• Friday, Dec. 3, 2021
Sam Swisher joins Sugarhi as managing director & partner
Sugarhi's (l-r) Sam Swisher, Florian Stadler and Jake Banks
VENICE, Calif. -- 

Sam Swisher has signed with Sugarhi as the company’s new managing director and partner. He comes together with company co-founders and long-time collaborators, the director/DP team of Jake Banks and Florian Stadler. Swisher’s experience includes being co-founder of Woodshop Studios, a production company specializing in food, beverage and product.

Banks said, “Florian and I couldn’t be more excited to bring on such an experienced executive producer to oversee our sales teams and work with our clients. Sam has been a real expert in the tabletop food and beverage world for over a decade. This move couldn’t come at better time at Sugarhi, as we are moving from a small startup to a premium ‘go-to’ creative solution in the industry. Sam brings the perfect balance of innovation and experience to each aspect of the production process. Sam’s track record for success speaks for itself.” 

Swisher was drawn to the talent at Sugarhi, citing Banks’ expertise spanning motion design, animation, visual effects and live-action production. Swisher sees Sugarhi as “a value add for both agencies and brands alike. With little to no overhead, we can shoot and do postproduction from anywhere in the world. We are perfectly positioned as a one-stop shop for unparalleled visual freshness. We feel like we have developed the delicious recipe for creating and delivering captivating brand campaigns rooted in all kinds of crave-able, lick the screen-type, moments.”

Sugarhi recently finished a beautiful, conceptual commercial for Calphalon cookware, the campaign design for the launch of Michelob’s new Organic Hard Seltzer, and the creative campaign for Budweiser’s new 2021 Patriot Cans, as well as three individual campaigns for the American chain of fast casual restaurants. Denny’s and Zaxby’s also returned to Sugarhi as repeat clients.

Company co-founder and cinematographer Stadler added, “Combining Sam’s years of experience as a leader in the tabletop/food world, Jake’s vast experience in design, live-action and lifestyle, along with our deep and diverse shooting experience will be transformative.”

  • Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021
We Are Pi expands international team; hires include head of production Stephanie Whitehead
Stephanie Whitehead

We Are Pi has expanded its team with five hires--head of integrated production Stephanie Whitehead, producer Angus Lees, account director Blyda Eksteen, sr. account manager Rebekah Guilar and strategy coordinator Thuy Pham. The additions come on the back of the Amsterdam-based agency’s biggest ever year with international business wins PepsiCo, Heineken, Nike and Amazon Game Studios.

Whitehead brings 20 years experience at such shops as Wieden+Kennedy, Sid Lee, 72&Sunny, BBH, Knucklehead and AnalogFolk. She’s delivered finely crafted award-winning work for brands including adidas, Absolut, Samsung, Corona, Google, Uber, Facebook, Rayban and Heineken. Whitehead has worked her way around the globe stopping in New York and London, before touching down in Amsterdam. Whitehead is returning to the We Are Pi “Pirate ship” in the new role after having produced some of its most iconic work for Desperados in 2016-2018.

Lees is a producer from London who has recently joined the We Are Pi ship. Originally training as a cinematographer, Lees has brought a breadth of film and photography knowledge to agencies across London from BBH to the & Partnership, Lees has worked on brands such as Lexus, NatWest, Audi and Virgin Media. Outside work Lees is in the concepting phase of a 10-part animation series.

Eksteen, born and raised in South Africa, comes to We Are Pi as an account director with over 10 years experience. She started her career by spending seven years at Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town, working on P&G Pampers and went on to lead the local and regional EMEA account for Mondelez brands Stimorol & Halls. With a longstanding goal to relocate overseas, Eksteen jumped at the opportunity to work in Amsterdam when she was recruited to work on Mars pet care brand Royal Canin at DDB Unlimited. There she led the global to local market integration and campaign development for over 40 markets. 

Guilar was brought up in an Irish household full of music and creativity. She has always loved the idea of bringing art into our everyday interactions in the world. Her move to Amsterdam was spearheaded by landing a role at 72andSunny. Guilar has worked with such brands as Google, adidas, Unilever and Zurich Insurance.

Pham was born and raised in IJmuiden, a small town on the coast of The Netherlands. Thuy brings a background in fashion having worked for footwear brand Filling Pieces and most recently luxury e-commerce retailer Farfetch as a content writer. Earlier this year Thuy joined the PlusPlusOne talent program that We Are Pi co-founded, where she got her eye on the strategy side of marketing.

We Are Pi founder and CEO Alex Bennett Grant said that the new hires from five countries “each bring worldly perspectives that make our international strategies, creativity and culture more innovative.”

  • Monday, Nov. 29, 2021
JOAN Creative names Charley Cobbin to serve as executive communications strategy director
Charley Cobbin

JOAN Creative has appointed Charley Cobbin as its new executive communications strategy director.  

Cobbin will be responsible for enhancing and expanding the creative agency’s communications strategy capabilities, with the goal of optimizing results for clients by developing communications plans designed to best reach key target audiences. Cobbin will report to Chris Turney, head of strategy, JOAN.

Cobbin joins JOAN from Johannes Leonardo, where she served as communications strategy director. Cobbin, who previously held senior roles at Barton F. Graf and Pereira & O’Dell, also worked at Bohemia Group and Carat in her native Sydney, Australia, before relocating to the United States in 2014.

The addition of Cobbin comes as JOAN continues a rapid growth trajectory, including the hire of Cheri Anderson, who was tapped for a dual role leading JOAN Studios as managing director and head of production for JOAN Creative. Earlier this year, JOAN also named Lauren Costa as executive creative director.

  • Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021
Becky Coyle joins Matter Of Form as creative director
Becky Coyle

Award-winning creative Becky Coyle is joining experience design consultancy Matter Of Form as creative director. She and head of experience design Nick Payne-Coo will lead 10 designers and user experience specialists working across all accounts. 

Coyle joins Matter Of Form from Rufus Leonard, where she was responsible for leading and owning creative direction across multiple projects for some of the most recognizable brands in the U.K. including WWF, British Gas, Aviva, Lloyd’s of London, The LEGO Foundation, The AA, and Williams F1. 

In November 2021, the My Footprint app, created for WWF by Coyle and the team at Rufus Leonard, won a host of accolades at the UK App Awards: Best New App of the Year, Education App of the Year, UK App of the Year, and Best Design/UX. 

The depth and breadth of her experience ranges from directing the creation of digital-first brand identities to large-scale digital transformation programs. Winner of a Silver award for Best Visual Identity from the Public Services Sector at the 2019 Transform Awards for her work on BBC Bitesize, a Silver Lovie Award for her work on the Williams F1 website (2014), and a Bronze Lovie for her British Gas Mobile Energy app (2014), Coyle appeared on the 2017 Transform Award shortlist for her work on the AA, Stagecoach, and Pizza Express. 

Anant Sharma, Matter Of Form founder and CEO, said, “Becky brings a wealth of experience from across all sectors and an eye for detail and exceptional attention to craft. Her ability to marry brand and digital creative is the perfect fit for MOF--she’s astute, personable and humble, but with a bold creative hand.”

  • Monday, Nov. 22, 2021
Cabin expands NY office, adds 5 editors and head of production
Sari Resnick

Cabin Editing Company is expanding its New York office, with six new hires consisting of head of production Sari Resnick and five editors: Alvaro del Val, Carla Luffe, Nina Sacharow, Dylan Edwards, and Matt Schaff. Cabin editor Robert Lopuski has also joined the company’s New York roster from Los Angeles. Cabin’s New York office opened in May of this year under the leadership of managing partner Maggie Meade, and the growing team has signed a lease for 7,500 square feet of office space in Soho.

Resnick joins Cabin from Droga5’s in-house agency Second Child where she served as executive post producer. She previously held post producer roles at Work Editorial, where she was part of the team that spearheaded the opening of its New York office, as well as Bikini Editorial and Peepshow Post. Before she transitioned into the producer role, Resnick worked her way up as an assistant editor and then cutting assistant at shops including Final Cut, Cosmo Street, and Filmcore/Beast Editorial. As a producer, her work has earned multiple awards including Cannes Lions and Clios.

Born and raised in Bilbao, Spain, del Val has made a name for himself as an editor in several international markets, first with Spain’s Prisa Group, followed by Serena Digital in both Madrid and Dubai, then at Uppercut and WAX in New York, and now Cabin. His work includes a range of commercials, music videos, and documentary shorts, with brand clients including Volvo, Fitbit, American Express, Nike, Adidas, Google, VANS, Mercedes and Nestle. He has earned awards from the AICE, AICP, Cannes Lions, D&AD and The One Show.

Luffe is an internationally acclaimed editor working across commercials, music videos, television, and feature films. Her editing career began at production house Zentropa, later joining Trim and Rock Paper Scissors for commercial work. In 2018 Luffe received Denmark’s highest honor, a Robert Award, for her work on The Guilty (winner of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award). She was also named Editor of the Year at the 2020 Ciclope Festival, and has earned accolades from Cannes Lions, the Clios, D&AD, AICP, The One Show and Eurobest. She has collaborated with brands including Nike, H&M, Volkswagen, and Volvo. She splits her time between New York and Europe.

Sacharow specializes in evocative documentary-style branded content and commercials. Born and raised in New York City, she has worked on a range of projects over the past decade through in-house roles at Vice Media, Droga5, and others, working with clients including Facebook, Paramount, Sprint, Logitech, and IHOP. She earned a D&AD Graphite Pencil for Best Editing as well as accolades from The One Show, Cannes Lions, and the Webby Awards for the COVID-era “Never Lost” spot for Facebook, which has over 200 million views to date. She also edited the viral “When It’s All Over” PSA for Reform Alliance, which revealed the horrors of the U.S. prison system, as well as the documentary short Living Distance, which was featured in the 2020 Sundance New Frontier program. 

The Brooklyn-based Edwards has edited commercial, music video, and documentary projects for noteworthy brands and talent, including the recent “Star-Crossed” 50-minute visual album for Kacey Musgraves, and brand work including campaigns for Facebook, Google, Match.com, Marriott, Nissan, Vogue, and Louis Vuitton. Edwards began his career in the news and documentary world at ABC News before stepping out on his own to pursue freelance editing full time, building a wide network of relationships with directors and agencies that he brings to Cabin.

Schaff’s projects have screened at SXSW and Tribeca, and earned a YDA Gold Screen award, Silver Clio, and several Vimeo Staff Picks. He has worked with brands including Adidas, Nike, the NFL, Remy Martin, Versace, and Michelob, and musicians including Leon Bridges, J. Cole, The Chainsmokers, and Lewis Capaldi. Schaff’s documentary projects include feature films Some Kind of Heaven and Maybe Next Year and shorts While You Were Sleeping, Leon, The Happiest Guy In the World and Every Nite is Emo Nite.

Cabin is repped by Hunky Dory on the East Coast, in addition to Baer Brown in the Midwest and Red Rep on the West Coast.

  • Friday, Nov. 19, 2021
Cameron Gray joins Ataboy as exec producer
Cameron Gray

Design-led content creation studio Ataboy has hired longtime collaborator Cameron Gray as its executive producer.

Gray brings a well-rounded background in both broadcast production and postproduction advertising, with his most recent role being the executive producer for New Light, and sr. producer at The Mill prior. He has collaborated with agencies such as Publicis, Vayner, Velocity, BBDO, Deutsch, Mythology and on campaigns for global brands that include Pepsi, Target, Captain Morgan, 7-Eleven, Red Lobster, Stila Cosmetics, Home Depot, and MiO.

Before joining Ataboy, Cameron had already nurtured a connection with founder and creative director Vikkal Parikh, and a healthy respect for the content studio’s work. Having collaborated with the company already on a myriad of projects over the last decade, Cameron said, “Ataboy has always felt like home. Vikkal creates a familial environment, where everyone has a seat at the table, so when I was approached to join the family full time, I leapt.”

  • Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021
SMUGGLER promotes Sue Yeon Ahn to U.S. managing director
Sue Yeon Ahn

SMUGGLER has promoted executive producer Sue Yeon Ahn to U.S. managing director. 

Based in Los Angeles, Ahn has spent her career in the commercial and music video world, working with brands like Apple, Nike, Calvin Klein, as well as such artists as Jay-Z and Run The Jewels. 

Patrick Milling Smith, who founded SMUGGLER with Brian Carmody, said that the managing director role is new at SMUGGLER and “one that’s been a long time in coming. Sue brings her unique elegance, focus, and distinct point of view to everything she touches. There are big dreams afoot at SMUGGLER, and we feel very fortunate having the team we do, bristling with ambition and experience--all wanting to swing hard.”

Ahn executive produced Apple’s “The Underdogs” campaign which was followed by a brilliant sequel in 2020--“The Whole Working-From-Home Thing” directed by DGA Award-nominated Mark Molloy and shot with a minimal crew, innovating the way to produce in the era of COVID. The seven-minute film has continued to sweep awards season, earning a Cannes Gold Lion for Achievement in Production and a Grand Prix at Ciclope. 

Prior to SMUGGLER, Ahn worked as EP for The Directors Bureau, founded by Roman Coppola. Ahn began her career as an assistant to Coppola, before transitioning into the production space. While at The Directors Bureau, Ahn executive produced Arcade Fire’s “We Exist” music video, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video in 2014. 

In her new post, Ahn will continue to executive produce and develop talent across SMUGGLER’s roster.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021
Vic Palumbo named president/managing director of The Den
Vic Palumbo

The Den, a bicoastal independent boutique edit house, has hired Vic Palumbo as president/managing director. He brings a broad-based background to his new roost, including serving in key roles on the agency side such as an EP at Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Ore., director of production at Fallon, Minneapolis, and partner/director of integrated production at Deutsch LA. For the latter he helped develop Steelhead, a leading standalone agency production studio. Palumbo most recently prior to joining The Den was the president of Film 47, a commercial and branded entertainment production company formed alongside director Peter Berg’s feature film company, Film 44, and non-scripted production company, Film 45.

Palumbo believes that the success of The Den despite the pandemic has been remarkable, but not surprising. “They were literally born during the pandemic,” he observed. “They aren’t trying to retrofit an old model into a new system--they are native to this environment, which is a superpower. As we come out of the pandemic and move forward, there’s incredible potential for The Den to get even stronger, hire even more quality talent, and do even bigger and better work.”
Trust, Palumbo noted, is the commodity in highest demand these days. “As you switch from being in person to working remotely, there’s an incredible amount of trust you need to have for the people on your team – specifically your editor – to create high caliber work.”

Reflecting on how the industry has changed over the past few years, Palumbo said, “This has been a very unprecedented moment in history. In regards to how things have changed in production, the bonds that the director, the agency producers and creatives create and foster with their editors and producers, are crucial to keep the focus on making the work the best it can be.”

Christjan Jordan, co-founder/editor of The Den, said, “Vic’s experience as a leader in our industry is virtually unparalleled. He brings tremendous skills and is such an asset to our team as well as our clients, and we look forward to charting new territory alongside him.”

“I’ve known Vic for a long time, and he has always been both a champion of great work and an incredible friend, colleague, and person,” said Rachel Seitel, co-founder of The Den. “We want to do things differently here at The Den, and build a new model that imagines a new paradigm for creative work. Vic’s vision and humanity are the exact right fit for the company we want to be.”

  • Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021
Laura Graham named head of production at London agency Above + Beyond
Laura Graham

Above+Beyond has named Laura Graham as head of production, with the brief to lead the London agency’s multi-channel production capabilities.

Graham joins from Uncommon, where she was executive producer, and reports to Tom Bedwell, managing director of Above+Beyond.

Before joining Uncommon, she was executive producer at AMV, where she oversaw the ASDA account and led on major projects including Bombay Sapphire’s Cannes Lions award-winning Design Museum installation.

Graham also spent seven years in production roles at BBH, where she worked with Above+Beyond’s ECD Dom Goldman.

While her experience includes numerous high-profile, big budget television campaigns, Graham’s also focused on delivering 360-degree campaigns for critical pieces of business and earned a reputation for developing non-traditional production approaches to fit with client format and budget restraints.

Bedwell said of Graham, “A truly modern producer, with a great back catalog of multichannel work, she’s going to make a huge difference to our work and we can’t wait for her to start.”

Graham said, “I’m looking forward to partnering with Dom and the team, to create audience focused work across platforms. I’ve always been driven to find new production approaches to meet creative aspirations and I look forward to building on this.”

  • Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021
Editor Michael "Middy" Ofori-Attah joins The Den
Michael "Middy" Ofori-Attah

The Den has added editor Michael “Middy” Ofori-Attah to its roster. Ofori-Attah will begin his tenure in Canada with plans to relocate to the United States in the near future. This marks his first representation in the U.S. His recent work with director Kelly Fyffe-Marshall on the short film OMI can be seen on Hulu’s Bite Size Halloween. Other recent director collaborators include Karena Evans and Jonny Mass.

Middy’s credits also include campaigns for global brands such as McDonald’s, Hyundai, and MLB, and has garnered a Gold at the 2019 Cannes Lions and the 2019 Webby Award for Best Viral Campaign. 

Christjan Jordan, co-founder/editor at The Den, said, “Middy’s editing style and his love for the craft shows in his work. Being able to shift from emotional storytelling to quick-paced stylized work is a great fit at The Den.”

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