Aardman Acquires Nathan Love, Unit9 Signs Horton de Rakoff and More
Aardman has acquired a majority stake in New York based animation studio Nathan Love. The new company, to be re-branded Aardman Nathan Love, is Aardman's first permanent production facility outside the U.K. Nathan Love, founded by Joe Burrascano in 2007, produces advertising for clients and brands including Kellogg's, Kraft, Pepsi, NBC Universal and Nickelodeon.
David Sproxton, co-founder and executive chairman of Aardman, said in a statement: "We're so excited to welcome Nathan Love to the Aardman family. Teaming up with an existing company gives us the opportunity to hit the ground running and a solid base from which to grow. This venture is not about sending work back to the U.K.. It's about building a new business in New York for American agencies and we feel we can do this more effectively by being there. Aardman's vision is to be the most inspirational animation company in the World, in the eyes of its talent, partners and audiences, for generations to come. Aardman Nathan Love will allow us to expand this vision in the U.S."
Unit9 has signed Alex Horton and Alex de Rakoff as directors, with a brief "to build the next generation of VR commercials through game technology, motion capture and cinematic content." The pair, known as Horton de Rakoff, first met in 2010 when working together on EA's "Need for Speed: The Run." De Rakoff's writing and directing work also includes promos for Madonna and U.K. gangster flick "Dead Man Running" with 50 Cent. Horton's art direction and design skills include working as lead animator of video games GTA III and GTA Vice City. The duo's first director collaboration with Unit9 came while working on the Wimbledon-inspired virtual reality experience for Stella Artois, "The Perfect Flight".
Acne has added director Ehsan B to its roster for representation in the U.S., Sweden and Amsterdam. Ehsan B was a 2014 Cannes Young Director Award nominee for his first ever commercial directing project, for luxury mobile phone brand Vertu. He has since been commissioned by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, River Island, Burberry, Dior (Wonderland magazine), Saint Laurent, Guerlain, and Samsung. His first work for Acne includes spots for Jaguar, BMW and Nissan Leaf, as well as European high street retailer Bonita.
Executive producer Gianfilippo Pedrotti has joined Bully Pictures as VP and partner. Pedrotti arrives from BRW USA, a company he co-founded, as an affiliate of Milan-based BRW Filmland with Andrew Traines, Michele Nocchi and Marco Bussinello in 2009. He helped the company build its directorial roster and was successful in establishing U.S. careers for a number of European commercial filmmakers. He has worked extensively on automotive accounts across the U.S. and Europe.
Superlounge has signed comedy director Barton Landsman for exclusive U.S. spot representation. Landsman's work has included ads for ESPN, Sony, Anheuser Busch, McDonalds, Taco Bell, AT&T, and FedEx. Recent work also includes a Gorilla Glue campaign for Possible, Cincinnati. He served as creative director-copywriter at BBDO New York and associate creative director-copywriter at Kirshenbaum and Bond before turning to directing. Prior to joining Superlounge, he was represented by Untitled, Third Street Mining Company and Radical Media.
Logan & Sons, the live-action division of Logan, has added director Christopher Kippenberger to its roster of filmmakers. The Berlin and Miami-based filmmaker is known for commercial work including Mercedes-Benz's "Surf's Up" and for pioneering work in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) videography, including his documentary "IOM TT," about the dangerous Isle of Man TT motorcycle race. He will continue to produce and direct long-form films while focusing on commercials and branded content.
Manhattan-based production company Cutter Productions has added director Aubrey Smyth to its roster. Her work includes campaigns for Pantene Pro-V and TJ Maxx via Grey Advertising, and a Lipton Iced Tea spot that placed first at brand video contest Mofilm's international commercial competition. Smyth is currently in development on her feature film "Ginger with a Snap."
L.A. based production company Fancy Content has signed Chris Shimojima as a director. Shimojima, who is a writer, editor and director, was previously working in a variety of roles, including editing for several New York ad agencies. Before that he was on staff at R/GA. His work includes "It Starts with a Playground," a spec spot he did for the 2013 Young Cannes Lions Awards. It was so well-liked by the advertiser KaBoom, a non-profit that promotes physical activity for kids, that it ran on air as a PSA.
Fashion advertising production company The Artists Company has added documentary/beauty director Douglas Keeve to its roster. Keeve is known for his feature ﬁlms "Unzipped" and "Hotel Gramercy Park" as well as commercial work for Avon, Dove and J. Crew.