Larry Fitzgerald

Manny Bernardez

How did you get into directing?
As a kid I was always intrigued by the film world. But it wasn’t until the day that I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey that a switch inside me tripped. Never to reset again. And since that day, I’ve been actively honing my skillset to try and become as good of a director as I can be.

What is your most recent project?
Just finished directing a super fun animated athlete super hero digital content piece for Footlocker/Nike. Had the pleasure of working with a very talented cast of animators, as well as very willing and awesome athletes who were gracious enough to let us record their VO’s and render their likeness in super hero form.

What is the best part of being a director?
Aside from bossing people around…. Ha!
I like the ability to bring in people from all walks of life, and work together to create something cohesive (ideally great). Whether it’s the talent in front of the lens or behind the camera, the human variable has always been magically chaotic and beautiful to me.

What is the worst part of being a director?
It’s the same part of being an only child. It’s the same part of being a creative….Being told “No”.

What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I hate limitations of any kind. Right now the most important thing for me is to continue to produce great creative work. And further push my creative voice and skills to the next level.

Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates most with you?
No mentor per se…. But I have some quotes I live by… Funny enough I can’t remember any of them!!!!!…. But they are in there…. Laying actively dormant in my subconscious.

Who is your favorite director and why?
Mike Nichols’ utmost respect for and ability to empathize with his characters; Stanley Kubrick’s amazing versatility & visual craftsmanship; Martin Scorsese’s extremely colorful and expressive characters; Alfred Hitchcock was just amazing and incredibly tasteful; David Fincher’s ability to bring darkness to every single subject matter.
That said I also love writers. My top three: Charlie Kaufman, Noah Baumbach and Aaron Sorkin.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My all time favorite movie is The Godfather. Second to that would be The Graduate…(Mike Nichols, man!) followed by Fight Club and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I try and watch at least one movie per day. But in the past couple of years I have been watching more serial TV. Some great stuff out there!
Commercials and branded content tends to be vapid. Only a few of them really strike a lasting chord in me. Being an ex brand/ad man myself I’m mostly intrigued by the complete creative strategy than by the separate components of an ad campaign.

Tell us about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Have worked in pretty much all aspects of the business. Started in on-air departments of several cable networks, worked in a few and started my own design/animation studio; post houses, digital shops, all which led to a job with Nike. By far the most rich, fruitful and incredible experience in my career. I cut my director, writer, creative, marketing, global thinking chops there. After my long stint with Nike, it made absolute sense for me to go to agency side. When 2011 rolled in, I realized that I needed to finally follow my heart, take a risk and become a director. And I’m glad I did.