Ewan McGregor, Backyard, Whitehouse industry moves


From commanding the force to commanding actors

Ewan McGregor joins RSA as commercial director

RSA Films president Jules Daly announced Monday that “The Force” is now with RSA as former Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor, has joined the Ridley Scott-owned company. The acclaimed film, theatre and TV actor, who won a Golden Globe this year for Best Actor in FX’s Fargo, joined for commercial representation globally. McGregor’s directorial credits include feature film American Pastoral which he starred in with Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning, and the original short film Bone, part of Time Out’s Tube Tales series based on the true-life experiences of London Underground passengers. Here’s a look at American Pastoral’s trailer:



McGregor first gained worldwide renown as an actor for his BAFTA-winning role in Trainspotting (1996). Some of his other most well known acting credits include T2 Trainspotting, the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Moulin Rouge!, Big Fish, Angels and Demons, The Ghost Writer, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Beauty and the Beast. He received Golden Globe nominations for both Moulin Rouge! and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. He’s also starred in theatre productions of Guys and Dolls and Othello. And in 2016, BAFTA honored him with the Humanitarian Award.

Whitehouse Post welcomes editor Matthew Hilber

Whitehouse Post’s new editor

Known for both his comedic timing and ability to work across multiple genres, acclaimed editor Hilber has joined award-winning Whitehouse Post.

“Matthew is an exciting addition to our roster here in LA,” says Executive Producer Joanna Manning. “He has an amazing, star-studded reel and fierce work ethic, and he’s also a really nice guy. We’re delighted he has decided to join us.”

Hilber, whose frequent collaborations with sports legends LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Tiger Woods earned acclaim, spent the past 16 years at Joint in Portland where he teamed with directors including David Gordon Green, Ulf Johansson, Jake Szymanski, and Stacy Wall on memorable campaigns for top-tier brands such as Facebook, Old Spice, Coca-Cola, Chrysler, and P&G. Here is a look at his memorable 2017 Super Bowl spot for Turbo Tax:



“Building upon the knowledge and experiences from the last 16 years at Joint, I’m looking forward to more diverse creative opportunities with new agencies and old friends,” explains Matthew of his move to Whitehouse Post. “I love doing great work, but I also love working with great people, and I think I can do both at Whitehouse.”

Director Ciaramitaro joins above + beyond films

Ciaramitaro joins above+beyond

Good things happen to good people. Director Sam Ciaramitaro has joined the roster of above + beyond films. His recent work includes spots for Porsche (Parallels), Ford (Next Generation) and Hyundai (Go Time!).

Ciaramitaro, who was formerly repped by ModOp Films, first established himself on the agency side of the business, serving as a director and producer at Leo Burnett, Chicago, VP/exec producer at FCB Chicago, and then Digitas New York.

He has garnered various awards for work he’s directed, including a U.S. Army campaign which earned a Cannes Cyber Lion as well as a Gold Effie. Check out one of his videos for Porsche below:



“I’m really excited to join above+beyond films,” the director told Reel Chicago. He added, “Beginning my career as a Leo Burnett producer put me in a position to learn from some of the best people in advertising and film. So I demand a lot of myself, which basically means I put a lot of time and thought into every project to make it as good as possible regardless of the budget.”

Among his other directorial credits are: Take Me Out To The Ballpark, a short film about the Chicago White Sox LGBT Pride Night; and The Show, a documentary series that follows six Triple A minor league baseball players vying for the chance to become big leaguers.

Comedy director Sheppard joins Backyard

Backyard imports Sheppard from Canada

Backyard has added comedy director Daniel Sheppard for U.S. commercial representation. According to the statement, Sheppard is a “borderline-obsessive” commercial director who knows more about ads than he does about film and TV. Audiences around the world (but mostly in Canada) have laughed at his spots for such top brands as Wendy’s, Advil, GMC, Walmart, Classico, Microsoft, Sprint, Canadian Tire, and Tim Hortons. He is also the creative mastermind behind the satirical spin-off of the Cannes Lions: “The Dannes Lions.”

Despite the lack of rosé and yacht parties, “The Dannes Lions” have racked up spot submissions from many top ad agencies, and has gained industry media attention. To this day, many real Dannes Lion trophies sit behind La Croix-filled mini fridges worldwide.

Daniel accidentally wandered into the advertising world as an agency producer in Nebraska. He reportedly kept himself sane during the endless winters by wearing multiple hats as a writer, editor, director and producer. He later stepped into the commercial directing limelight when he won a national ad creation competition for Chipotle that garnered millions of views online, was among the top 20 most viewed videos on YouTube in 2009, and proved that there is true value in a love for burritos. The success of the video did not lead to free guac, but it did lead to Chipotle funding a scholarship for creative excellence in his recognition at his alma mater.

In addition to his new responsibilities at Backyard, Sheppard will continue to direct spots out of Toronto-based Partners Film from his home base in Long Beach, CA.

The Corner Shop adds Grbovic to roster for U.S. representation

Corner Store reps Grbovic for U.S. commercials

Director Ivan Grbovic has joined The Corner Shop for U.S. representation. He had previously been handled by BRF (B-Reel Films).

Having earned a Masters degree in cinematography from the American Film Institute in Hollywood, Grbovic soon switched to directing music videos and acclaimed short films in Canada. His first commercial work was a humorous piece for Canadian hardware store chain Rona tied into the 2010 Olympic Games. Grbovic’s other credits span such brands as Bank of America, Ubisoft, Lexus and Burger King.

Anna Hashmi, managing partner/EP for The Corner Shop assessed, “Ivan’s impressive reel of work, shows his cinematic eye and ability to tell big scale narratives whilst effortlessly employing VFX and humor. And he may well be the best under exposed director you’ve yet to work with.” Here is a look at his Burger King spot, titled Last Meal:



Grbovic will be repped by The Corner Store sales force consisting of Ziegler/Jakubowicz on the East Coast, Resource LA on the West Coast and Mary Kate Hatfield in the Midwest.

Zambezi hires 72andSunny’s Gardner

Gardner is Zambezi’s new Business Development Director

Zambezi CEO Jean Freeman recently announced that the agency has hired former 72andsunny Business Development Director Alexandra Gardner. She joins Zambezi with the same title and will oversee the agency’s ability to manage an increase in high-value business opportunities. Gardner reports directly to Freeman. She joins the agency as it recently has been named lead creative agency for Venmo, and has won assignments for Qantas and Bravo. Zambezi also has expanded its operations, doubling its footprint in its Culver City offices.

Gardner will be in charge of the growth of the mainline agency, and its female consumer insights engine – Zambezi X – which works with Nike Women, among others.

Gardner started her career in business development at mcgarrybowen in New York City, where she participated in account wins such as Bud Light, FiOS, P&G Aussie Hair care, Reebok, Honda, and United Airlines and helped launch the agency’s London and Dusseldorf offices.

She then moved to BBDO’s flagship office in New York as an account executive working on Gillette and Belvedere brands, eventually segueing into new business at the agency, helping land Wells Fargo, CVS, SAP, American Family Insurance, and all of the Bacardi Limited Portfolio.

Gardner joined 72andsunny in 2015 just as the L.A. creative shop began its meteoric rise, nabbing brands such as Coors Light, eBay, Infiniti and Uber.

Altman joins Buddha Jones as Game Capture Director

Altman joins Buddha Jones

Talented Fredric Altman has joined Buddha Jones as the company’s new Game Capture Director. He joins one of the more innovative companies in Los Angeles, that has created ground-breaking work for Dunkirk, Suicide Squad, IT, Better Call Saul and Mr. Robot.

Altman began his career working for one of the largest marketing firms in Los Angeles where he gained strong technical and creative knowledge of the process working on games like Call of Duty, Far Cry and Assassins Creed.

For most of 2017, Altman worked with major game developer, Monolith Productions, creating both in house and external assets for their latest AAA title.

Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.