- LOS ANGELES
London-based Academy Films is opening an office in Los Angeles after nearly 40 years of developing director, photographer and artist talent, creating work that's earned Cannes Lions, Yellow & Black Pencils, AICPs, Clios and British Arrows.
The U.S. arm of Academy will be led by John Nguyen as managing director/EP. Having started his career producing commercials, documentaries and branded content, he has worked on both the creative agency and production company sides of the aisle. Most recently he served as executive producer at Hecho Studios, m ss ng p eces and RSA Films. Nguyen will be working alongside Medb Riordan and Simon Cooper, global managing directors and co-owners, to navigate this next phase in Academy’s already lauded history.
“It’s about time!” exclaimed Riordan. “Academy has spent so many years telling impeccable stories and breaking boundaries in filmmaking. We’ve never been limited to any specific creative output and we love that. The U.S. has been on our minds for so many years, and now with this roster of exciting, diverse and brilliant talent, and John Nguyen at the helm, we feel hungrier than ever to take on this new challenge and to work with some of the world’s greatest creative minds and brands in America.”
“Our relationship with the U.S. market has always been one-step removed, until now,” said Cooper. “We are immensely excited about the opportunity of working directly with U.S. agencies and brands and being able to bring Academy's passion and dedication to recognizing and developing new talent to the U.S. market.”
Nguyen added, “Academy has such a rich history for producing genre defining work as well as identifying and developing strong storytellers that have impeccable taste. I’m excited and honored to collaborate with Medb, Simon and Jon [director Glazer] as we bring forward the next generation of talent and chart the company’s next evolutionary phase in the U.S.”
Founded in 1985 by Lizie Gower, Academy’s guiding philosophy has always been to nurture and develop emerging young talent and this approach has led to their unrivaled reputation for launching stars of the future. Directors Jonathan Glazer, Kim Gehrig, Seb Edwards, Martin De Thurah, Frederic Planchon, Savanah Leaf, Nick Gordon and the directing duo Us all signed to Academy at the beginning of their careers. On top of developing emerging talent over the years, Academy has signed and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Ian Pons Jewell and Henry Schofield.
In 1999 Academy produced what is widely regarded as one of the best commercials ever made--Glazer’s “Surfer” for Guinness. The film won two D&AD Black Pencils and “Commercial of the Year” at almost every award show. The Times of London conducted a poll that voted “Surfer” as the most iconic ad of all time and the film continues to top ad polls inside and outside the industry.
“Opening Academy U.S. is arguably long overdue but how exciting to be here now,” said Glazer. “Building on Academy’s reputation in the UK, the new office translates that legacy into a U.S. based production hub where the creative opportunities remain as strong and exciting as ever. For our directing talent, this opens the doors for even more creative opportunities and sharing of ideas.”
As well as Glazer, Academy comes to the U.S. with a firmly established roster which includes:
- Sophia Ray has worked with Nike, Google, the BBC and recently directed the highly lauded “Sex X Cancer” campaign for BBH London. From a music video background, she has also worked with international music artists such as Little Mix, Sigrid and Years & Years.
- Jack Driscoll has worked on huge global campaigns for bet365, Gatorade, and Lays, with major sports stars like Messi and Jayson Taytum, and won numerous international awards.
- Novemba is the duo whose work crosses between high energy sports documentary to hard hitting, emotional storytelling, directing campaigns for Adidas, Amazon/Ad Council, Samsung and Uber. Their Frontline 19 Campaign, created with adam&eveDDB, won the agency its first D&AD Black Pencil. They are currently directing a huge TV doc series with Disney.
- Billy Boyd Cape, the highest awarded director at this year’s British Arrows, taking home nine awards over three spots for BBC, Alzheimers K and Justice & Care. BBC also won Best Of Show at the AICP Post Awards.
- Nadia, known for her sensitive casting, beautiful cinematography and after a successful 2022 campaign, she has recently shot the promo commercials for Netflix’s jewel The Crown, leading her to work with some of the industry’s most exciting acting talent.
Based in Los Angeles, the U.S office of Academy and its complete roster of directors, photographers and artists will be represented on the West Coast by 1961 Representation, and on the East Coast by Sasha Stern & Jamie Scalera of Miss Smith.