RSA's New Swedish Spin

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RSA recently welcomed to its family two major Swedish talents, Jonas Akerlund and Johan Renck. Both directors will continue to run their own production company, RAF, in Sweden, while RSA and its clips division, Black Dog, will represent them for commercials and music videos in the U.S. and the U.K. The Swedes, best friends since they were 5-year-olds, had worked out of HSI in the U.S. since the late '90s. Regarding the RSA move, "We talk about things both personally and professionally-there was some kind of synchronicity and we both felt that it was time for a change," says Renck.

"We just wanted to move forward, try new things,"adds Akerlund. Renck is known for his international work on clients like Levi's, Mercedes, Nintendo and H&M, including his groundbreaking 2001 "Racing Marion," for Nike. Akerlund has directed over 250 spots and some high-profile music videos. "Tony [Scott] apparently really liked my small independent movie (last year's Spun) and he called me and asked about it," says Akerlund. "Since then, we'd been keeping in contact."

As for the new production company, "We're honored to have them," says RSA executive producer Jules Daly. "They are obviously very established directors, so for us it will be about maintaining the quality of work and finding creatives and subject matter that challenge them." Currently, Akerlund is wrapping a longstanding documentary project about Madonna; Renck will start production later this spring on the feature Downloading Nancy, starring Holly Hunter and William Hurt, and is currently on his first RSA job in Brazil, shooting a campaign for Brahma Beer for N.Y. shop McGarry Bowen.

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