Production Company A-List: MJZ

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Having notched up multiple awards this year for its 2010 projects, MJZ hasn't slowed down, with its more recent output demonstrating that it's still at the top of its game. Named our Production Company of the Year multiple times and earning back-to-back honors in 2008 and 2009, the shop excelled with a diverse array of spots, while several of its top commercial directors branched out into features for the first time.

Highlights included Canal+'s Bear, (via BETC Euro RSCG), directed by Matthijs van Heijningen, which combined comedy and stunning visuals to become one our favorite spots for 2011. (Van Heijningen has also completed his first feature film, The Thing).

Meanwhile the prolific Tom Kuntz gave us perhaps the most fabulous production line ever for Hahn's Super Dry out of Publicis Mojo, Sydney. Kuntz also added more spots to his portfolio for W+K's Old Spice campaign, the original which earned a Titanium Lion at Cannes.) The newcomers introduced a new collection of Old Spice Guys, funny enough to even rival Isaiah Mustafa. He also helmed humorous moments for HBO and outside of commercials he even found time for a music making bug art installation for Vivid Sydney at the Sydney Opera House.

With Jim Beam's Parallels, starring Willem Dafoe (via Strawberry Frog), Dante Ariola lent a classy new feel to the brand; the spot won a Silver at the Hugo awards and was shortlisted for several AICP awards. Ariola is currently filming his first feature, Arthur Newman, Golf Pro, starring Emily Blunt and Colin Firth.

Also helming his first feature is Ruper Sanders, with the forthcoming Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Hemsworth. In the ad world, Sanders employed spectacular VFX this year to create a brand new adolescent fantasy for Axe in BBH's Angels.

MJZ's established feature directors Spike Jonze and Harmony Korine were also busy this year. Jonze created a number of short films and music videos this past year including the clever and moving stop-motion animation short Mourir Aupres de Toi, a collaboration with designer Olympia Le-Tan, and Beastie Boys film Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win, an 11 minute animated short with Santogold. Meanwhile, Korine is set to direct Spring Breakers, an MJZ-produced full-length feature film starring James Franco, Emma Roberts and Vanessa Hudgens.

As well as its Titanium Gold Lion for Old Spice (which also won the Creative Effectiveness Lion) MJZ was a big winner at Cannes, picking up several silvers for HBO, and Bronze Lions for DirectTV work through Grey NY and for PMU. We anticipate more awards this year.

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