Here's our annual assessment of the industry's most prominent production players, along with some of the innovators poised for the new era of advertising. Also, key creatives and production players offer their forecast on the future of commercials production. An asterisk (*) denotes new additions.
Industry production and creative players offer their thoughts on new production models for the next generation of advertising here.
Roster (Commercials) Daniel Askill, Becker.Simson, Vicki Blanche, Guiseppi Capotondi, Richard D'Alessio, Jeff Darling, Brett Froomer, Glue Society, Antony Hoffman, Bruce Hunt, Greg Kohs, Barton Landsman, Loyalkaspar, Dave Meyers, Peter Darley Miller, Steve Miller, Chris Milk, Erik Moe, Gregor Nicholas, Luciano Podcaminsky, Nick Robertson, Ralf Schmerberg, Derin Seale, Brett Simon, Sebastian Strasser, Tarsem, Marcus Tomlinson, Zack & JC*, Andrew Zuckerman, Jeff Zwart Film Joe Berlinger, Jay Chandrasekhar, Derek Cianfrance, Lilibet Foster, F. Gary Gray*, Terry Gilliam, Lasse Hallstrom, Nevldine & Taylor, Bruce Sinofsky, Joe Wright Music Videos Daniel Askill, Dave Dean, Frank E. Flowers, F. Gary Gray*, R. Malcolm Jones, Zack Merk*, Dave Meyers, Chris Milk, Molly & Mariah, Wormseye Principals Jon Kamen, Chairman & CEO; Frank Scherma, President Key Executives Bob Friedman, President of @radical.thinking, Justin Wilkes, Head of Content, EP; Frank Stiefel, VP/EP; Donna Portaro, Tommy Turtle, Maya Brewster, Deborah Sullivan, Gregg Carlesimo, EPs; Chris Kim, Director of Marketing; Michael Ash, Director of Print, Scott Spanjich; EP/Music Content & Videos; Geoff Reinhard, EP/Design France Guy Pechard, Managing Director, EP; Alexis Bensa, EP Germany Christiane Lochte, Managing Director/EP; Kristin Hirt, Co-Managing Director, EP UK Jonathan David, Managing Director/EP, Nikki Fox, EP Italy Elena Galimberti, EP Australia Rob Galluzzo, Managing Director/EP Jennifer Beitler, Head of Production
Ever poised for the future, @radical.media ranks as one of the industry's most integrated and forward-thinking movers. The shop maintains a visionary, generalist focus on being a "content" company, aiming to create compelling stories no matter what the medium or length. Notable steps were made by The Glue Society, who applied their skillfull touches to everything from Canal+'s hilarious "March of the Emperors," and Virgin Mobile, to the BBH and MTV Axe-sponsored "The Gamekillers," which is set to become a series early next year. Other highlights included the award-winning Ikea "Freedom," directed by Sebastian Strasser, the elegant "Swimming Pool" from Daniel Askill and the Tarsem-fronted "Will O The Wisp" for Mercedes. The shop charged ahead in entertainment projects like an AMC pilot "Mad Men," about a '60s Madison Avenue ad agency and on the Emmy-nominated History Channel series, 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America. @radical also asserted its dedication to independent ventures like its successful DriverTV VOD network and solidified its stronghold in longform with the addition of Bob Friedman, the former Time Warner/New Line and Classic Media bigwig who now oversees such efforts out of new division @radical.thinking.
Roster Armando Bo, Jeff Blitz, Mac Carter, Garth Davis, John Dolan, Andrew Douglas, David Fincher, Antoine Fuqua, Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu, Sanaa Hamri, Chris Hopewell, Garth Jennings, Rory Kelleher, David Kellogg, Malcolm Venville, Steven Klein, Joseph Kosinski, Daniel Levi*, Robert Logevall, Christina Loubek, Brett Morgen, Jake Nava*, Alex Proyas, Justin Reardon*, Guy Ritchie, Mark Romanek, Ben Seresin, Patrick Sherman Gorgeous Frank Budgen, Tom Carty, Chris Palmer, Ben Seresin, Vince Squibb, Peter Thwaites Principals Dave Morrison, Andy Traines, Cassie Hulen, Michael Di Girolamo, Jeff Baron, Sue Ellen Clair, Tara Averill
Anonymous Content saw a fruitful year, producing work that was anything but what its shingle signifies. David Fincher peeked out for Motorola's Pebl phone; Chris Palmer drenched CDC with award-winning "Sunshine"; Mark Romanek pulled Kate Moss from her tabloid hijinks onto a spot for Nikon; while Frank Budgen brought fun to the masses in award-winning, gritty launch spots for the Xbox 360, "Jump Rope" and "Water Balloons." On the branded front Antoine Fuqua shot Pirelli's o nline film The Call, starring John Malkovich and Naomi Campbell. Meanwhile, partner Gorgeous swelled with success, seeing an especially prolific, and award-winning output from Palmer, who stunningly recreated the opening sequence of The Simpsons in live action, for SkyTV, and shot the stirring cameraphone PSA for the British Department of Transportation Road Safety. The shop maintained big screen momentum on a number of projects, including the upcoming Babel, which earned Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu best director nod at Cannes Film Festival.
Roster Aaron Stoller, John Immesoete, Rob Sanders, Jesper Ericstam, Rob Pritts, Kevin Smith, Michael Chaves, Don Rase, Steve Burrows, Jeffrey Karoff, Tim Abshire, Chase Strickland, Nick Piper, Jan Wentz, Ericson Core* Principals Roy Skillicorn, Blair Stribley, Partners
For a company that remains as down-to-earth as you'd expect from a name like Backyard, the shop has plowed ahead in asserting its position in the changing media landscape. Spots remained fresh and funny, as on Capital One via Rob Pritts, Metro PCS directed by John Immesoete or BK and Chevy from newcomer Aaron Sto ller. Ericson Core, director of the Mark Wahlberg vehicle Invincible signed on, while the company also beefed up its non-spot p rofile with notable contributions from affiliates Transistor, whose Saiman Chow crafted the morbidly cuddly "Black" panda for a dicolor; and from content division Seed, which backed a blockbuster series of webfilms for Sea-Doo, out of Cramer Krasselt, fea turing Backyard talents Michael Chaves and Jeffrey Karoff.
Roster Wiebke Berndt*, Nick Brandt, Carolyn C hen, Tryan George, Anders Hallberg, Jason Harrington, Jaume, Albert Kodagolian, John Lindauer, Maurice Marable, Joel Pront*, Pu cho, Floria Sigismondi, Melissa Silverman, Zack Snyder, Jim Sonzero, Paul Street, Vogel-Villar Rios, Whitey* (aka Rob McConnaughey) Mister Boomboom Stephane Sednaoui UK Anthea Benton, Howard Greenhalgh, Jorn Haagen*, Brothers Quay Quad USA Bruno Aveillan Principals Luke Thornton, President/EP; Liz Silver, Partner/EP; Gerard Cantor, Betsy Kelley, Mike Brady, EPs; Chris McBride, EP, U.K.
Believe once might have been considered a visually-driven company, but a look at its recent work reveals a surprising variety of storytelling skills. Albert Kodagoli an proved frighteningly funny on Theraflu and directed canine and owner hijinks for the Sci-Fi Channel (produced out of his U.K . shop, RSA). Vogel Villar-Rios took PSP for a player-hopping ride; Maurice Marable, the man behind many an artful HBO opener, shot another remarkable, Emmy-nominated intro, for Big Love; and clips mistress Floria Sigismondi directed a seductive short fo r Hermes and TCM.
Roster Noam Murro, Tim Godsall, Jeffrey Fleisig, Russ Lamoureux, Rick LeMoine, Charli e White, Jim Hosking, Steve Rogers, Mark Gilvert, Yael Staav, The Perlorian Brothers Principals Noam Murro, President;Shawn Lac y Tessaro, Eric Stern, EPs; Colleen O'Donnell, Production Executive; Cathleen O'Conor, Production Manager; Gary Naccarato, Head of Creative Development
Powerhouse Noam Murro produced another slew of intensely watchable moments like Orange's "Blackout," Rexona's ferocious "Fanimals" and "Superwoman" and Travelers' "Boxer," to name just a few. Meanwhile, the rest of the Biscui t bench continues to flourish, most notably Tim Godsall, who shot the most underexposed but perhaps most compelling component of Xbox 360's launch, "Standoff," which saw life on the web, as well as spots for Fallon's online series featuring the new B rawny Man. Steve Rogers was a standout player as well, directing spots for Reebok, Fox Sports and McDonalds. The roster expa nded with the addition of fine artist Charlie White, formerly at Furlined, Jim Hosking and Rick LeMoine.
Roster Blue Source, Peter Care, Jonathan Dayton/Valerie Faris, Kevin Fitzgerald*, Kim Geldenhuys, Davis Guggenheim *, Phil Harder, Chris Hooper, Mark Kohr, Bob Odenkirk. Lisa Rubisch, Jason Smith, Spencer Susser, Syd & Eric, Alan White Pri ncipals Chuck Ryant, John O'Grady, T.K. Knowles, Managing Partners/EPs
When they weren't spotted tugging at hearts all over the globe with their Sundance Film Festival hit Little Miss Sunshine, Dayton/Faris remained as clever as ever in commercials, on their fine handiwork for HP's new campaign, featuring headless shots of big name celebs describing the innards of their computers. Peter Care went around the world for an international McDonald's spot, and the shop also boosted its Roster with Kevin Fitzgerald and Davis Guggenheim, another Sundance superstar and director of the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
Roster Nicholas Barker, Evan Bernard, Breck Eisner, Larry Frey*, David Gordon Green, Haxan, Johan Kramer, Kevin Macdonald, Charles Mehling, Chrstopher Quinn, Paul Weiland, Chris Wilcha, Ben Younger [email protected] Richard Gibson, James Holt, Michael Joy, Damien Toogood Principals Allison Amon, Lisa Mehling, Steve Wax, Partners; Sam Penfield, Katy Green, EPs; John LaChapelle, Head of Production* Sales Kari Romeo, National Rep; Jared Shapiro, East Coast; Jim Robison, Midwest; Mark Andrews, Astrid Steel, West Coast Reps
While Chelsea's spinofff Campfire has rocketed into all sorts of immersive projects (see p. 52), the shop remains a seasoned spots player. Indie maven David Gordon Green payed homage to the everyman "Fred," in a spot for Miller, out of CP&B, while Nicholas Barker teamed with the agency and took a bite out of the BK burger, on "Calendar" and "Grooming Device." Newcomers to the Roster include creative-turned director Larry Frey, who shot a 20-spot "Show us your character campaign" for USA Networks. Chelsea also added a pair of documentary heavyweights-Christopher Quinn, the director behind the documentary Audience and Grand Prize Jury Award-winning God Grew Tired of Us and Chris Wilcha, Slamdance winner for The Target Shoots First; as well as industry vet Paul Weiland. It also entered a new partnership with Aussie shop Luscious International.
Roster Lionel Goldstein, Steve Ayson, Toon Aerts, Rogier Van Der Ploeg, Koen Mortier, Jeroen Annokkee, Sonny & Bonny, Mark Tiedemann, Lieven Van Baelen, Dimitri Karakatsanis, Mattias Schut, Bart Timmer, Norbert Heitker, Lars Damoiseaux, Brecht Vanhoenacker, Joe Vanhoutteghem, Honest, Pes Principals Steve Shore, N.Y. EP; Megan Kelley, Head of Production; Rogier Van der Ploeg, President/Director
Count on the Czar family of players to provide quirky, head-turning points of view. Bacardi got a stop motion makeover from PES, while Honest brought mixed media talent to Nike and the viral campaign "ESPN Billy." Internationally, Czar produced more doc-inspired madness, including Lionel Goldstein's shower pits for Axe and the lawnmower that wouldn't die via Mattias Schut for Viking. Steve Ayson, through the shop's Sweet Shop tie in, also masterminded the delightful insanity of "Happy Morning" for Folgers, out of Saatchi, N.Y.
Roster Matt Aselton. Matt Badger. Rey Carlson, Paula Greif, Enda McCallion, Phil Morrison, Jeff Preiss, Matt Smukler, Stacy Wall Principals Jeff Preiss, Partner/ Director; Mindy Goldberg, Jerry Solomon, Partners/EPs
Epoch gets triple stars for its proven dedication to career building and consistent creative excellence. Notably, the year saw the rise of former creative Matt Aselton, who found a comfortable comedic home on spots for Starburst and TLC. The company also has paved notable ground in the film world. Its newly minted features division produced the critically acclaimed Junebug, directed by Epoch's Phil Morrison. The film earned the Jury Prize at Sundance and led to notable spots work for Morrison, including the jarring "Safety Happens" VW campaign, out of Crispin and continuing Apple spots out of TBWA/Chiat/Day, featuring "Mac" and "PC," personified as an unfazeable hipster and his more stodgy counterpart. Stacy Wall continued to do comedy and big beautiful work for the U.K., like "The LeBrons" for Lipton, the drippingly sexy Levi's "Ice Cream Man" and the grimy tour de force for Pot Noodle, out of Mother, London; while co-founder director Jeff Preiss made a new stamp onto VISA on the "Life Takes" campaign, out of TBWA.
Roster Brian Aldrich, Douglas Avery*, Lynn Fox, Pekka Hara, Zach Math, Mark Molloy, Stuart Parr, Pleix, Speck/Gordon, Ruairi Robinson, Dougal Wilson, Vaughan Arnell*, Ted Pauly*, Family*, Jess Hall*, Ramon Bloomberg Colonel Blimp Douglas Avery, Vaughan Arnell, Ramon Bloomberg, Ben Ib, Lynn Fox, Pleix, Simon Willows, Dougal Wilson BlinkInk Ark, Pleix, Ben Hibon, Lynn Fox, Dougal Wilson, Ruairi Robinson, Simon Willows, Ben Ib, Kalie Haglund Principals Diane McArter, Partner/Managing Director; James Studholme, Partner; David Thorne, EP (Furlined); Jeremy Smith, Ed Sayers, EPs (Blink); Bart Yates, EP (BlinkInk)
Diane McCarter and company have re-emerged anew with the Furlined and Blink/Colonel Blimp partnership. The reel demonstrated mean comedic chops, thanks to continuing laffers from Speck/Gordon, who shot a new round of the Geico caveman story, along with spots for Staples and Mastercard. Brian Aldrich continued a branding campaign for K-Mart and Grey; Pleix brought their fancy filmwork to Infiniti and Douglas Avery, who recently joined, shot spots for Armor All, Nokia and Panasonic. Although the company parted ways with fine artist Charlie White, it supported arguably the most luscious and strange member of the adicolor rainbow, "Pink." Blink/Colonel Blimp talents started their own fires: Dougal Wilson proved remarkable on Orange, Becks and Vodafone and Lynn Fox conceived Audi's creepy crawly "Spider" out of BBH/London. Furlined also expanded with the addition of former Tate and MTV director Ted Pauly, Vaughan Arnell, Jess Hall, and Ramon Bloomberg.
Roster Jonathan David*, David Dobkin, Christopher Guest, Tim Hamilton, Andrews Jenkins*, Simon McQuoid, Tom Schiller, Michael Shapiro, Neil Tardio Jr., Who? Principals Robert Wherry, Jonathan Weinstein, Gary Rose, EPs/Partners
Go boasts a reel of fine visual and comedic proportions, loaded with laughs and moving storytelling. Directing team Who? proved versatile, on visually-driven work for John Hancock and Ricoh, as well as hilarious crow pranks for Windex. Simon McQuoid rolled out more impressive laughs on Sony, and ESPN, featuring a lineup of Disney dwarf B-ballers, while Tim Hamilton took Verizon into refreshingly dark territory. Master of comedic timing Neil Tardio Jr. steered a foot-in-mouth moment for Keystone light, while Tom Schiller turned faces into putty to illustrate the speedy services of H&R Block.
Roster BigTV, Michael Downing, Anabel Jankel, Paul Laufer, Peter Martin*, Baker Smith Principals Bonnie Goldfarb, co-founder/EP; Baker Smith, co-founder/director; Scott Howard, EP; Karen Dade, head of production
When he wasn't throwing down the tunes at Harvest's new online radio venture, HarvestRadio.com, co-founder/directed Baker Smith stepped out of his booth to conduct Mother/N.Y.'s Million Mime March for Virgin Mobile, superstars for XM, more invincible Toyota stunts and speed demon fans for Fox Sports. Michael Downing exuberantly filled out his reel shooting the life-slackers' "Bad Habits" for HBO, a quietly annoying cable guy for DirectTV and gorgeous productions for Southwest Airlines, out of GSD&M; while Anabel Jankel shot a shocking viral for GoFast. Harvest also made its mark outside of commercial work with an online interactive city guide via Paul Laufer, for Toyota.
Roster HKM Michael Karbelnikoff, JacobsBriere, Michael Patrick Jann, Nelson Cabrera, Timothy Kendall, Barbara McDonough, Cheryl Dunn, Graham Henman, Joey Garfield, Shafei/Levitz, Siraj Jhaveri*, Matt Ogens*, Walter Kehr Rockfight Daniel Barber, Pep Bosch, Ben and Joe Dempsey, Rafael Fernandez, Rafael Fernandez, David Horowitz, Joe Roman, Joe Cole Principals Carl Swan, Ned Brown, Melissa Culligan, EPs; Elizabeth Minzes, Head of Production
The multi-faceted lineup of HKM and Rockfight traversed a diverse spots landscape this year. David Horowitz continued his comedic streak on a span of hilarious work, including New York Lottery, Old Navy and Culligan Water, while Rafael Fernandez showed the endurance of Wrigleys at the Opera. Meanwhile HKM players like JacobsBriere shot tongue acrobatics for Tic Tac and the Pirates of the Caribbean for Visa. Michael Patrick Jann, still garnering laughs for his Reno 911 antics, took comedic lo-fi to new heights for Bell South, on "The Hardways." Other highlights include Nelson Cabrera, who shot big film for Mercedes and pause-worthy performance for Washington Anti-Smoking. The shops also allied with StreetGang Films, a clips shop headed by EP Jason Botkin, representing video directors Paul Minor, Charles Mehling, Shilo and Shawn Kim.
Roster Arni & Kinski, Samuel Bayer, Peter Berg, Irv Blitz, Barney Clay, Gerard de Thame, Justin Francis, Alan Friel, Simon Green, Robert Hales, Paul Hunter, Jake & Jim, Graeme Joyce, Jaci Judelson, Joseph Kahn, David LaChapelle, Brian Lazarro, Julien Christian Lutz aka X, Max Malkin, Matt McDermitt, Paul Middleditch, Dito Montiel, Thomas Napper, Estevan Oriol, Joe Public, Brett Ratner, Nicholas Reynolds, Chris Robinson, Saline Project, Peggy Sirota, Josh Taft, Matthew Vaughn, Max Vitali, Len Wiseman HSI Animation Erica Akerlund, David Blanco, Container, Simon Henwood, Kidda, Precursor, Simon Stephenson Person Films Michael Haussman Principals Stavros Merjos, owner/president; Kerstin Emhoff, VP commercials/Sr. EP; Maddi Carlton, EP/head of production; Annique DeCaestecker and Ellen Jacobson, EPs; Nicola Doring, managing director, HSI London; Michael McQuhae, head of production; Rebecca Skinner, VP music videos/EP; Coleen Hayes, EP/music videos; Mari Geraci, head of production, music videos Sales Barrie Isaacson, Mary Kate Hatfield, Michelle Ross, Jamie Kohn (music videos)
HSI talents spread some diverse wings this year. The versatile Paul Hunter continued to impact pop culture directing the spot in clip's clothing for Nike "Be" starring Common as well as to Pepsi's crazy chicken Kung-fu showdown. Other shining moments on the reel arrived via Julien Christian Lutz, better known a "X," who translated his clips skills to a ridiculously funny viral for Smirnoff's Raw Tea, featuring preppies-turned-rap stars; from noted cinematographer Max Malkin, who moved into the director's chair on Nike's "Chalk" and from Arni&Kinski, who turned their artful eyes to a multi-spot campaign for Hummer. Content-wise, Josh Taft shot a pair of 30-minute episodes for the adidas-sponsored MLS Pictures, and Sam Bayer, after his brief stint at RSA returned to his former home , leaping onto a new VW campaign for CPB and spots for Nike and Pepsi. On the awards front, Paul Middleditch stormed the shows with his Gold-winning "Big Ad" for Carlton draught, moving onto Stateside funny business for Burger King.
Roster Allen Coulter, Amy Nicholson*, Bennett Miller, Brendan Gibbons, Bryan Buckley Dave Gray, David Levin, David Shane, Hank Perlman, Hideyuki Tanaka*, Jim Jenkins, Marcos Siega, Owen Harris, Paul Gay, Peter Lydon, Robert Jitzmark, Samuel Christopher*, Scott Vincent, Tony Barry*, Vance Malone* Principals Stephen Orent, Bryan Buckley, Hank Perlman, Partners/Owners; Lauri Aloi, Head of Sales; Caroline Gibney, Head of Production; Tom Rossano, Kevin Byrne, Ralpha Laucella, N.Y. EPs; Stacie Gillman, Mary French, East Coast Sales; Dan Duffy, L.A. EP; Jeanie Dimaggio, West Coast Sales; Matt Buels, Hungry Man U.K. Managing Director; Tim Nunn, U.K. EP; Sally Newsom*, U.K. Sales; Alex Mehedff, Rio Managing Director
Hungry Man, while it's still perhaps the best bet for laughs in this business, also broke out as a major branded content contender, having flexed serious creative skills in longform branding, most evident in its mighty Mini efforts like "Counterfeit," which this year continued to prance proudly through the awards circuit. All the same, the company didn't let up when it comes to spots storytelling. Bryan Buckley was again a prominent Super Bowl player on BK and Career-builder.com and fellow partner Hank Perlman turned it on for PS2. David Shane brought his trademark natural performances to Opel, Comcast and Olympus while Jim Jenkins reared his talented head on Embassy Suites, NPR and Sony Ericsson. Hungry Man also broadened its reach, skillfully and globally, with the addition of doc director Vance Malone and Tokyo's Hideyuki Tanaka. Meanwhile, the shop has become home to serious features talents, namely, Bennett Miller, who was nominated for a best director Oscar this year, Marcos Siega, who just completed his third feature, Chaos Theory, and Allen Coulter, who made his silver screen debut on Hollywoodland.
Roster Rocky Morton, Elma Garcia, Sean Thonson, Dante Ariola, Tom Kuntz, Spike Jonze, Matthijs Van Heijningen, Rupert Sanders, Clay Williams, Nicolai Fuglsig, Victor Garcia, Fredrik Bond, Craig Gillespie, Phil Joanou, Steven Diller, Ray Dillman, Marcus Nispel Principals David Zander, President; Jeff Scruton, Senior EP; Lisa Rich, EP Sales Steven Monkarsh, Tim Merjos, Gay Guthrey
It's almost unfair how unstoppable MJZ's army of creative and production talent has become. The company snatched its second Palm D'or at Cannes this year and turned out an unmatchably stellar reel that housed a generous helping of the year's best work, like Nicolai Fuglsig's hypnotic, award-winning "Balls" for Sony and Tom Kuntz' stellar Skittles turns (including a pair of our personal faves, "Beard," and "Trade," starring the adorably heart-warming operatic bunny). Fredrik Bond also shot an interactive love story for Smirnoff, while Dante Ariola created lovely new worlds for Dewars and Coca-Cola. Craig Gillespie continued his comedic run on Ameriquest, earning another Emmy-nomination and a nod from the DGA, who also recognized his fellow MJZ directors Rocky Morton, Spike Jonze and Rupert Sanders with nominations.
Roster Wes Anderson, Errol Morris, Frank Todaro, Martin Granger, Jared Hess, Lenard Dorfman*, Pam Thomas, Henry Lu, Jim Sheridan, Cameron Crowe, Rob Marshall, Dan Levinson, Peyton Reed, Kevin Smith, Andrew Christou, James Griffiths, Neil Gorringe*, John Waters, Bob Purman, Spencer Chinoy, Todd Phillips, Paltrow/Wigmore* Principals Robert Fernandez, Partner/President; Dan Levinson, Partner/Director Office Heads Lizzie Schwartz, EP/L.A.; Dawn Laren, Managing Director/London
Man Mom was the wig-wearing icing on Moxie's cake this year. The Silver-Lion-winning campaign, directed by unstoppable funnyman Martin Granger, was just one bit of excellence on the company's reel, joined by other feats like Wes Anderson's envy-inducing outing for Amex, Frank Todaro's alien adventure for Milk out of Goodby and Errol Morris' spots forAOL, Nike and Reebok. Meanwhile, Moxie tapped into some smart branded content collaborations, bringing its directorial and production brains to the successful Glamour Reel Moments film series. The first successful run introduced new directors like Trudie Styler and the team of Gwyneth Paltrow and Mary Wigmore, the latter who subsequently signed to the company. Moxie also launches its sophomore Glamour effort this fall, featuring a new lineup of female directing talent, including actresses Jennifer Aniston and Bryce Howard, aka daughter of Ron.
Roster Steven Tsuchida, Doug Aitken, Doug Pray, Tomorrow's Brightest Minds, Dom & Nic, Pedro Romhanyi, Rob Schrab, Liam Lynch, Rainbows & Vampires, Sophie Muller, Jamie Thraves Principals: Billy Poveda, Owner/EP; Jay Wakefield, Head of Production
The Oil Factory remains a notable player, thanks to consistently fresh efforts from its sleek lineup. Steven Tsuchida maintained his comedic stride on Stateside spots for Verizon and Staples as well as Pimms, for Mother/London and Skittles, out of TBWA/London. Meanwhile, the ever-observant Doug Pray shot campaigns for AT&T and American Family while continuing longform documentary efforts on a film about surfing icon Doc Paskowitz (in conjunction with Mekanism and OP) and another on long haul truckers, "Big Rig." Also, keep close watch on multimedia maestros Tomorrow's Brightest Minds, the young team behind the inspiring "Casey at Bat" for Johnnie Walker and BBH, the VH1 faux documentary promoting the new Dave Stewart band Platinum Weird and a hilarious viral effort for Slim Jim, out of Crispin.
Roster Lance Acord, Ringan Ledwidge, Joachim Back, Alison Maclean, Jake Schreier*, Carter Smith, Rad-ish, Neil Abramson, Gregory Maya*, Joaquin Baca-Asay* Principals: Jacqueline Kelman Bisbee, EP/Owner; Lance Acord, Director/Owner; Dinah Rodriguez, Head of Production; Justin Pollock, Producer; Lei Levi, Associate Producer
Lance Acord was busy as ever in features as DP on Sophia Coppola's upcoming Marie Antoinette and Spike Jonze's translation of Maurice Sendaks' children's tale, Where the Wild Things Are, but also stepped out to direct an around the world Microsoft campaign, and spots for Cingular and A.G. Meanwhile, Joachim Back, who gathered more accolades for his hilarious Viagra work, built up his comedic repertoire on new work for Captain Morgan, Broan, and Charal (produced out of Gang). Alison Maclean applied expert touches to Cingular and Women's Health, while the shop bulked up its roster with the addition of former Plum hotshot Jake Schreier, Gregory Maya, and another A-list DP, Joaquin Baca-Asay, who made his directorial debut on a pair of Nikes, "Defy" and "Endure"
Roster (Commercials) Alex & Martin, Leslie Ali, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Agust Baldursson*, Chris Cairns, Lisa Cholodenko*, The Elvis*, David Gaddie, Paul Goldman, Michel Gondry, Olivier Gondry, Thomas Hilland, Illegal Artists, Matthias Hoene, Eric Lynne. Dominic Murphy, Doug Nichol, Nagi Noda*, Ace Norton*, Ramon & Pedro, Jean Claude Thibaut, Traktor Partizan Labs Geoffroy De Crecy, Loic & Aurelien, Michael Gracey, Numero 6, Valerie Pirson Music Videos Alex & Martin, Philip Andelman+, Associates in Science, Brand New School, Casseus, Danny Clinch, Dayo*, Michel Gondry, Olivier Gondry, Gil Green*, Andrew Gura, Honey, Illegal Artists, Doug Nichol, Nagi Noda, Ace Norton, Mike Piscitelli, Ramon & Pedro, Niki Roberton, Cat Solen*, Traktor Principals Georges Bermann, President; Sheila Stepanek, CEO/EP
Slicing through the mediocre chaff has been the enduring foundation of the Partizan brand. The company continued to do so this year, thanks to creative mainstays like Traktor, who shot the Emmy-winning "Stick" for Fedex, the oddly sensual Asian "Tuperzik" fun-fest for 3Mobile, and actioners for Mountain Dew. Antoine Bardou-Jacquet also led a generous round of thrills like Honda's "Choir" and Peugeot's "End of Game," featuring the alternate universe of video games. Michel Gondry concentrated his efforts on clips and film, with videos for The White Stripes and Kanye West, Dave Chapelle's Block Party documentary and his upcoming Science of Sleep, while brother Olivier directed videos for Tiga and The Vines along with Fallon's Go-Go's viral, for Nordstrom. Meanwhile, the shop also introduced some exciting new faces in fresh filmmaking like Nagi Noda, the Saatchi new showcaser behind the compellingly strange Yuki video that inspired a commercials spinoff from Mother/London, for Coca-Cola. Further fueling its creative fires, the shop opened Partizan Labs, host to a new generation of visionary talents.
Roster Acne, Jonas Akerlund, Neill Blomkamp, Joe Carnahan, Patrick Daughters, tom Dey, Adam Goldstein, Hugh Johnson, The Malloys, Sean Mullens, John O'Hagan, Johan Renck, Carl Erik Rinsch, John Schwartzman, Jake Scott, Jordan Scott, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, David Slade UK Laurence Dunmore, Sean Ellis, Brett Foraker, Johnny Hardstaff, Chris Hartwill, Wayne Holloway, Huse, Albert Kodagolian ([email protected]), Nick Livesey, Adrian Moat, Mark Nunneley, Stuart Rideout, Alex Rutterford, Luke Scott, Shynola, Adam Smith, Alex Smith, Ballie Walsh, Vernie Yeung Little Minx Laurent Briet, H5, Mat Kirkby, Josh Miller, Chris Nelson, Mehdi Norowzian, Fatima Robinson, Mark Seliger, Malik Hassan Sayyeed, Dawn Shadforth, Dana Adam Shapiro La Division Angel, Simon Bross, Doble Nelson, Felix Fernandez de Castro, Magaby Garcia, Arturo Pereyra, Edmundo Roman, Karina Taira, Nacho Vigalondo, Augusto Zapiola Special Project Andrew Dominik, Duplass Brothers, Kaz I. Kiriya, Sam Mendes, The Polish Brothers, Kevin Spacey Principals Jules Daly, President/Managing Director; Marjie Abrahams, VP/EP; Fran McGivern, Tracie Norfleet, EPs; Philip Fox Mills, N.Y. EP; Kai-Lu Hsuing, Managing Director, London; Rhea Scott, President, Little Minx; Ed Rivero, Founder/EP, La Division at RSA
Although it's the oldest company on our list, RSA's certainly no fogie and remains one of the industry's most competitive players. Scott scion Jake was busy as ever on spots for VW, Nike, ESPN and adidas, while Jonas Akerlund brought his quirky humor and stylings to Crispin's VW GTI spots, and Chris Nelson continued the de-sissifying antics of Milwaukee's Best Light. Roster newcomer Neill Blomkamp stands out as one of the industry's most exciting rising stars. After shooting adicolor's sci-fi adventure "Yellow" and Gatorade's "Rain" the young director and effects maven signed on to direct the much anticipated film adaptation of Halo. Outside of spots, director Johan Renck returned to muse Madonna on "Hung Up," while Carl Erik Rinsch shot a series of brand films for the Sci Fi network. Other upcoming content projects include a pair of films for Rolex for JWT/France, to be directed by Joe Carnahan and Michael Mann.
Roster John Curran, Jeff Gorman, Stephen Kessler, Rawson Thurber, Roenberg, Simon Blake, Dave Merhar, N. Thomas Sigel, Ruben Fleischer, Nic and Sune Principals Bill Sandwick, President; Fern Martin, Head of Production; Grayson Bithell and Lilly LaBonge, EPS
A newcomer to our list, two-year-old Sandwick Films made out like a serious entertainer, thanks to laugh-out-loud spots from veteran Jeff Gorman who shot the world's weakest men for Stanley Tools, out of Mullen, Leonard Nimoy's Super Bowl appearance for Aleve, as well as spots for Burger King. Stepping outside spots, newcomer Ruben Fleischer shot 18 webisodes for Cisco, as well as the Sandwick-produced short for Comedy Central "Phone Tag," starring comedian Nick Thune. Rawson Thurber, fresh off the Dodgeball court, continued his big screen run starting production on The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, starring Sienna Miller and Peter Sarsgaard. Sandwick also bolstered its lineup with the addition of Nic and Sune, the directors behind the hilarious Mayday mishap spot for Berlitz, and Roenburg, director of the upcoming Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek film, Banditas.
Roster Brian Beletic, James Brown, Adam Berg, David Frankham, Filip Engstrom, Nacho Gayan, Happy, Neil Harris, Randy Krallman*, Martin Krejci, Renny Maslow, Ben Mor, Ne-O, Henry-Alex Rubin, Chris Smith, Snorri Brothers, Stylewar, Ivan Zacharias Principals Patrick Milling Smith, Executive Producer/Founder; Brian Carmody, Executive Producer/Founder; Allison Kunzman, Head of Production; Laura Thoel, Head of Production; Jeff Miller, Staff Producer; Gisela Knijnenburg, Head of Sales
Smuggler continued to turn heads with its innovative plays this year, including groundbreaking work like Marc Ecko's industry-inspiring "Still Free" viral out of Droga5. The effort received generous adornment at Cannes, including a Cyber Grand Prix, and was shot by new addition Randy Krallman, who went on to bring twisted charm to ESPN and NoSpot, for yours truly. Meanwhile, Happy made major strides on dazzling moments like adidas' "Green," Sprite's DVR-ready pastiche of weirdness, not to mention what we believed to be one of this year's most under-appreciated comedic gems, for Tampax and Leo Burnett. Brian Beletic continued an awe-inspiring sports run, with his moving scenes of next-generation MJ's for brand Jordan; David Frankham campaigned to save the trees for Virgin Mobile and let out a "War Cry" for Nike, while Ben Mor made a significant career leap on Tanqueray. Stink player Ivan Zacharias, who earned industry nods for Honda's "Impossible Dream," showed up Stateside to shoot tennis babe Maria Sharapova for Nike. Outside of adicolor and Ecko, other notable content moves include the Henry-Alex Rubin-directed ABC TV show for Office Max out of DDB/Chicago, and online campaigns for Verizon and Schick.
Principals Kevin Thomas, co-founder/director; Philippa Thomas, co-founder/EP; Jenny Gadd, N.Y. EP Roster Kevin Thomas, Jim Gilchrist
Director Kevin Thomas brushed delightful comedic strokes onto Stateside work for Oxygen, out of fledgling shop Toy and formulated comedy for TBS out of Mother/N.Y. On the international front, he shot silly soccer situations for Opel and imparted Tarantino-esque and big film flair on a campaign for Nike/Asia. Out of the U.K. Jim Gilchrist broke out with an outrageous Sony "Balls" parody for Tango, while the shop fortified its U.S. headquarters with the addition of Jenny Gadd as EP.
Roster Sam Cadman, Harry Cocciolo, Erich Joiner, Sam Jones, Sean Ehirnger, Robert Richardson, Tom Routson, Geordie Stevens* Principals Erich Joiner, Owner; Jennifer Siegel, Brian Latt, EPs; Amy DeLosa, Head of Production; Meredith Bergman Apicella, Head of Sales
Despite the end of its creatively fruitful partnership with France-based Paranoid Productions, which became independent this year in the States, Tool produced a solid, comedy-fat reel. On Sprint, "The Man" sticks it to himself and penny pinchers got to see the light for Dominoes, via Sam Cadman. Tom Routson showed diverse comedic chops, directing career-changing Pillagers of Capital One and shooting the rookie "Machine" for Diet Pepsi. Erich Joiner, who explored emotional moments for Ford and tapped his funny to bring sports legends out of their slumber, for DHL and MLB.com; and former creative Harry Cocciolo got comfortable behind the camera showing his variety of comedic chops on CA lottery, Mastercard, Acura and Sprint Nextel. Meanwhile, Sean Ehringer took a trailer-inspired turn for Colonial Williamsburg and shot the seedy side of college munchies for Kraft, while Sam Jones showed off some beautiful pit-work for Dove and Secret.
House of Usher
Principals Kinka Usher, Director; Nancy Hacohen, EP
The House of Usher stands strong, thanks to Kinka Usher's power moves on a viral for adidas basketball, bad behavior for Tag body spray and several helpings of BK, including a pair of King Kong-sized tie-ins.
Principals Daniel Kleinman, Director
Kleinman ended his single status earlier this year, joining forces with Ringan Ledwidge (repped out of Park in the U.S.) to form Rattling Stick, also now the U.K. home to Lenny Dorfman and Tom Vaughn. But his final solo year proved one of his best yet, thanks to Levi's charmer, "Loyal," and FX-intensive outings like adidas' "Impossible Field," and the awards gobbling Guinness "noitulovE."
Principals Joe Pytka, Director; Tara Fitzpatrick, EP
Joe Pytka received his umpteenth Emmy nomination this year for A-B's "American Dream," starring the little Clydesdale that could. Other highlights include his speedy round-the-world performance shooting Chevron's "Will You Join Us" campaign, quiet visuals for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, and some quirky conversations with a fiberglass Ronald, for McDonalds. Pytka also teamed with former Headquarters honcho Tom Mooney to launch Mothership, to help produce work of creatives aspiring to step behind the camera.
Smith & Jones
Principals Ulf Johansson, Director; Philippa Smith, EP
Ulf Johansson stayed in fine funny shape this year, most notably on the hilariously inspiring "Joga Bonita" online campaign starring soccer legends like Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho Gaucho and the ambitious, ever-changing and "always new" launch for Ebay Express, out of BBDO/N.Y.
Are they production companies, or something else? Yes! While their origins are quite diverse, they all represent new movements in commercials production, filmmaking, interactive and experiential marketing. They're home to a host of expansive thinkers and experimental talents, many who subscribe to user-centric approaches.
Alternate reality game pioneer 42 Entertainment, founded by Jordan Weisman and Sean Stewart showed some broad skills creating "The Beast," to hype Steven Spielberg's film A.I. and the much-buzzed about Halo2 "I Love Bees" ARG. More recently, the company brought its transmedia prowess to efforts like Cathy's Book, which combined a novel, internet and cellphone tech and involved a partnership with Cover Girl; the Pirates of Caribbean game on Windows Live Messenger and the "Hex 168" game to promote the Xbox360.
The Barbarian Group
It's always been hard to define the Barbarian Group because their ideas transgress all kinds of boundaries. Armed with the skills of interactive brainiacs, directing talents, tech mavens and the kind of free-thinking creatives any agency or production company would die to have, they've helped to launch a new revolution in advertising with interactive-and-then-some moves like Subservient Chicken, the Comcastic puppet, Method's Cyber Grand-Prix winning confessional and Milwaukee's best light. And that's just the stuff they can actually talk about.
Chelsea honcho Steve Wax and directing collective The Haxans knew this venture would have spark, considering the success they had on alternate reality gaming ventures like the groundbreaking "Beta7" for Sega and W+K/N.Y. Campfire continues to indulge in such multi-platform and event-surfing antics that involve users as part of the marketing story, most recently on Audi's multi-faceted "Art of the Heist" campaign.
Kirt Gunn and Associates
A frequent partner to @radical.media, Kirt Gunn has fronted, and back-ended the innovative web experiences on multi-platform campaigns like Mercury's "Meet the Lucky Ones" , doing everything form full-up films to even video games, last fall collaborating with EuroRSCG3d and Volvo to create the video game Drive for Life for Microsoft Xbox.
Born of a post-house, a production company and some future-focused talents, Mekanism models itself for the new era, with skills in straight-up film, interactive, post, creative, even the backend stats tracking that clients demand from their non-broadast efforts-all in a budget-conscious package. The company reached impressive milestones on last year's Gold Cyber Lion-winning Monkeyball viral series, for Sega, for which it recently produced more online laffers. Also in the shop's mix are standout spots like the lo-fi Pac Man theater commercial for Game Tap, as well as an upcoming branded film for OP.
Motion Theory started out as a design-driven shop but its talents have also become known as live action pros, showcasing command both on set and at the computer. The company made its first significant mark on much-imitated spots for Nike Asia that merged design and live action, and more recently has made waves directing super fresh clips like Beck's "Girl" and spots for Goodby's recent HP branding campaign, which combines their dazzling design work with live action of multi-talented superstars like Pharrel and Mark Cuban.
Psyop started as a team of rendegade MTV design obsessives but has become another top player in prime position to address advertising's increasing demand for breakout ideas and imaginative storytelling. Known for its elegant and well-thought out visuals, the company demonstrated Pixar-competitive chops on the magnificent, character-filled world it created for Coke's feel good "Happiness Factory," out of WK/London. Meanwhile, it has added breadth and depth to its offerings with the addition of MassMarket, a design-oriented effects shop fronted by former Method man Chris Staves, and Blacklist, home to a fresh new class of international, media-agnostic talents.