Yael Staav was born in Syracuse, New York. She grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and now spends much of her time in hotel rooms as she does at her home in Toronto.
She started out studying Anthropology at the University of Alberta, thinking that she wanted to give Indiana Jones a run for his money but soon changed course and moved across the country to Toronto where she started and finished a degree in New Media at Ryerson University in the year 2000.
A combined passion for film and music led first to photography and then naturally to directing music videos. After initially splitting her post-grad time between Toronto and London, she went on to direct music videos for many of Canada’s finest bands. Her music video work gained her attention of advertising executives, and commercial work followed soon after.
In 2005, she won her first Yong Guns Medal and was featured in the Shoot New Directors reel, Shoot New Directors showcase, and won a Bronze Lion for the ALS Society of Canada, making her the first Canadian woman to win a medal in Cannes.
Somewhere in the middle of it all, she had time to take a job as a producer/director at Corus Entertainment, a massive Canadian broadcaster, where she co-wrote, produced, and directed a large number of animated and live action interstitials. Her intention was to stick her hands in as many buckets as she could, honing her craft while feeling out different mediums.
Chances are, you’ve heard of Dove Evolution, which she then directed. It was one of the most downloaded videos on the Internet in 2006 with over 7 million hits on YouTube.
Yael picked up the most prestigious of awards at Cannes, The Grand Prix in Viral Marketing in 2007, as well as Best in Show, Gold Single, and Evolution at the 2007 Marketing Awards. In 2009, Evolution was shortlisted for Adweek’sTV Commercial of the Decade and placed among the top ten.
Since then, her work has been featured in Boards, Shots, Shoot, Creativity, Campaign, Adcritic, Marketing, and The Reel.
Since becoming a mother, Yael has a new pastime of filling her son’s passport with as many foreign border stamps as she can. She continues to make work, explore the world, and bring back pictures for all of us to see.