With specialists in music videos, features, brand integration and more, this Miami production house is opening doors for artists and brands. From her perch in South Florida – still the unofficial capital of Latin America, at least until after the World Cup is over –Debbie Margolis Horwitz has quite a view. You might think that odd, given Florida's reputation for being flat as a pancake, from a topographical standpoint. But we're speaking metaphorically here, and trust me, this one fits like a glove.
Horwitz' vision is based on the fact that her four-year old production company, Kreative Kontent, is busy positioning itself for the multitasking, multi-screen, multicultural future of media, with ongoing work in an enviable range of categories, genres and niches. At the same time, Horwitz has built a strong roster of talent designed to not only support her concept for the future, but one that's tailor-made to meet the ever-shifting demands of today's marketplace.
For example, Kreative Kontent is home to director David Rousseau, who's the preferred director for most of the music videos for the Latin hip-hop artist Pitbull. Kreative Kontent has already begun to produce some of Rousseau's music video work, including one for the Colombian reggaeton artist Reykon, and is positioning him for more commercial work. He's already shot ads for brands like Bud Light (starring Pitbull, of course), and the luxe Paradise Island resort The Cove.
Kreative Kontent's Fro Rojas, a homegrown talent who's worked with Horwitz since her days at BVI and Manhattan Transfer (more on this in a moment), is an editor turned triple-threat filmmaker who's directed ads, branded content and features. His work for Ford and its Hispanic agency, Zubi, could fill a showreel all by itself.
Another standout is Steve "Spaz" Williams, a legend in VFX for his CG work on features like "Jurassic Park," "The Abyss" and "Terminator 2," who went on to launch a successful career as a live action director. He's directed over 300 commercials over the years, including memorable Super Bowl spots for Blockbuster.
The work of Kreative Kontent runs the gamut, as one might expect from a company led by an experienced pro like Horwitz. They handle their share of traditional broadcast ad work; notable examples include their work for AT&T and Y&R Bravo, for which they've produced numerous multi-spot comedy/dialogue campaigns directed by Williams, and Rojas' funny Ford spot starring the Chilean heartthrob Cristián de la Fuente, a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" here in the US. Rojas also directed a massive campaign for the automaker that's made stars out of its two happy-go-lucky characters, "Fulano" and "Mengano." What started as an on-line only effort has spun off into broadcast ads and even live appearances for the bro's on Spanish-language TV specials.
The company's roster also includes the veteran Colombian director Oscar Azula, along with Luis Enrique,Joso Guridi and Federico Vidal; all are versatile filmmakers able to cover lots of territory in terms of genres and techniques. Azula, for example, is directing the animated kids' TV series Kreative Kontent created and is co-producing with RCN Comerciales, "Annie Sunbeam & Friends"; Enrique's work includes spots for a number of automotive brands, including Kia, Nissan, Mazda and Chrysler; Guridi has done everything from shoot food and beverage spots to working with scripts heavy on kids, comedy and visual effects; and Vidal's reel includes spots that range from fashion to fast food, with an emphasis on lifestyle and performance.
Kreative Kontent was founded in 2010 and is a WBENC-certified woman-owned business, says Horwitz. Its range of projects reflects her varied 20-year career, which covers just about every aspect of production and post. A South Florida native, she got her start as an assistant editor, initially working in news (which, she recalls, "taught me how to switch gears very quickly, especially when it came to budgets") before she landed at BVI, at the time one of the largest post production companies in Miami. There she worked her way up through every department, handling post for major ad campaigns and working on network promos, TV series, corporate work, videogames, features and music videos.
BVI eventually merged with Manhattan Transfer, at the time a New York-based powerhouse in film transfer and color correction which was owned by Ascent Media, resulting in a flood of feature film work for the Latin American market. That gave Horwitz the opportunity to work directly with a range of top motion picture directors. At around the same time Manhattan Transfer tapped Horwitz to launch its own production arm, Within Pictures, so they could broaden their range of services to clients.
It was a good time to be running a production company affiliated with a major post house, she notes, as the Hispanic ad market was exploding and there were exciting opportunities for her and her directors to branch out into new areas. After Ascent sold its South Florida holdings to New Art, a large Mexico City-based post production company, Horwitz felt the time was right to go out on her own, which was when she unveiled Kreative Kontent.
One of the big advantages of being independent was the ability for Horwitz to be more selective about the projects she took on, and given the contacts she's built up over the years, that proved to be a particularly fertile prospect. It also allowed her to pursue more of her passions for long-form and entertainment work, something she's been working in steadily for some time.
For example, her involvement in the crime drama "Cocaine Cowboys," which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006, and the European thriller "Last Time Forever," were early examples of her work in long form. She went on to be a contributing producer to the PBS series "Journey to Planet Earth," starring Matt Damon, and was a producer of the DIRECTV pilot "Piedra Papel y Tijera."
She also executive produced and produced several award winning short films, including one directed by Fro Rojas, and later served a producer for his feature "Tio Papi." And for Susan Seidelman – best known for the '80s hit "Desperately Seeking Susan" – Horwitz was Co-Executive Producer and Post Production Supervisor for her feature "Musical Chairs" and served as a product placement and post production consultant for last year's "The Hot Flashes," which starred Brooke Shields, Wanda Sykes and Daryl Hannah.