6. Errol Morris, Radical Media

By Jh Published on .

Errol Morris is a rarity in the commercials business - a feature filmmaker who has crossed over to spots, not as a sideline but as a discipline. "The fact that these stories are confined to 30 or 60 seconds doesn't stop it from being filmmaking," he told Creativity in November. "It's filmmaking of a different sort, but still very much filmmaking, with its own set of challenges and rewards." Morris rose to prominence as a documentary director more than 10 years ago with features like The Thin Blue Line and A Brief History of Time. He broke into the ad world with Wieden & Kennedy's ongoing campaign for Miller High Life, complete with the director's flair for performance and distinctive sense of composition. If a spot includes a closeup of a twitching finger or someone's ankles, you can bet it's Morris, or someone who knows his work, behind the lens. Morris won an Emmy last year for "Photobooth," a spot from PBS' "Stay Curious" campaign, via Fallon/Minneapolis, and went on to shoot work for Citibank, John Hancock, AIG and a post 9/11 real-people United Airlines campaign that many found emotionally wrenching. "It's certainly challenging," he says of spot work. "Anybody that tells you it's easy to create a good 30-second spot has never really tried to do it." Morris' latest coup is The Movie Movie, a mini-documentary produced for this year's Oscar telecast.
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