Dennis Lewis makes break with BBH for film production start-up

Dennis Lewis, the former Bartle Bogle Hegarty creative director, has launched his own production company, Upstart.

Dennis Lewis, the former Bartle Bogle Hegarty creative director,

has launched his own production company, Upstart.

It will concentrate on film-making, from commercials to pop promos and

corporate videos. Lewis has directed commercials in the past, including

spots for BBH clients such as Murphy’s and Buxton mineral water.

Lewis, 50, announced his intention to leave BBH and move to France in

April of last year. He was replaced as creative director by Pat Doherty,

who has since been on maternity leave. Until around a month ago, Lewis

was still working three days a week at BBH.

’I have been a creative director for so long that I understand how ideas

work,’ Lewis said. ’I wouldn’t want to be a creative director at any

other agency so this is a logical step for me. I can help people build

and improve ideas.’

He will divide his time between London and South-west France.

Upstart will operate as a conventional commercials production company at

first, but Lewis hopes that he will be able to break into in other areas

within a short space of time. He is also optimistic about staff


He added: ’I will happily work through agencies or direct with


I sense that clients want other things as well as ads.’

Upstart opened its London office this week, with Anita Mahal, a former

BBH TV producer, who was previously managing director at Branded Films,

taking on the role of managing director.

Lewis, an art director, was at BBH for 13 years and, with his partner,

Steve Hooper, was made joint creative director of the agency in 1993

when John Hegarty became executive creative director. The team made

their name with work for Audi, Levi’s and Pretty Polly.

’Upstart is a great opportunity to give extra value to all sorts of

interesting areas. I want to put ideas into things and work on projects

that I’m really interested in. I’d love to do a Radiohead video, for

instance,’ Lewis said.

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