Steph Green

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"I just kept making work," says Steph Green of her career so far. "That's the advice I'd give to any young director. It doesn't matter if you're an assistant 12 hours a day, the other hour you have of consciousness, you need to be directing something." And, at 27, Green has already covered a lot of ground with that extra hour, not just professionally—but geographically.

After graduating from Northwestern University in Illinois, where she made her first student films, the San Francisco-native followed her Irish heritage to Dublin, where she attended school and continued to make short films, just as she had back in Evanston. She also directed a poignant and emotional spec campaign about youth homelessness for The Simon Communities in Ireland, in which pairs of children meet on the street and play with each other. They seem like matches—like perfect best friends—until we realize that one kid is going home, while the other has no home to go to. The campaign was shortlisted for the Commercial Film Producers-Europe Young Director Award in 2004—and then Green was off to L.A., where she landed a coveted job as Spike Jonze's assistant. During her two years there, Jonze primarily worked on short-form projects, including the Adidas commercial "Hello Tomorrow" out of TBWA/Chiat/Day and The Gap ad "Pardon Our Dust" via Crispin Porter + Bogusky. This, Green says, helped her gain the experience to forge out on her own, armed with spec spots for Levi's and Ikea that she'd shot in her spare time.

Jones's MJZ stable-mate Fredrik Bond recommended her to do a re-shoot he couldn't attend for the Hummer ad "Submarine," via Modernista!, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners tapped the young director to shoot its pro-bono "Volunteering is Sexy" campaign for San Francisco Connect, the city's effort to mobilize volunteer resources in the Bay Area. Meanwhile, Green kept things going in Ireland.

After reading the Roddy Doyle short story "New Boy" in McSweeeney's—McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers and Green's boss, Jonze, were already collaborating on their forthcoming adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are—she persuaded the celebrated Irish author to let her make the story into a movie. The resulting short—a naturalistic narrative in which an African boy attends a new school in Ireland—won the Audience Award for Best International Short at the Cork Film Festival in October.

Currently, Green—who has been with Little Minx@RSA for the last year—splits her time between Dublin and L.A., and has music video assignments lined up in both. "Things are kind of rolling in both places," she says. "Which is nice."

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