HSI, New York and L.A. - Founded: 1986

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Principals: Stavros Merjos, CEO; Billy Sandwick, Executive Producer N.Y.; Kerstin Emhoff, Executive Producer L.A.; Ellen Jacobson, Executive Producer L.A.; Maddi Carlton, Head of Production N.Y.; Tracie Norfleet, Head of Production L.A.; Randy Winograd, COO; Susan Lava, CFO

Roster:

HSI Productions: Arni & Kinski, Lenny Bass, Peter Berg, Irv Blitz, Benny Boom, Kevin Bray, Scott Burns, Gerard de Thame, David Dobkin, F. Gary Gray, Paul Hunter, Jacobs & Brier, Little X, Dave Merhar, Paul Middleditch, Marcus Raboy, Peggy Sirota, Josh Taft

HSI Productions / P.A.R.: Jonas Akerlund, Johan Renck

Mars Media: Samuel Bayer, Robert Hales

Person Films: Michael Haussman

Venus: David LaChapelle, Lisbon Okafor, Matthew Rolston

When we named HSI Creativity's Top Production Company for 2001, we were largely prompted by the fact that the company's reel boasted a prescience not apparent on others' at the time. The shop's roots, planted equally in clips and spots, dovetailed gracefully and lucratively in the form of Paul Hunter, whose ease with celebrities of both the sport and music ilk gave birth to the indisputable pop culture phenomenon known as Nike "Freestyle." As that buzz has abated (with Hunter on sabbatical working on his film Bulletproof Monk) HSI continues a successful stride, thanks to another standout aspect of its business: the impressive array of stronghold talents on every sector of the creative map. New angles on sheet metal came via Bayer on Toyota, DeThame's "Spaceship" for Nissan Frontier, and Taft, who revealed quirky features of Xterra on "Foghorn." Sirota brought a "Bug's Eye View" to MasterCard, and the effervescent Irv Blitz has been tabletop non-stop on Dunkin' Donuts, Bacardi and Bounty. Venus' Matthew Rolston brought us Old Navy's "The Rugby Bunch," and David LaChapelle lies in wait for a Best Video nod from MTV for his trippy Elton John clip. The shop even added an element that was noticeably absent from the mix - comedy, with the signing of agency creative Dave Merhar, who directed this year's Superbowl "Falconer" spot for A-B, as well as another satellite in the form of Michael Haussman's Person Films. Hunter, by the way, is back on a new celeb-driven campaign for Dr Pepper and Y&R. In the meantime, HSI also continues to grow. Merjos is in the process of building a London outfit with some of his European helmers while expanding on the idea of being a "multi" media production company: HSI signed a two-year first-look deal for film with New Line Cinema and launched (in association with Smashbox) the Mercury Artist Group - a print venture, of all things.

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