Sharon Horgan's Merman Enters Branded Entertainment, Stink Promotes Britton as Pytlik Departs
Production company Merman, co-founded by Sharon Horgan, the co-creator and star of comedy series "Catastrophe," and Sarah Jessica Parker's "Divorce" on HBO, and her producer partner Clelia Mountford, has opened a branded entertainment division. Merman has also opened offices in Los Angeles, London and New York. The division is led by Kira Carstensen, U.S,-based global managing partner and former Pulse executive, along with production and advertising veteran Jeremy Rainbird. The new unit will work with Merman's narrative film and television division, which is run by Mountford. The company's directing talent includes Lucy Walker, Mariana Youssef, MJ Delaney and Peter Lydon.
In the U.K., Merman is led by Executive Producer and Partner Dan Dickenson, formerly of Partizan, and Business Development Director Siobhan Murphy, who moved over from Moxie.
Horgan said in a statement: "It's not a romantic thing, like I watched 'Mad Men' and thought I wanted to be them. It's more about the people I've met in advertising, the directors and creatives, and the work they do. That you have 30 seconds worth of time to create something, and that something could make you laugh, was a surprise to me. We are also in an environment where there is a lot of crossover in making content."
Stink has promoted James Britton, managing director of Stink Studios Europe, to global managing director and CEO Mark Pytlik has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Reporting to Stink Group Global CEO James Morris, Britton will work closely with the current leadership across Stink Studios. He joined Stink Studios, then Stinkdigital, six years ago from AKQA, where he helped develop the Nike Football business and became managing director in 2014. Pytlik, who will remain a company shareholder and board advisor, said: "I'm very proud of what we've achieved in my ten years at Stink, but now it's time for me to try something different. I wish James Britton all the best and have no doubt that he'll do a fantastic job in the new role."
Prettybird has signed writing and directing duo Geremy Jasper and Georgie Greville for global representation for branded entertainment and music videos. The longtime filmmaking team, known largely for their music videos, film and commercial work, will be rostered as separate directors. They co- founded Legs, the multimedia studio behind projects such as Target's Gold Cannes Lion winner "Kaleidoscopic Fashion Spectacular." Jasper's first feature film, "Patti Cake$", appeared at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and will be released theatrically by Fox Searchlight this summer.
Hungry Man has added director Saul Dibb to its roster. He is known for writing and directing for both cinema and TV films such as "Bullet Boy" (2004), "The Line of Beauty" (2006), "The Duchess" (2008), "Suite Française" (2014) and "NW" (2016) and is currently awaiting the release of his most recent feature, "Journey's End" (2017). His commercial work includes projects for the U.K.'s Home Office and Morrisons.
Independent Films has added director Samir Mallal to its roster for exclusive representation in the U.K. and Amsterdam. Mallal first found prominence with his film "Artic Sun" for Tropicana, which earned him a spot on the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase at the Cannes Lions festival, and won him Saatchi's 2010 Best Young Director award, as well as a Gold Lion. He has since directed commercials for Google, GE, Starbucks and Coca-Cola.
Los Angeles content studio Hound has signed director Kevin Bray for U.S. representation. He has directed music videos for artists including Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Gloria Estefan and Celine Dion, and has helmed spots for brands such as Nike, Puma, Verizon, Macy's, USA Network and the Florida Lottery. He has also directed for TV shows such as "Suits," "The Killing" and "Heroes."
Production company 1stAveMachine is linking with VR community and platform Kaleidoscope to form a new partnership focused on branded VR content. 1stAveMachine's roster of directors will team up with Kaleidoscope's 150 artists and directors to craft VR-centric films, art, games and other experiences.
Amsterdam production company Halal has recruited Ezra Xenos, former head of production at Anomaly and Sid Lee, as executive producer. Xenos has worked on campaigns for the likes of Nike, Adidas, Absolut Vodka, and ESPN. His appointment follows that of Christel Hofstee as head of production earlier this year.
Production company We Fly Coach has appointed Poo Sukumalanand as its first executive producer out of its Bangkok office. Sukumalanand joins We Fly Coach following a long stint at Big Blue Productions. She has over 15 years of experience in the advertising space, spanning production, marketing and sales roles working with brands including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Sony, Booking.com, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Marriott, Mitsubishi, Canon, Ford and KLM.
Arcade has added creative editor Graham Chisholm to its team. Chisholm began his career in Montreal, Canada before moving to Toronto and has worked on projects for brands including Gatorade, Land Rover, Budweiser, Ford, Chevrolet and The Toronto Raptors. He is working on a new project at Arcade for Adidas via ad agency 72andSunny and has just completed his first work for Arcade, a short film about "LA2024," also via 72andSunny, promoting Los Angeles' bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.