Propaganda Films has announced the relaunch of Propaganda Independent, a division of the Hollywood-based production house dedicated to repping features directors for commercial projects. Independent was first launched in 1997, but has since fallen by the wayside and has not had a dedicated executive producer since 1999. Freelance producer Marshall Rawlings was recently named to that role. "This division is about people who have a real interest in making commercials," he says. The division's roster includes Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects), Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer), and Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth). Director Gerard de Thame, who shot the outstanding "Falling in Love Again" spot for Mercedes a few years ago, recently teamed with New York's Merkley Newman Harty for a Mercedes spot of truly Biblical proportions. In "Modern Ark," a stylized parade of pilgrims load the most treasured fruits of civilization onto an ark, including a pair of Benzes. Shot on a soundstage in London, the skies of Spain and the deserts of Jordan were composited in by Smoke & Mirrors/London, giving the spot an eerie and appropriately reverent glow._ For a new campaign for Ford and J. Walter Thompson/Detroit, Santa Monica's Nonfiction Spots opted to go with high definition 24P, the 35mm-mimicking digital format currently being used by George Lucas to shoot the next Star Wars installment. The commercials, directed by Hoop Dreams DP Peter Gilbert for Ford's Blue Oval service program, feature testimonials from Ford employees and customers shot in Chicago, Dallas, and L.A. According to executive producer Michael Degan, the national campaign is the first to use the HD 24P format. While Lucas is using the format to exploit its possibilities for special effects, Gilbert says the camera's relative silence and unobtrusiveness is a boon for reality shoots as well. "You have the ability to get more natural performances from sports celebrities, spokespeople - anyone who isn't a professional actor," he says.