Hot in 2019: Top 10 directors

A look back on the best of our industry in 2019.

10 Lucy Cohen

Pulse Films

Cohen created an unfiltered, intimate portrait of real  parents in WaterWipes "This is parenthood", which earned a Campaign Pick of the Week. It follows her film Kingdom of Us, about a mother and children grieving over their father’s suicide, won Best Documentary at the London Film Festival 2017. 

9 Raine Allen-Miller

Somesuch

Allen-Miller got her biggest shot in advertising with Virgin Media’s second ad by Adam & Eve/DDB. She helped steer the brand into more joyous territory, directing a cheeky Scouse girl who stole the show. 

8 Ninian Doff

Pulse Films

After his debut feature film Boyz in the Wood won the coveted jury prize at SXSW 2019, Doff returned to commercials in fine form. With Veg Power he turned kids into superheroes to get them to eat vegetables, and he summoned Christmas magic as part of Sainsbury’s 150th anniversary. 

7 Tim Godsall

Anonymous Content

Already a sought-after director, with work for Tango and Lynx, this year Godsall was behind a surreal Amstel ad in which Jeff Bridges appeared as a literal bridge. He also directed BBC’s iPlayer campaign with comedians playing clueless members of the public. 

6 James Marsh

Pulse Films

Marsh, the Academy Award-winning director of Man on Wire , directed two pieces of work for Uncommon Creative Studio that turned heads. ITV’s well-crafted films showcased great characters, while The Guardian’s campaign about a struggling butterfly championed hope. 

5 Ian Pons Jewell

Academy

Pons Jewell must be one of the most prolific contemporary directors, shooting nine commercials and two music videos in 2019. These included Adam & Eve/DDB’s darkly comic debut for Virgin Media, an ad for Apple Watch, and further afield, a female-empowerment anthem for Nike China. His film for Diamond Producers Association showed a will to expand beyond his signature quirky humour.

4 Frederic Planchon

Academy

The French director, who began his career in the theatre, puts emotion at the heart of his work. For a Cadbury ad, he showed a lonely, elderly man befriended by young neighbours, while Renault enlisted him to trace the cross-Channel love story between an English girl and a French girl. For PlayStation, he created a world of devastation contained in a gamer’s tear. 

3 Jeff Low

Biscuit

Low is a master of comedy. That is why he’s become a go-to for Droga5 London’s most eccentric creations, such as Barclaycard’s "The crystal barn" and the latest GoCompare ad, in which Gio Compario crashes his car. He tried his hand at stop-motion animation for Sipsmith, which introduced Mr Swan, a witty and dapper bird with baseless confidence.  

2 Dougal Wilson

Blink

Wilson did what he does best in John Lewis’ and Waitrose’s first joint Christmas campaign, a heartwarming and funny story about a dragon who becomes overexcited about the festive season. The dragon, named Edgar, ruins a medieval town’s celebrations by burning the decorations and melting a snowman, before redeeming himself by adding the finishing touches to a Christmas pudding. 

1 Kim Gehrig

Somesuch

Gehrig’s "Viva la vulva" for Bodyform swept awards shows with its culture-shifting ode to vaginas. As incoming Havas London creative chief Vicki Maguire said at the Campaign Big Awards, "It was the year of the vag", thanks, in part, to Gehrig’s superb direction. Gehrig also shot Nike’s rousing "Dream crazier" and an Apple iPhone ad, cementing her position in the premier league. 

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