CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/THE GUNN REPORT - Traktor's subversive style wins over awards juries. The Swedish collective tops the Gunn Report's league of directors

Seven shy Swedes with a penchant for ginger beards topped the league for most-awarded directors in this year's Gunn Report. Sam, Patrik, Pontus, Ulf, Mats, Ole and Richard (aka Traktor) wowed judges globally with their unique strand of subversive humour.

Seven shy Swedes with a penchant for ginger beards topped the league for most-awarded directors in this year's Gunn Report. Sam, Patrik, Pontus, Ulf, Mats, Ole and Richard (aka Traktor) wowed judges globally with their unique strand of subversive humour.

The five directors and two producers may have an unfair advantage by nature of their size and, hence, volume of output, yet the breadth and quality of their work is without question.

It encompasses a portfolio of work for brands including Nike, Nordstromshoes.com, Kiss FM, Volvo, Cnet.com, Malibu and, of course, MTV.

The MTV idents, featuring the Hillbilly-esque Jukka Brothers literally beating cool into their geeky younger brother, are among the most famous work ever produced for the brand.

Other award-winning advertising from the collective includes the loathsome boss-turned pussycat for Kiss FM, the shoe fetishists who destroy and divorce for Nordstrom shoes, the fish-filled Malibu ads and the lo-fi Cnet spots which use Traktor's characteristic street-cast stars. All of which gave Traktor a total of 22 points and saw the group leaping up from 21st place last year to top the Gunn Report this time around.

The twisted visionaries met at film school in Stockholm, after which they set up home and business together. They first shot to fame with their Diesel campaign through Paradiset DDB.

Claire Grupp, a TV producer at Cliff Freeman & Partners, claims she is unsurprised by Traktor's runaway success. 'Traktor always manage to put a brilliant twist on everything,' she says. 'There are very few directors that really throw themselves into the job like them, and do as much research. The end result is clever, amazing or simply unexpected.'

Last year's number one director was shunted into second position this year. Yet Frank Budgen was just three points behind Traktor, largely thanks to his 'bet on black' ad for Guinness, which won almost every Craft award from cinematography to sound design. 'Beautiful' for Nike, featuring scarred athletes, was another commercial scooping several points for the Gorgeous director.

'Frank's success is down to the fact that he is advertising literate but also very artistic. It was his idea to shoot 'bet on black' in Cuba, which allowed for a more fantastical feel and more interesting characters,' the ad's copywriter, Tom Carty from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, says.

But what the table really shows is how volatile the market can be, with only six of this year's top 25 directors featuring in the top 25 last year. In addition to Traktor and Budgen, this list includes Jonathan Glazer who, once again, was in fourth place. All of Glazer's points came from his Guinness 'surfer' spot. His commercial output has been put on hold for the making of his first feature, Sexy Beast. The film is an intellectual psychological thriller and is receiving positive reviews at several international film festivals.

The other three consistent performers were Hong Kong's Louis Ng, who was also in ninth position last year; the UK's Rob Sanders in joint 12th position (down from ten), and Jhoan Camitz, one of last year's top ten and this year's number 23. Sadly, Camitz, whose best-known work includes 'meat' for Nike, was killed in an accident earlier this year.

There were several other directors who surged to the top of the table from a previously low position. Joe Pytka, one of America's biggest and most-established directors, proved he isn't past it by careering up the table to joint fifth position - an increase of 25 places from last year. This was for a broad sweep of award-winning work for brands including IBM, AltaVista, Stamps.com and Pepsi.

One of the US's top comedy directors Frank Todaro swept to third position, up 28 places. His 18 points came predominantly from the hilarious Fox TV/The X Show ads, in which men at funerals and baseball games deliver lines such as 'breasts, beer, football, centrefolds, big-screen TV' - the idea being that the channel knows what men are really thinking. It is thanks to the acting and direction that the spots are so convincing.

There were several new entrants to the table this year, one of whom has shot to international stardom on the back of his short film. 'Whassup?', originally titled 'All in the family', was produced as a calling card for Charles Stone III to get into features. Instead, it was seen by DDB Chicago and turned into the Budweiser ads which have sparked a cultural phenomenon.

Stone has achieved his ambition, however. He is now working on his first feature, a coming of age drama produced by Miramax's Dimension Films.

Several UK directors entered the league table for the first time, including Paul Gay, Fredrick Bond, Paul Goldman and Chris Palmer. The latter, alongside his directing partner Budgen, helped Gorgeous achieve the accolade of most-awarded production company - for the second year running.

According to Gunn, Guinness 'bet on black', Nike 'beautiful', British Airways 'Johnny Foreigner' and Bisto Gravy are examples which 'demonstrate the breadth, scale and sensitivity of the wonderful work, which has won them this remarkable repeat'.

The other winners in the table reveal the US and the UK to be centres of production excellence, with the two nations commanding 15 of the top 25 places.

@Radical Media (New York) took second place thanks mainly to Fox TV, although Miller High Life also proved a hit with international judges.

Propaganda/Satellite Films, the winner of the Production Companies' Palme d'Or at Cannes this year, came third in this report. Their tour-de-force productions include the funny Budget Rent-A-Car ads and several high-profile Nike commercials.

Guinness 'surfer' saw Academy gain joint fifth place, although Adidas, Breathe.com, Heinz Salad Cream and Volkswagen 'heaven' were also major award-winners.

And with Glazer returning from his feature film to helm some innovative ads for Wrangler, Gorgeous may be given a run for its money next year.

It'll be about time.



THE MOST AWARDED PRODUCTION COMPANIES IN THE WORLD IN 2000

Rank   Production company                 Location                Points

1      Gorgeous Enterprises               London                      26

2      @Radical Media                     New York                    24

3      Propaganda/Satellite Films         Hollywood                   23

4      The Film Factory                   Hong Kong                   20

5=     Academy Commercials                London                      19

5=     Partizan                           New York/Los Angeles        19

7      Hungry Man                         New York/Santa Monica       13

8=     C&C Storm Films                    New York                    12

8=     Dentsu Tec                         Tokyo/Fukuoka               12

8=     Pytka                              Venice, California          12

8=     Outsider                           London                      12

8=     Tesauro                            Madrid/Barcelona            12

13=    Czar Filmcompany                   Amsterdam                   11

13=    Mucky Muck Company                 Bangkok                     11

15     Garcia Bros y Associates           Mexico City                 10

16=    Helen Langridge Associates         London                       9

16=    Headquarters Films                 Santa Monica                 9

16=    Cuarto y Medio                     Mexico City                  9

19=    Matching Studio                    Bangkok                      8

19=    Peluca Films                       Buenos Aires                 8

THE MOST AWARDED DIRECTORS IN THE WORLD IN 2000

Rank   Director                           Location                Points

1      Traktor                            USA/Sweden                  22

2      Frank Budgen                       Great Britain               19

3      Frank Todaro                       USA                         18

4      Jonathan Glazer                    Great Britain               15

5=     Charles Stone III                  USA                         12

5=     Joe Pytka                          USA                         12

7      Anupap Pongnamatta                 Thailand                    11

8      Paul Gay                           Great Britain               10

9      Louis Ng                           Hong Kong                  9.5

10=    Fredrick Bond                      Sweden/Great Britain         9

10=    Michael Warr                       Thailand                     9

12=    Paul Goldman                       Great Britain                8

12=    Chris Palmer                       Great Britain                8

12=    Gen Sekiguchi                      Japan                        8

12=    Rob Sanders                        Great Britain                8

12=    Dante Ariola                       USA                          8

12=    Pep Bosch                          Spain                        8

12=    Matthijs van Heijningen Jnr        Netherlands                  8

19=    Bryan Buckley                      USA                          7

19=    Randy Diplock                      Canada                       7





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