DGA Spot Nominees: Steve Ayson, Kathryn Bigelow, Ian Pons Jewell, Henry-Alex Rubin, Bradford Young
Kathryn Bigelow
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SMUGGLER topped the production house tally with two directors scoring nominations today (1/26) for the DGA Award recognizing Outstanding Directorial Achievement For Commercials in 2021--Kathryn Bigelow and Henry-Alex Rubin. Both are first-time DGA spot nominees but Bigelow is no stranger to Guild honors. She won the marquee feature film DGA Award in 2010 for The Hurt Locker. Three years later she was nominated for Zero Dark Thirty.

Bigelow’s first commercial nomination came for Apple iPhone 13’s “Hollywood In Your Pocket” out of TBWA\Media Arts Lab. 

Meanwhile Rubin’s DGA nod was for Sandy Hook Promise’s “Teenage Dream” for BBDO New York.

Bigelow and Rubin are joined by two other first-time commercial category nominees--Ian Pons Jewell of RESET and Bradford Young of Serial Pictures (U.S.) and Somesuch (U.K.)--as well as Steve Ayson of MJZ, who is now a four-time DGA nominee for his commercialmaking endeavors.

Jewel earned his first career DGA nomination for Apple Watch’s “Sleep” and “ECG,” Squarespace’s “Time” and an Instacart spot titled “Your Mom’s Short Ribs.” The latter came out of Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Young, an Oscar-nominated cinematographer for Denis Villeneuve’s feature Arrival, received his DGA nomination for U.K. Channel 4 Paralympics promo spot “Super. Human.” out of agency 4Creative.

And Ayson’s latest DGA nod was on the strength of two Miller Lite spots, “Award Speech” and “Networking” from DDB Chicago, and Mattress Firm’s “Anthem” for Droga5 New York. This marks the second straight year Ayson has been nominated for the DGA spot honor. His first two Guild nominations came in 2013 and 2019.

Women nominees
Bigelow joins a select field of women directors to gain recognition in the commercials category with nominations--the first being Amy Hill as half of the directorial duo Reiss/Hill in 1999; followed by Katrina Mercadante as half of the team known as The Mercadantes in 2015. That same year, Lauren Greenfield also received a nomination, making her the first individual female helmer to earn that distinction in the commercials competition. Greenfield, however, was no stranger to the nominees’ circle, having broken through for the feature documentary The Queen of Versailles back in 2013. 

In 2018, Alma Har’el became the second solo woman director to be nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials since this category was established in 1980. Har’el of course made a major breakthrough in 2020 when she won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in First-Time Feature Film for Honey Boy

And just last year, two more solo women directors garnered DGA spot nominations--Nisha Ganatra and Melina Matsoukas. The latter from production company PRETTYBIRD wound up winning the award for “Beats By Dr. Dre’s “You Love Me.” Matsoukas became the first woman and first person of color to win the Guild’s spot honor. This was Matsoukas’ third career DGA nomination--the first coming in 2018 for an episode of the comedy TV series Master of None, and then in 2020 for Queen & Slim in the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in First-Time Feature Film.

Spot rundown
Here’s a full list of this year’s DGA Award nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials for 2021 are (in alphabetical order): 

Anthem, Mattress Firm - Droga5
Unit Production Manager: Adriana Cebada-Mora
First Assistant Director: George Nessis
Second Assistant Directors: Jesse Carmona, Brent Martin
Award Speech, Miller Lite - DDB Chicago
Networking, Miller Lite - DDB Chicago

Hollywood In Your Pocket, iPhone 13 - Media Arts Lab
First Assistant Directors: Allison Kunzman, Arle Bordas
Second Assistant Director: Abbey Hansen
Second Second Assistant Director: Cody Maher

ECG, Apple Watch - Apple
Sleep, Apple Watch - Apple
Time, Squarespace - Squarespace
Your Mom’s Short Ribs, Instacart - Goodby Silverstein

Teenage Dream, Sandy Hook Promise - BBDO - New York
First Assistant Director: Anthony Dimino
Second Assistant Director: David Ebel

(Serial Pictures x Somesuch)
Super. Human., Channel 4 Paralympics - 4Creative
First Assistant Director: Jez Oakley


Client Apple Agency Media Arts Lab  Production SMUGGLER Kathryn Bigelow, director; Greig Fraser, DP. Editorial Exile 


Client Sandy Hook Promise Agency BBDO New York David Lubars, chief creative officer, worldwide; Peter Alsante, executive creative director; Jim Connolly, creative director; Samantha Spellman, art director; Sandi Spino, copywriter; Alex Gianni, executive producer, director of content production; Molly Ross, producer; Jong Yeu Wu, designer; Julia Millison, sr. music producer; Lucy Bennett, influencer manager; Jessica Nugent, SVP, director of production services. Media Agency PHD Nichole Verost, strategy director; Jake Brady, strategist. Production SMUGGLER Henry-Alex Rubin, director; Patrick Milling Smith, Brian Carmody, Drew Santarsiero, exec producers; Alex Hughes, head of production; Leah Allina, producer; Michelle Mehn, Mark Perez, associate producers. Catalina Restrepo, line producer (NY prep); Holland Kemp, production supervisor; Carly Rehm, assistant production supervisor; Anthony Dimino, 1st AD; David Devlin, DP; Alex Fagin, production designer; Young-Ah Kim, Jessica Bonanza, wardrobe stylists; Leah Allina, Lev Abramoff, casting directors. Editorial MackCut Ian MacKenzie, editor; Gina Pagano, exec producer; Cooper McLane, assistant editor; Jimmy Hayhow, lead Flame artist; Franklin Ponce, Mike Leuis, interview editors. Telecine Color Collective Alex Bickel, colorist; Claudia Guevara, exec producer. Music Human Sloan Alexander, creative lead & arranger; Thomas Kerry, arranger; James Dean Wells, exec producer. Song: “Teenage Dreams” by Katy Perry. Audio Post Post Human Sloan Alexander, chief engineer.


Client Mattress Firm Agency Droga5 New York Tim Gordon, Felix Richter, co-chief creative officers; Scott Bell, executive creative director; Andy Ferguson, group creative director; Matty Smith, Will Lowe, creative directors; Victor Moncluz, Joel Francke, associate creative directors; Conner Tobiason, Jason Gold, sr. art directors; Craig Gerringer, sr. copywriter; Jordan Dodson, copywriter; Jesse Austin, jr. copywriter; Sabrina Lau, jr. art director; Craig Wong, group experience design director; Jesse Brihn, director of film & content production; Jeremy Fox, executive producer, film; Oscar Thomas, sr. producer, film; Mateus DeFaria, producer, film; Will Davie, Nick Maschmeyer, group strategy directors; Gideon Olshanksy, strategy director. Production MJZ Steve Ayson, director; Michael Gioulakis, DP; David Zander, Emma Wilcockson, exec producers; Adriana Cebada Mora, producer; Jahmin Assa, production designer.  Editorial & Sound Design Mackenzie Cutler, New York Gavin Cutler, Pamela Petruski, editors; Megan Heard, assistant editor; Gina Pagano, exec producer; Sam Schaffer, sound design. Postproduction Parliament Music Human, bicoastal James Dean Wells, exec producer; Morgan Visconti, Mike Jurasits, creative leads; John Chris Barnes, Craig DeLeon, composers. Audio Post/Sound Design Heard City, New York Evan Mangiamele, mixer/sound designer; Seth Phillips, Stefano Campello, mixers; Gloria Pitagorsky, managing director; Jackie James, Sasha Awn, exec producers; Andi Lewis, producer.


Client Instacart Agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners Rich Silverstein, co-chairman; Matthew Edwards, Wes Phelan, creative directors; Jen Hart, associate creative director; Kayla Lott, sr. copywriter; Clark Chamberlin, Rachel Nagby, copywriters; Jason Gan, Duncan Spear, art directors; Leila Gage, head of production; Bentonn Roman, executive producer; Benny Gold, Tana Cieciora, design directors; Emily Devery, designer. Production Reset Ian Pons Jewell, director; Dave Morrison, managing director; Michael Garza, exec producer; John Moran, head of production; Jon Adams, producer; Mauro Chiarello, DP; Vova Radlinsky, production designer; Nayeli de Alba, wardrobe designer. Production Services Radioaktive Film Sasha Bevko, exec producer; Tanya Sokolava, producer. Editorial The Den Tobias Suhm, editor; James Bird, assistant editor; Mike Gut,  producer; Ryan Curtis, exec producer. Sound String and Tins Culum Simpson, sound designer, audio engineer; Will Cohen, sound designer; Lawrence Kendrick, audio engineer. Foley Foley Walkers. Music KOM VFX Black Kite Denis Reva, shoot supervisor; Paul Wilmot, VFX supervisor;  Bruno Fukumothi, James Adamson, Jonny Freeman, Michael Korniltsev, VFX artists; Fin Crowther, CG supervisor; Andrew Bartholomew, Marcel Ruegenberg, Vicky McIntyre, CG artists; Tom Mangham, color grade; Amy Richardson, head of production.



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