Upfront Films, a production company for agency creatives who want
to direct ads, is being launched in March by Zoe Bell, the head of TV at
Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, and Sheila Simpson, a founding member of
the HHCL Brasserie.
The new company, which will not have a roster of directors, will work
with creatives who want to direct their own work. But Bell and Simpson
warned that they will vet potential directors for suitability, taking a
close look at the individuals and the scripts before getting involved in
Creative teams such as Trevor Robinson and Al Young, and Erik Kessels
and Johan Kramer, have famously branched out from their agency roles to
direct commercials, while Steve Henry, the creative partner of Howell
Henry, directed a Mercury ’Oliver and Claire’ ad through Helen Langridge
Associates last year.
Bell and Simpson will plug a gap in the market, producing specifically
for agency creatives, who often lack the technical knowledge needed for
shoots, or have little experience of dealing with film crews. Crews, or
even collaborative directors, will be brought in on a tailor-made basis
for each individual project.
Simpson said: ’It is good to look at convention and to respond to
changes in the business - we wanted to find new ways of doing
Bell, who worked at Howell Henry for five years, added: ’How many
creatives have felt a sense of frustration when something they conceived
and lived with for six months doesn’t translate to the final film? How
many of these people have the strong desire to see it through
themselves? I hope we’ll be the first to find out.’
Simpson worked at Publicis, Spots and Great Guns before moving to the
Brasserie. She and Bell met when Simpson was working at Publicis.