David Horowitz, Rockfight (see story, p.40)
Ted Pauly, Tate USA
Ted Pauly's reel skillfully treads a quiet path from touching emotional work to dry, obscure humor in the promos he's crafted for MTV. "I'm obsessed with casting, specificity in characterization, inobtrusive camerawork, and ugly-pretty, awkward humanity," he says. That's obvious in the host of nuanced performances and clever storytelling curve-balls on his reel, as on the surprisingly feel good "Portraits" campaign, featuring the grounded paraplegic young man who has a perfect day dealing with an off-kilter world and most recently in MTV's upcoming "Defend!" campaign.
Aaron Stoller, Backyard
Aaron Stoller is perhaps one of the only directors in this biz who can say he's bossed Tom Cruise around on set, which is what he did for a high-action promo for the MTV Movie Awards. His work for the channel has given him a wealth of celebrity experience, also with bands like Coldplay and Ashton Kucher. He's also attached to the excellent "If MTV Were," campaign, co-directed with HSI's Randy Krallman (see right). Stepping off Moon Man territory, Stoller showed off his quirky comedy in a spot for Rogers Wireless, out of Maclaren McCann.
Matt Aselton, Epoch Films
Matt Aselton easily slipped into the director's chair after years as an agency creative at Y&R and the now defunct Union, which he co-founded. He got an early taste of the Super Bowl limelight directing NFL spots like "Tomorrow." Celebrated at this year's Cannes New Directors Showcase, Aselton already sports a pretty polished reel featuring dry humor for Comedy Central, stylish visual storytelling for BrylCreem and Bell as well as creepy comedy, on a new spot featuring a fey Charlie McCarthy doll, for NutriGrain out of Leo Burnett/Toronto.
Harry Cocciolo, tool of north america
Harry Cocciolo has been directing for less than a year, but he's a notable fixture in the business, thanks to his memorable runs as a creative director at Leagas Delaney and Goodby, and most recently, as executive creative director of San Francisco's See. Now that he's turned to directing, in just a few months he's made an upward climb with moving storytelling work for San Francisco Zoo, Blue Cross, EA Sports, Reebok, Sprint and most recently, a three-spot California Lottery campaign.
Brendan Gibbons, Hungry Man
From his creative gig at Ogilvy Brendan Gibbons made the jump to Hungry Man this year, landing with a big bang directing two hilarious rounds of the CNN.com campaign, which shows us the softer, sillier side of the network's talking heads. Recently, he continued the funny business on spots for Comedy Central, but the newcomer actually started to hone his chops years back, when he was both writer and director of the outrageous "Super Power Pytka" mock ad that aired at Joe Pytka's industry roast in 2003.
John Immesoete, Backyard Productions
The original scribe and founder of the long-running classic "Real Men of Genius" Bud Light campaign got a jumpstart into directing spots and branded content work with former colleague Greg Popp (see below) on spots for the brewski muse. Then last December Immesoete made the solo leap to Backyard, where he's gone on to direct more laffers for A-B as well as for MetroPCS. He also serves as one of the partners at Backyard's Seed branded entertainment division.
Randy Krallman, HSI Films
Randy Krallman was recently seen straddling the line between the agency world and directing-the former Lower copywriter recently worked on the teen-teeming Coca-Cola "Stories" campaign. He also wrote, an co-directed the excellent "If MTV Were Campaign," which anthropomorphizes the channel in the unlikely forms of a nail artist, foosball player, and insurance salesman. Now that he's full-time at HSI, he's gone on to direct promos for HBO's Entourage, featuring an alternative cast and crew of B-list celebrities, as well as arresting new spots for Honda, out of Toronto's Grip Limited.
Jeff Labbe , @radical.media (see story, p.44)
Henry Lu, Moxie Pictures
After years of producing some of Wieden & Kennedy's biggest spots for Nike, Henry Lu first turned up behind his own camera directing a fictional Nike spot that ran in the film What Women Want, as well as his own touching shorts Fish and the Sundance-selected Miguel. Now that he's signed to Moxie, he's brought his elegant photographic storytelling to real spots for Nike, Honda, Mastercard and 24 Hour Fitness.
Simon McQuoid, Go Film
Teaming with former TBWA/Chiat/Day partner Richard Overall, Simon McQuoid took the directors' reigns on subtle and artfully directed comedy and storytelling for Samsonite, American Standard and Segway. Now that he's gone solo, McQuoid recently turned up the laughs on refreshing performance-driven PSA chucklers out of Goodby, for Partnership for a Drug Free America.
Greg Popp, Supply & Demand
After maneuvering massive productions for Anheuser-Busch and the Super Bowl for the past two decades, former DDB/Chicago executive producer now commands a different sort of attention behind the camera. Going from budgets massive to miniscule has given him ample lessons in pulling off all sorts of magic behind the camera, which he's already applied on co-directed Bud spots and branded content work, as well as recent solo efforts for Labatt's and Dunkin' Donuts.