- NEW YORK
Angus Kneale, former chief creative officer and co-founder of The Mill New York, has partnered with two alumni of that studio, former EP and director of production Melanie Wickham and chief of staff Verity Grantham, to launch Preymaker, a future facing collective of creatives, technologists and producers. They utilize an advanced custom cloud-based platform created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to innovate and create content for leading brands and forward thinking companies.
Kneale said, “Mel, Verity and I built The Mill for many years, and are proud to have had a hand in its legacy of work, caliber of artists and producers and the creative culture that inspired and supported them. We’re continuing that spirit of innovation, and pushing beyond at Preymaker with our focus on creativity, technology and people. We create exceptional content for brands with a team of talented artists, producers and technologists, who have the ability to collaborate globally and entirely in the cloud. Preymaker is one of the first content makers that is 100% cloud native. This paradigm shift enables the team to leverage the latest in technology at scale and the instant it is available. This allows constant experimentation and innovation which is at the heart of Preymaker’s creativity. Our mission is to create exceptional work with our clients and partners.”
The Preymaker name has roots in Kneale’s farm in historic upstate New York. A working farm of orchards and apiaries, the surrounding area is a wild landscape of large trees, waterfalls and wildlife. “Our company was born within the wonder and simplicity of nature,” Kneale said, “and we like to think it’s a metaphor for what we do, creating that same spirit of magic and awe for our clients.”
Preymaker’s official home is in New York City, at a state-of-the-art production studio in SoHo. The studio is a central hub and nexus for a growing staff of creatives, technologists and producers, who work both remotely and on-premises.
Having previously worked at The Mill London, Kneale co-founded The Mill in the U.S., helping transform it from a London-based boutique to a multi-national creative force. He was instrumental in creating breakthrough IP such as The Blackbird® (a Cannes Innovation Gold Lion winner), a unique vehicle for automotive commercial and film shoots that can create photoreal, computer generated cars of any make or model. And he worked with his team to bring Mascot to market, a proprietary real-time animation system that enables CGI characters to be performed and animated live using a combination of Unreal game-engine technology and motion sensors. He also directed PETA’s Cannes Gold award-winning “98% Human” spot that not only condemns the entertainment industry for its abuse of animal actors but also advocates the alternative potential of using lifelike computer-generated creatures. The spot received a standing ovation led by Dr. Jane Goodall at the Great Apes Summit paving the way for films such as The Jungle Book and The Lion King. Kneale has been working most recently with teams of PhD researchers utilizing computer vision and machine learning to create and develop next-generation systems for advertising, film and media.
“I’ve been working with Angus on and off for over 20 years, and he never ceases to amaze me,” said Wickham, who has held senior production roles at awarding-winning creative studios for the past 20 years, including The Mill, along with Absolute Post and Animal Logic. “I’m proud to be launching Preymaker with Angus and Verity, who are the best in the business with impeccable reputations. Preymaker is an amazing opportunity to create a community where there are no boundaries. It’s something that extends to projects of varied media and disciplines we undertake, aspirations of our team and expectations of our clients.”
“This is the right time for the Preymaker vision,” said Grantham, also a co-founder of The Mill New York, whose resume includes high-profile films and commercials working with Michel Gondry, Fredrik Bond, Nicolai Fuglsig, Daniel Wolfe, Martin de Thurah, Jim Jenkins, Jonathan Glazer, Anthony Minghella and Stanley Kubrick. “Our virtual, cloud-based capabilities, which we began to develop well before the pandemic shut everything down, are serving us and our clients extremely well. Technology married strategically and imaginatively to creative is the way forward. We had a jump start on it, and we’re now perfecting it. This is what drives us at Preymaker, and it’s key to success for us and our clients.”
While the company’s custom cloud-based platform employs advanced new technology, Preymaker has simplified the process for clients for ease of use and accessibility. Preymaker has kicked off its first projects collaborating with McCann, BBDO, 72andSunny and Johannes Leonardo, and directors Peter Thwaites, Daniel Wolfe, Lance Accord and David Gordon Green.