- Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2016
- NEW YORK
Production veterans Mike Jurkovac and Igor Kovalik have teamed with newly named executive producer Mark Sitley to offer their content company TheBridge.co as a creative resource for agency and artist-led branded content projects.
To date TheBridge.co has produced award-winning content and music videos for such artists as will.i.am, David Guetta, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Miley Cyrus, Linkin Park and Charlie Puth. Several of these projects originated as integrated, cross-platform initiatives for such marketers as Intel, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Victoria’s Secret, the United Nations, Sports Illustrated, Western Union and UNICEF.
Jurkovac, who ran director/ photographer Albert Watson’s cYclops productions for nearly two decades, directed those efforts, with Kovalik (a founding partner in Beast and Inside/Out) editing. Kovalik has recently branched out into directing himself, working on projects as diverse as music videos, a feature-length documentary and a new campaign for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
TheBridge.co’s most recent project is a new music video featuring the will.i.am track, “Mona Lisa Smile,” which debuted yesterday in Paris at The Louvre as part of the museum’s endeavor to broaden millennial interest in its collection. The video’s launch is also part of a 90-minute feature length documentary currently in production for will.i.am being produced by TheBridge.co.
“Mona Lisa Smile” is a seamless blend of classical paintings and modern visual effects wizardry. The video features the compositing work of Pasha Shapiro, a San Francisco-based finishing artist. (Additional post effects were provided by Ernst Weber, with will.i.am executive producing and Bill Boyd line producing. Tigran Mutafyan was the DP.)
The video follows the success of TheBridge.co’s multiplatform assignment for FCA, which included a music video, a broadcast commercial and social media executions starring Charlie Puth, Brett Eldridge, Ty Dolla $ign and Sofia Reyes, and featuring vehicles from across the Fiat Chrysler portfolio. Produced for Atlantic Records, the star-studded 90-second spot--directed by Jurkovac and edited by Kovalik--debuted on the 2015 American Music Awards and quickly became one of the most watched spots in the history of Chrysler’s YouTube channel.
“Igor and I have a long history of working closely with both agencies and brands, and we think this is a great time to fortify our reach,” said Jurkovac. “And Mark’s background on the agency side, his production knowledge and his keen interest in IP development makes him the perfect person to lead our charge. He intuitively understands how our work can help agencies and brands connect through the power of music and the passion people have for pop culture.”
Kovalik added, “TheBridge.co is not just a platform to create effective and engaging brand content; it’s a chance to make things that move people in meaningful ways. Our work for UNICEF and the United Nations are great examples. As both advertisers and artists increasingly seek to engage people on emotional levels, this is the right time for us to offer our skills and vision to the industry at large.”
Jurkovac got his start on the agency side as a forward-thinking executive at Foote Cone & Belding in San Francisco, where he was director of integration when the shop was creating iconic campaigns for Levi’s. He brought Albert Watson together with a then-unknown band called the Black Eyed Peas to create one of the first episodic, long-form branded content projects. Jurkovac later led the efforts to rebrand the King himself, Elvis Presley, which resulted in the design and marketing for the top-selling album “Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits.”
Jurkovac transitioned into directing in 2012 and has since shot campaigns for Western Union, UNICEF, Amazonia Beverages, Intel, Victoria’s Secret and many other brands. His work is driven by music and frequently includes recording artists; not surprisingly, it’s often editorially-driven, integrating dazzling visual effects and graphic design.
Sitley was recently brought aboard TheBridge.co as EP to manage the rapidly growing company’s advertising and branded content workload. He remains managing director of NB Content, which he joined earlier this year when the Melbourne, Australia production company opened its U.S. offices. As part of TheBridge.co’s expanded outreach to agencies, NB Content will now represent the studio in the Asia/Pacific region.
“Mike loves to visualize how music can interact with brands and what that does for audiences, and he’s supremely dedicated to the artists with whom he works,” said Sitley. “He and Igor have launched sophisticated, multilayered work that revels in visualizing audacious, truly innovative solutions to conceptual problems. Theirs is an exciting approach to creating and producing engaging branded content.”
Jurkovac, Kovalik and Sitley also are involved in the soon-to-be launched content platform VAST, which gives artists and marketers a digital home where they can centralize their content and monetize their social media footprints.
In addition to bringing on Sitley, TheBridge.co has retained a new national sales team to support his efforts, with Minerva Content handling East and West Coast sales and marketing, and Maureen Butler of MoButler Reps covering the Midwest. As a director, Mike Jurkovac is also represented in the UK by Serious Pictures.