Sometimes you just know. For Brazilians Manitou Felipe and Bernardo Dutra all it took was a phone call. After meeting three years ago at a Rio-based agency where they both had directed odd jobs, they made a choice to enliven both their careers, and over a two-hour phone conversation in 2004, 300 ml was born.
"We decided to sit together and create this brand, with a strategy," recalls Felipe. "The lack of opportunities made us believe in something bigger. We started out with just an idea, and nothing else in the beginning—no money, no contacts, no reel and no production company. It was a great challenge to begin from zero, it means a lot to us. But we still have a long, long way to go."
Obviously the ambition remains, but in three short years 300 ml have built an impressive body of work. In 2006, their spot "Hands" for Fiat Brazil and Leo Burnett landed the film Grand Prix at the Rio International Advertising Festival. This year, in addition to being featured in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase in Cannes, their Discovery Channel spot "In a Man's Life" won a bronze lion.
As for a working relationship, the two, both in their 30s, say there isn't a specific task one does that the other doesn't, adding that one of their primary strengths is that each adds his own talents to every directorial task. "At the end of the day, the client gets two complete directors for the price of one," says Dutra.