Piggin' In

By Tk Published on .

Shortly after winning a Silver Clio in May, in the Best Student Commercial category for a Kirin spec spot called "Pig," Yuki Watanabe joined Hollywood production company David Naylor & Associates. Known professionally simply as Yuki, the 29-year-old is notable not only as one of the few Japanese women to break into the U.S. commercials-directing scene, but she's the latest in a long line of Art Center grads with outstanding spec reels.

The Kirin spot features a little magnetic pig statue with animated eyes, which holds a bottle opener and sings a desultory ditty. When the opener is replaced with a Kirin cap, the pig launches into a tune of pure beer satisfaction. "The pig is actually an antique that used to belong to my grandmother," says Yuki, who went to boarding school in England and speaks excellent English. "People thought it would be too silly," but it turned out to be the star spot of the four on her reel.

Another standout is a Casio G-Shock :30 that show-cases an illuminated watchface as a guy impresses his date by flashing bright pulses of light all the way across the ocean at dusk. Despite her impressive use of low-budget visual effects and sound design, all done on the Mac, Yuki says she was not a big movie freak growing up in Godzilla-crazy Japan, and doesn't discern any Japanese film influence in her style. "My sensibility comes more from reading. I read five books a week in Japanese, things like Mishima and even Shakespeare."

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