Commercial boutique Alma Mater launches
September 17, 2012

Commercial boutique Alma Mater launches

LOS ANGELES — Former Imaginary Forces employees have launched Alma Mater (, a new boutique visual studio that specializes in design, live-action and animation. Brian Mah, Kathy Kelehan and James Anderson are the company’s principals, and will selectively take on creative commercial opportunities that span all media disciplines and platforms.
"The education and experience that we gained with such a broad range of opportunities at Imaginary Forces, and the strong design tradition of that studio, has led us to this new stage in our careers," explains director Brian Mah. "We've now combined our strengths in a focused way in which all three of us can contribute equally and bring something unique to the company."
Alma Mater is a director-driven studio specializing in commercials. The company offers live-action and CG production, along with conceptual thinking. As a small but nimble operation, Alma Mater can adapt to the ever-changing commercial landscape. EP Kathy Kelehan says the company's holistic approach to the creative process enables them to offer custom methodologies to achieve the best result. "We specialize in design-driven projects, and our live-action and post capabilities enable us to offer a variety of options for creative problem-solving."

Alma Mater's Kathy Kelehan, James Anderson and Brian Mah.

Since its inception, the company has worked on a number of projects, including a launch spot for the Bauer Re-Akt microsite via branding and interactive agency Mode. The creative brief was two-fold: showcase the innovations in materials, construction and design that Bauer's new hockey helmet line offers to reduce head injuries; and draw in the hockey consumers by highlighting the aesthetics of the design. The studio used CG to depict the helmet's design and development, as the armor manifests itself in dynamic 3D.
"We wanted the piece to be cinematic rather than make it too diagrammatic or information-based, so we steered away from using text or typography, and leaned on the armor metaphor," explains James Anderson. "We spent a lot of time dissecting the forms, details, and materials in the helmet, brainstorming the various ways the helmet could construct itself with force and precision."
Alma Mater also helped shape the editorial style, sound design, and musical score.
"The entire process was very fluid," notes Mah. "Our interactions with the agency and client were very constructive and insightful, and they gave us a lot of freedom to define the overall tone of the piece. They were extremely helpful in directing us towards the innovative technologies that make this helmet unique, while allowing us to establish the most interesting compositions and angles to showcase them."
Alma Mater also recently completed work for ad agencies Euro RSCG & Grey, and contributed to the "Project Imaginat10n" campaign for Canon featuring director Ron Howard.