The Production A-List: Smuggler

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Founded 2001

Principals: Patrick Milling Smith, Brian Carmody, Executive Producers/Partners; Lisa Rich, Chief Operating Officer; Allison Kunzman, Executive Producer; Laura Thoel, Head of Production; Jen Thomas; Staff Production Coordinator; Kali Niemann, Staff Production Manager; Gisela Knijnenburg, Head of Sales; Jacqui Wilkinson, East Coast Sales; Jimmy Waldron, Midwest Sales; Brent Novick, West Coast Sales; Chris Lind, Chief Financial Officer; Suzie Burton, Operations Manager, L.A.; Alexandra Henry, Operations Manager, N.Y.

Roster: Jaron Albertin, Steve Ayson, Brian Beletic, Adam Berg, Jun Diaz, Filip Engstrom, David Frankham, Guard Brothers, Neil Harris, Randy Krallman, Ringan Ledwidge, Renny Maslow, Bennett Miller, Psyop, Henry-Alex Rubin, Guy Shelmerdine, Chris Smith, Stylewar, Jon Watts, Ivan Zacharias

If the economy has been hurting companies' output, it's not evident on Smuggler's reel, packed with entertaining work coming from all its directors. Chris Smith helped to realize Crispin and VW's Routan Boom and AT&T's comedic "Family Talk" out of BBDO, New York, featuring a mom seeking to save her family with rollover minutes. Young director Jaron Albertin took Guitar Hero into the real world in "Bike Hero" and also brought Nike into "The Light" via Wieden, Portland. More comedic insanity ensued from Randy Krallman, who looked at feminine hygiene from a different (male) perspective in a Tampax project from Leo Burnett, did a clever operation for Skittles "Transplant" and had everyone's cute alert on code red with spots for New York Lotto. Henry-Alex Rubin, the man behind BK's "Whopper Freakout," brought his documentary sensibility to spots for Microsoft's "I'm a PC" effort, real life soldier moments for MRM's new web experience for the U.S. army and earned Cannes Silver after capturing NBA superstars and young athletes for the 180 L.A.'s adidas Brotherhood campaign.

Horror films directors The Guard Brothers imparted their bone-chilling skills to creepy moments for Audi, while Guy Shelmerdine kept up his comedic game for Burger King and in Old Spice's "Escalator." Former editor Jun Diaz built out his directorial repertoire on comedy spots for Vinta, virals for ESPN and the Ad Council's "Textual Harrassment." Ivan Zacharias made one of his rare spot outings in Audi's big budget "Chase," starring Jason Statham, while Bennett Miller followed Tom's Shoes founder Blake Mycoski in a spot for AT&T. Director Brian Beletic, coming off the ambitious yet less than successful Honeyshed endeavor, went on to achieve another outside-the-lines feat for the launch of Microsoft's Bing with CAA. He directed the 26-minute Bing-a-Thon, the first live, interactive show on Hulu, which went on to become the all-time most watched live show on the site, over the Obama Inauguration and The Dave Matthews Band Concert simulcast. Changes to its roster also added to Smuggler's creativef clout. Ringan Ledwidge came on board for representation in the U.S. In a surprise move, animation/design collective Psyop, which earned multiple accolades for Haagen-Dazs' "Help the Honeybees" campaign and continued to turn out a dazzling collection of spots, including the Emmy-awarded Coke "Heist," joined the Smuggler roster. Outside spots, Smuggler started in on two screen-to-Broadway productions, of Once and The Kid Stays in the Picture. It also brought in vet Hollywood producer John Hart (Revolutionary Road, Boys Don't Cry) to lead Smuggler's film division, which is currently developing Booker-prize winning novel The White Tiger into a feature film.

Read about the next company on the list: Sonny London

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