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Gabriel’s fixation on film as a way to convey experiences and emotions began after his sheltered rural Northern California life was uprooted for a year spent living in the Middle East just after the first Gulf War. He cites this as the first time that he was confronted directly by the vast disparities and complexities in the world. That made him want to tell stories about what he’d seen and learned about human nature-- and he realized that film was the most powerful way to do that.
After graduating from University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, Gabriel’s interest in telling stories in the short format was nurtured working as a creative assistant to one of Anonymous Content’s top directors. In that time, he forged a mentorship working on dozens of commercial campaigns around the world as well as two feature films.
In 2010, Gabriel went out on his own and directed a PSA, for ‘Effective Parenting,’ which was an AICP Show Finalist. He followed it up with a Coke Zero spec that was chosen as the first place winner by Coca Cola’s marketing team, as well as the Overall Grand Prize Winner at Coca Cola’s competition held at Cannes Lions Competition, which led to a stint writing content for Coke Zero at Ogilvy & Mather.
Gabriel’s skill in commercials gained attention with a spot for Guitar Center that broke during the SuperBowl, featuring “Questlove Jenkins,” bandleader of Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show band and drummer of The Roots. In 2013, Gabriel was selected for recognition in the prestigious SHOOT Magazine New Directors Showcase for his work in commercials.
His short film The Bridge Partner, with Beth Grant (The Mindy Project, No Country for Old Men), four time Emmy Nominee Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue, Desperate Housewives) and Oscar nominee Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, The Descendants) and made its International premiere at Raindance Film Festival in London this fall. In little time its racked up several awards including the Wes Craven Best Horror Film Award, as well as Best Horror / Suspense Film at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival in San Diego and the Audience Award at the D.C. Shorts Film festival. Gabriel adapted the script from a short story by Hugo Award winning author, Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn). To date it has played at over 21 festivals around the world and counting.
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