Untitled executive producers James Davis and Peter Davis have added a brash new sibling to their tasteful production family, with the launch of young director arm, Reginald Pike. A colorful and irreverent contrast to the Untitled brand, the new offshoot officially launched in November, aiming to represent and develop new directing talent in Canada, and the company now has a deal with Biscuit Filmworks, which represents Reginald Pike directors in the U.S.
Untitled has long been a top production player in Canada, with a current roster that includes Curis Wehrfritz, John Mastromonico, Stacy Wall (of Epoch Films in the U.S.), Tim Godsall (now repped by Biscuit in the U.S.), Wayne Craig, David Tennant and Robert Logevall (Anonymous in the U.S.). As for the origins of the new shop, James Davis notes that directors will often build a reel in Canada and move on to work under different representation in the States. "The creative is getting better here," Davis says, "and the way we look at it is, when you build a director in this marketplace-and you can do that in about a year-if you do too good a job, you've basically built in your own obsolescence."
Thus the investment in three new, promising directors: Yael Staav, who has directed videos for Howie Beck and Eagle-Eye Cherry; Mark Gilbert, a photographer starting a career in directing; and directing team the Perlorian Brothers, whose comic style was recently employed for the Bessie Awards opening film, "Idea." Between them, they've completed 18 jobs since December. "The right people are being very responsive" to these directors, Davis says, citing relationships with Canadian agencies like Taxi and DDB's Downtown Partners. Work includes chilling spots for Covenant House, by Staav, featuring game-show contestants living like homeless children; a stark comedy campaign for energy drink Guru, by Gilbert; and quirky comedy spots for Timex, Glad and British brand Ilovemevitamins, by the Perlorian Brothers. "With all of our directors, when we started everyone was pretty much brand new, so the key is to find people that fit but also have long-term potential."
Recent visitors to Untitled's pristine website (www.untitled7.com) might notice a splash of orange near the bottom in the suspicious shape of a reindeer with passenger. Indeed, Ape Riding Elk is the hilariously offbeat logo inspired by a Reginald Pike anagram (directors' reels contain other gems such as Leaking Pride, Ape Like Grind and Redial Peking), as well as a key part of the company's branding. "It was irreverent and kind of opposite from Untitled," says Davis. "It wasn't slick or stripped back or minimal. We wanted it to be more vocal in its branding and in how it went after work."
As for the name, Davis says it means nothing. He liked the name Reginald, and Pike came from friend and director Godsall. "I think it has a lot of charm, and fit in with what we're trying to do." For now, Untitled and Reginald Pike will co-exist in Untitled's Toronto and Vancouver offices, overseen by executive producer Josefina Nadurata. Davis looks forward to future growth, with plans to add another director to the roster before summer. "There's a certain energy that you get from starting something from scratch that you just don't get when working with a company that's eight or nine years old," he says.