Tag Archives: ad agencies

Director and former agency EP Katya Bankowsky joins Strike Anywhere

Director Katya Bankowsky has been added to the roster at LA- and San Francisco-based production company Strike Anywhere. Bankowsky is a former agency executive producer and director. Working as an EP led to her directing campaigns in-house for ad agencies like Mcgarrybowen. Her signing is a strategic move for Strike Anywhere, as it continues to work in traditional and non-traditional media with a formal directorial roster.

Katya Bankowsky is a California native who became a New Yorker upon graduating from Yale. After college, she took a production job in advertising, where she learned the art of the 30-second movie. Bankowsky soon went freelance and began shooting her feature documentary Shadow Boxers, which follows the emergence of women in boxing and the rise of the first undefeated world champion Lucia Rijker. Bankowsky directed, edited and produced the film and also boxed in the first NYC Golden Gloves to allow female competitors. Shadow Boxers premiered at the Toronto and Berlin International Film Festivals, picking up awards across the festival circuit before obtaining worldwide distribution.

Bankowsky’s non-documentary work includes TV spots, branded entertainment and digital campaigns for clients including Reebok, NFL, WNBA, Verizon, the US Olympic Committee, Chase and Brazilian Brahma beer. She has worked with Maya Angelou, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and many top-tier athletes. Bankowsky recently directed a piece for The New York Times on French fashion icon Michele Lamy, which kicked off a web series she writes, directs and co-stars in alongside Lamy.

Bankowsky’s directorial style was evident in a campaign she directed for the NFL this past summer, a series called The Handoff, which is the league’s largest social media campaign to date.

A New Yorker through and through, Bankowsky will remain there, but travels back to LA often.

Napoleon Audio launched, Gregg Singer named EP

Veteran agency and audio producer Gregg Singer has joined The Napoleon Group in New York City as executive producer of its newly-launched Napoleon Audio.

Singer intends to integrate Napoleon’s audio capabilities with the group’s soup-to-nuts offerings, which span previz through live action production and post. “We’re creating a true full-service audio production company within The Napoleon Group,” he explains. “This will encompass everything from audio recording and mixing to in-studio direction and supervision, creative writing, sound design, original and stock music, music supervision and licensing, voice-over work and on-camera casting.”

gregg_singerNapoleon Audio’s rooms have mirrored gear and shared ISDN capabilities, a common network and separate isolation booths that can be linked or paired with either control room for simultaneous recording. Alongside the suites is an acoustically-treated stage that connects to the control rooms and enables the capture of live performances. In addition to audio post, the new division will offer trafficking, talent services, location recording and foreign language services, he adds.

Singer himself has an eclectic background, spanning everything from TV and radio production, marketing, advertising and creative development to sales, management, budgeting and strategic planning.  A film and television graduate of the Newhouse School at Syracuse, he got his start working on commercial shoots in New York. He then transitioned to the agency side and worked his way up through the production department, working as a producer, senior producer and head of production at such shops as JWT, BBDO, Bozell/Eskew, Cline Davis Mann and Kirshenbaum & Bond.

Singer left the agency world and joined audio post facility Sound Lounge in 2002 to launch a full-service audio production company. He left Sound Lounge in 2011 and was most recently partner and EP at Propeller Music Group.

Editor Ben Whitten joins Northern Lights

NYC-based post studio Northern Lights has added veteran editor Ben Whitten to its staff. Whitten has nearly two decades of experience as an editor, with work spanning commercials, broadcast promos, long form and PSAs. He has worked many ad agencies over the years, including Grey, JWT, Y&R, DraftFCB, as well as networks like USA Network, Food Network and WE. Prior to joining Northern Lights, Whitten cut campaigns for the shows White Collar, Burn Notice, Complications and Suits.

Whitten uses Avid Media Composer as his main tool. “About six years ago, the company I was at switched over to Final Cut, so I worked exclusive on Final Cut 7 for two years,” he explains. “But I switched back over to Avid; besides my familiarity with the system, I missed how ‘real’ the realtime editing and effects are in Avid.”

Whitten studied Jazz Performance at Philadelphia’s The University of the Arts before heading to NYC hoping to work in the recording industry. At night he interned at a record label, but during the day he held a job at a boutique ad agency — it was there he got the chance to cut a number of small projects. In addition to editing, he climbed the ranks to director of broadcast production, overseeing both in-house and outside production including editing, sound design, recording, mixing and licensing.

With more editing under his belt, Whitten moved on to Mad House, an edit shop where he spent nearly 15 years working with ad agencies on campaigns including an Addy Award-winning USPS 9/11 spot featuring Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” and a series of music-driven spots for Burger King. He also used his musical background on a range of projects for Atlantic Records artists for almost a decade.

So why Northern Lights, and why now? Why NL and why now?  “I have always been a fan of the creativity and quality of the work that comes from Northern Lights,” says Whitten. ” I am also impressed with how well they’ve done building a truly one-stop creative shop. When the opportunity opened up to talk with [the partners] about joining the team, I was really interested and intrigued. After talking with them I knew this was the right place for me.”

Check out Whitten’s reel.