numerous shorts, including ‘The Lipinski.’ Townsend directed and co-wrote the feature-length documentary ‘Wake Up: Stories from the Frontlines of Suicide Prevention‘ in 2020.

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