The announcement isn't completely surprising, given recent developments at London-headquartered production company Stink, with which Smuggler has partnered for the last seven years for European representation. Last year, Stink opened its U.S.office Skunk, which now serves as the Stateside base for a large portion of Stink's roster. Smuggler will continue to represent Ivan Zacharias and Adam Berg in the U.S., and the majority of its U.S. roster will now work out of its new U.K. office for the European market. Stylewar will remain with Stink for U.K. representation. The two companies remain amicable and will "continue to work closely," says co-founder/EP Patrick Milling Smith. We're "very close and we have achieved some great things together. We will still share representation on a few directors and hopefully there will be another venture of sorts down the road."
Launching a new office in this current economic climate might seem a risky move, but "it actually feels like a positive time to really hustle," says Milling Smith. "The roster is up for the challenge and we have always found that when the markets are tough the better ideas start coming out. People need to penetrate through all the noise and as budgets get smaller the machine gets tighter and hopefully the focus goes back to the creativity and the actual process of making work we all feel proud of." It's also a familiar tactic for the company. "We opened Smuggler in the U.S. at a similar time of economic woe, and in many ways it's a good moment," he adds. "You focus on what is important. You don't get bloated and you stay nimble and quick to be able to react to things and produce any type of project."