Woman and Minority Owned Companies Cover all the Bases

From editorial to production to music and sound and even storyboard art, diverse ownership fuels creativity.*comment*

When we last checked in on the trend of Diversity in Production, we found that the number of production, post production, music and effects houses that qualified for either minority or woman-owned certification was on the rise.  That trend is continuing, as several of the companies that have sponsored our 2013 Diversity Special Feature have only received their certification within the last year or so – including one that just got it in the past two weeks!  And as the interest in getting certified has increased, so has the awareness of the benefits of certification among company owners and EPs as well as among agency producers and creatives.  Much of this is driven by the efforts of agency in-house supplier diversity managers, who are spearheading an increasing number of outreach events designed to identify, pre-qualify and familiarize potential and established diversity suppliers to their agency production and creative departments.  Here are some mini-bios on all of the companies that have sponsored this section, with info about their key players, major projects, current diversity status and perspectives on the business.

Over the course of two decades in music and advertising, WBENC-certified PrimalScream and its Founder and Executive Producer, Nicole Dionne, have emerged as one of the leading sources for creating and producing music that sounds licensed but is crafted just for the brand and campaign. She has a gift for spotting musical artists that are about to break out and pairing them with brands and commercials and guiding the writing/producing process in a way that's a perfect fit all-around. The result is evocative original music that stands on its own while being consistent with brand messaging and scored to picture. (Check out their Diversity Special Feature profile here.) Among the studio's most notable recent projects are Fruit of the Loom's 2012 "Move to Comfort" rebranding campaign from The Richards Group, created for the London Olympics. Additional key projects would also include scoring the entire groundbreaking BMW Films series for Fallon and more recent work for FX Network's "Sons of Anarchy" and "American Horror Story" series, as well as major music packages for networks like Starz and TNT and broadcast spots for such brands as AT&T, Firestone, Lexus, Guinness, American Express, Nike, Gatorade and many others. Long an established presence on the L.A. music scene, the company last year expanded to the vibrant arts and advertising community of Austin, Texas, where it's building its second studio base and welcoming a new roster of agency and broadcast clients.

Cutter Productions was launched in 2005 as a full-service production company specializing in film, video, and integrated digital content.  Since then, Cutter has produced original programming, commercials, promos, digital/experiential campaigns and more for advertising agencies such as Dentsu, Digitas, Draftfcb, Grey, Ogilvy, McCann Worldgroup and JWT, and clients like ABC, HGTV, Canon, Clorox, Ford, Gerber, J&J, MTV and Pfizer. As a company owner and executive producer, Hillary Cutter has continued to search the market place for the kinds of directors that will diversify her company's client roster. (The studio's in-depth feature in this section can be found here.) Cutter also believes in cultivating and nurturing its current talent because they've contributed to the immediate success of the company. "It's a balancing act between growing the company, managing talent and identifying and creating the type of work that would best position us to prospective agency partners," says Hillary. The company was certified by WBENC in the fall of 2010 and shared this development with top agency diversity managers. Shortly thereafter, Hillary was invited to participate in a Small Business Enterprise Summit at GSD&M in Austin, which was followed by other supplier diversity vendor fairs at both Draftfcb and Draftfcb Healthcare in New York. Being certified as a woman-owned business enterprise has been a tremendous asset and response to their portfolio has been positive, Hillary reports.  "Our certification has given us a renewed energy to stay competitive in the marketplace," she adds, noting that it's helped them incorporate best practices of other successful commercial production companies into their culture.  

The L.A.-based Looking Glass Films, which is WBENC-certified, was founded by Owner and Executive Producer June Guterman. It represents an impressive roster of feature film directors and cinematographers for all forms of advertising work within the US, as well as various territories throughout the world. This A-list includes such talents as David Mamet, the Tony and Pulitzer award winning writer and director, as well as Roman Polanski, fashion maven Cliff Watts, documentary director Barbara McDonough and many others.  These highly distinguished directors are among the most venerated story tellers and visualists in the industry.  (For more on Looking Glass, see their Diversity Special Feature profile here.) Turning their attention and creative energies to the advertising arena this assemblage of filmmakers collaborates with both agencies and clients to meet the growing challenges of capturing the attention of the ever-more sophisticated consumer. Guterman's professional background is as diverse as her director roster, and includes producing commercials and videos for such top directors as Mark Romanek, Jake Scott, Paul Hunter and Matthew Rolston. She's worked on feature films with filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Arthur Penn and Sidney Lumet. In addition Guterman has produced an Academy Award-winning short film, and Looking Glass's work has garnered numerous other awards and nominations. Her vast experience in production enables her to skillfully guide these directors through the labyrinth of the advertising and marketing worlds, helping them create the most compelling brand content possible.

Kyle Edit is the brainchild of Editor Tina Mintus (that's her at the top of this article).  It's a creative boutique editorial shop based in New York City.  KYLE resides in the heart of the Meatpacking District; indeed, the views from its offices of The Highline and the Hudson River are as diverse and energetic as all the people that work there.  In addition to Mintus, that roster includes Editors Nate Taylor and William Zitser and Creative Director Michael McKenna, who helms the studio's Design and VFX division.  Mintus, who came up through the editorial ranks in New York post shops and has an ardent agency following, says it's always been her dream to "open a shop filled with awesome, hard working, A-level talent," and that's what she's got. It's also both certified as both an MBE and WBE company.  Kyle was profiled in our most recent Fashion & Beauty Special Feature, and is known for its work for such brands as Garnier, Olay and others, but its work spans a wide range of styles and categories, from automotive to consumer products to tech. For more information on the studio, contact Executive Producer Sharon Lew here.
For the past 25 years, Famous Frames, Inc. has the leading talent agency in the US specializing in storyboards, comp art, illustration and animatics/animation production. Founded by Janine Miller, who's Cuban-American, it has headquarters in Culver City, California, and a regional office in New York. The agency represents over one hundred of the world's top illustrators.  Its' clientele reads like a who's who of the advertising and entertainment industries; and its' influence in today's mass media is evident daily through blockbuster films, primetime TV spots, print ads, video games and theme park entertainment. The company is certified as a woman and minority owned business via WBENC (Women's Business Enterprise National Council) and SCMBDC (Southern California Minority Business Development Council), and is also certified as a small business via the SBA (Small Business Association), as well as having a California Talent Agency License. Recent highlights include shooting boards for the fantasy opening sequence for last year's Academy Awards featuring Billy Crystal, agency boards for an elegant Target spot featuring Taylor Swift, concept boards for a cool graphically inspired spot for Fiat, character design for an animated spot for Reynolds Wrap, agency boards for the Fruit of the Loom campaign that premiered during the Olympics and eight spots for the Super Bowl.  Feature film credits this year include storyboards and concept design for "Argo," "Snow White and the Huntsman," "Hitchcock," "The Hunger Games," "Riddick," "Looper" and Michael Bay's production of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

Orange Filmworks Inc., also known as OFW, was started in Minneapolis in 2005.  Since then it has been on a non-stop roll of producing great spots and happy clients, working for such brands as Best Buy, General Mills, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Nintendo and many others.  The studio was founded by Director Marco Antonio Baca, who wanted a smaller, more personal approach to the production process. It's certified by the MMSDC, the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council, which is an affiliate of the NMSDC.  After opening the company, Baca enlisted the help of Executive Producer Stuart Mager, whom he knew from past projects, and OFW was off and running.  Orange Filmworks takes pride in being a certified minority owned business, adds Baca, who's fluent in Spanish and is the son of Peruvian immigrants. Its' MOB certification was a way for Baca to show companies that he can offer a unique vision for creative, something he think will benefit any production.  Among its most recent high-profile projects was a huge dance party with over 200 kids that OFW staged in The Mall of America for Nickelodeon out of New York for the launch of a new toy from Hasbro.  "The music was blaring, lights were flashing and the kids were having the time of their lives," Baca recalls. "It was so infectious I had older crew guys dancing as they stood by on set. It's why we get into this crazy business, to make things, to satisfy that need and to have fun."

The Artists Company is the re-imagined vision of Owner/EP Sally Antonacchio about precisely what a production company can and should be in today's environment.  "We're a company that's steeped in a rich history, but also has the poise and adaptability necessary to tackle this new age of advertising and content creation," says Antonacchio, who acquired the shop last year and recently earned WBE status from the New York State Department of Economic Development.  (SourceEcreative profiled the shop late last year; check out the report here.) "Traditional spot making, longer format web content and all forms of multi-media collaboration are the new truth in advertising." Pulling from a directorial talent pool of various disciplines from photography to writers to feature filmmakers to TV series creators, The Artists Company's new approach is leaner and meaner allowing them to take on the world of traditional advertising as well as other media streams that operate on a variety of different budget levels. In addition, the company has always been a place where women have held key positions of responsibility; for example, they represent director Sabrina Palladino, Joanne Rodriguez is its business manager and its staff rep Brittany Ciera Ortiz. It's added a number of new talents to its roster in the past few months, including directors John Alper, Zachary Borst and Eriq Wities as well as Executive Creative Director Otis Mass.  They join a roster that includes David Ramser and Leonardo Ricagni, both of whom have shot multicultural and Hispanic spots.

Blueyed Pictures was established in 1998, with offices in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.  The company, which is a certified woman-owned business, was founded by Owner and Executive Producer Jamee Natella, and recently brought on board commercial EP Lorraine Schreyer.  It specializes in creating award-winning commercials, branded content, corporate videos, live events and multi-media entertainment. "We like to think of ourselves as a partner and creative collaborator with both ad agencies and clients," says Natella. "Our company's focus is commercial production across media platforms. Blueyed's directorial roster branches beyond the commercial realm representing talent from a variety of entertainment arenas - features, short films, brand films, digital content, etc. We strive to introduce visual signatures that don't necessarily fit traditional niches."  Blueyed offers post production services as well, with a staff that includes in-house editors and visual effects artists.  Throughout the company, women pull rank: it's repping corps includes West Coast Rep Deirdre Rymer and Midwest Rep Laurel Debose (owner/founder of Gypsy Reps), while it's Tokyo office is run by Georgina Pope.  Two of the directors on its roster are women: Muriel Lacalmontie and Tasha Oldham.  In addition to original production, BLU also specializes in global production as a service company. Its network of production resources and crews spans the globe, and its longstanding relationships with clients such as Virgin, Nestle, Lexus and Scion have earned it a reputation for consistently strong work.  Among the honors that Blueyed has received are Clios, Addys, FWAs, Webbys and Tellys, as well as recognition at numerous film festivals.  Recent highlights include a series of digital brand films for featuring Jennifer Lopez; TVC's for Scion's most recent campaign "What Moves You" and several upcoming digital spots for Lexus.

 Chapter 1: PrimalScream...       Chapter 2: Cutter       Chapter 3: LookingGlass...       Chapter 4: Showcase...


Diversity In Production


PrimalScream's Nicole Dionne Brings an Edgy Touch to Ad Music


Cutter Productions Founder Takes First Steps on Diversity Path


Looking Glass Mixes Directorial Flair with Production Savvy


Woman and Minority Owned Companies Cover all the Bases