He is a genius... Beck's music video "Cell Phone's Dead" was directed by Michel Gondry.

Partizan: Expanding visual creativity

Late last month, the Shizuoka Contents Valley Festival (SCVF) took place during 3 days in the Shizuoka prefecture, famous for Mount Fuji’s soaring beauty. Accordingly to the intentions of the newly founded consortium ICN, it wants to promote the local creative industry and do the artistic networking on an international basis. Meaning – lots of video screenings, talk shows and product exhibitions with national and international guests. But the most memorable event at this year was a screening by Jordan McGarry, the head of development at Partizan. This is the video production company where many talented directors such as Michel Gondry belong. Therefor PingMag shows the vast creative output of this one single production company today.

Written by Chiemi
Translated by Natsumi Yamane
With the kind cooperation of SCVF and Hybrid

Poster for Shizuoka Contents Valley Festival

SCVF at Euphonia

Talk show with guest Jordan McGarry from Partizan

Partizan is a production company founded in 1991 by Georges Bermann. They discover new talents and introduce them as directors for music videos, TV commercials, short and feature films and viral marketing. Today, Partizan has offices in Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles.

Now PingMag is going to show some of their brilliant works, accompanied by the comments of Partizan’s head of development, Jordan McGarry. We provide the links to as many videos as possible, so hopefully you enjoy the full works, too!

Recent Music Videos


Justice V Simian “We Are Your Friends”, directed by Rozan&Schmeltz, also previously featured at PingMag (Click here for movie).
And never fall sleep at parties…!

Tiga’s “You’re Gonna Want Me”, directed by Olivier Gondry (Click here for movie).
Very cool vid making you feel like watching it over and over again.

Jordan began by showing us the PV for “We’re Your Friends”, the winner of MTV’s Best Video Award in 2006. In order to portray the tragedies experienced by people who pass out at parties realistically, the directors Rozan & Schmeltz asked their friends to attend the shooting from 9AM on. They then actually made sure to get them as drunk as possible as fast as possible and the video shows the result…

TIGA’s clip is directed by Olivier Gondry, Michel Gondry’s younger brother. He, too, has been featured on PingMag last year. Now this simple clip with a strong visual impact required nearly 30 cameras to film – and the result fits very much in Olivier’s style.

Bright Eyes “At the Bottom”, directed by Cat Solen (Click here for movie).
If your airplane was just about to crash – what would you do?

In her “At the Bottom” PV, Cat Solen, one of the hottest contemporary female directors, expresses the heartwarming moments that might take place in an airplane that is just about to crash – combined with her unique sense of sensibility and humor. Before producing this clip, she apparently asked her friends this one question: “what would you do if you found out the airplane you are on is about to crash?” Find out their answers in the video!

Jordan McGarry: Exciting and fun-to-watch videos often involve an element which makes people curious about how it’s made technically. From that point, we can say that Michel and Olivier Gondry are both well known as the directors of very “clever” videos that naturally evoke this curiosity. Partizan is very supportive of people for letting them be the best they can and letting them realize the things they have in their minds.

Recent Ads


3 Mobile “Expo”, directed by Traktor (Click here for movie). Traktor showed something everyone does during a super boring lecture in very unique way.

Coca-Cola “Minis”, directed by Ace Norton. The stop motion animation gave everyone hard time – but it looks cute!

In a unique way, this commercial for the mobile phone company 3Mobile portrays students secretly throwing memos at each other during a lecture. The clip is directed by Traktor, one of the regular faces at the Cannes Grand Prix. The theme of “We like messages” is cleverly presented through the unique humour of the collective.

Apparently Coca-Cola “Minis” ad directed by Ace Norton was a hard one to make. This stop motion animation was shot outside and not inside like usually. That’s why they had to deal with the changing light as clouds went past and shadows fell across the set!

Peugeot “Easy Life”, directed by Antoine Bardou Jacquet.

Antoine Bardou-Jacquet is a film director accomplished in both live action and animation, and that skill is in full action in his commercial for Peugeot’s “Easy Life”. He is one of the rare directors who can create such an inspiring and dynamic work without any help of CG. He also produces just as splendid music videos as he does commercials.

Jordan McGarry: Most of the directors getting signed by Partizan already have a few pieces of work to show us and they also have serious talent. Some of them have just graduated from film schools, others have been working as film directors, but decided to move to Partizan. After they got signed, they usually start their career by making music videos with a small budget, then move on to making something like TV commercials with a bigger budget. At the end, most of the directors seem to want to do feature films.

Classic Ads


Levi’s “Drugstore”, directed by Michel Gondry (Click here for movie). Very unlucky coincident…

Fox Sports “Regional campaign” directed by Traktor.
There are many forms of sport we don’t know…

Michel Gondry is famous for his music videos, but his creative talent is also evident in his commercial works, too. Until 2003, his “Drugstore” ad for Levi’s was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the commercial that has won the most prizes in the world.

In their commercial for “Fox Sports”, Traktor – the director sextet famous for its frequent black humour – introduces a series of weird sports that “might” exist somewhere in the world. Incidentally, Traktor selects two of its members for each of its projects and these chosen ones then work together with each other. It’s also said that according to their rules, the names of the selected poeple are never made public.


Honda’s “Cog”, directed by Antoine Bardou Jacquet.
Very famous TV ad that is 2 mins long…!

Levi’s Sta-Prest “Flat Eric”, directed by Quentin Dupieux (Click here for movie).
The director made not just the ad, but [the music](http://ourlyrics.net/), too!

The Honda “Cog” commercial with the car parts slowly shifting in a chain reaction is a work that received huge public attention. The Guardian newspaper later announced that the clip required more than 600 takes during its production! By the way, this is the work that beat Michel Gondry’s Guinness Record, too.

As for the Levi’s commercial, not only did the BGM used in the spot enter the charts, but also Flat Eric, the main character of the commercial, became a huge hit across the world! There must surely be some readers who fell in love with Eric’s cute looks, too!

Jordan McGarry: It is hard to say what kind of ads can win more awards because they all are made for different campaigns and therefore win awards for different reasons. However, the main factor of these award-winning ads is that they catch people’s attention and make people want to talk about it.

Classic Music Videos

White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”, directed by Alex & Martin (Click here for movie).
Both the idea and the visualization are so impressive! A must-see vid.

Alex & Martin’s “Seven Nation Army” is a work of art only using the three colours red, black and white throughout its simple composition. See how it brings out the full attraction of the American rock duo White Stripes. It’s frequently shown at film festivals – so check it out if you haven’t seen it already.


White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With A Girl”, directed by Michel Gondry (Click here for movie).
Michel Gondry’s masterpiece doesn’t need to be explained.

Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water”, directed by Michel Gondry.
Another masterpiece from Gondry.

Michel Gondry’s clip for White Stripe’s “Fell In Love With A Girl” also became the cover of the hit DVD, “Directors Label”. The clip was produced by videotaping a live stage and reproducing the digitized image with LEGO cubes to make a frame by frame animation. This is a cheeky PV shot during this heyday of pixel arts.

Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water” is another PV directed by Michel Gondry. In a truly intriguing style, he portrays the moments where two girls intersect by coincidence in their everyday lives. Incidentally, after seeing Cibo Matto live on stage, Michel is said to have offered to produce this music clip himself.

Jordan McGarry: Personally I love Michel Gondry’s “Sugar Water” video. I’ve watched it so many times but still I think it’s a really great piece of work and I still don’t really know how he made it. Michel is a director who makes features and TV ads but still makes music videos, too. He does that because making music videos is a good chance to try new ideas and new technique for many film directors. And sometimes the ideas for music videos or short films catch people’s attention and get generated into TV ads by agencies.

The Dark Room


Electric Breaks’ “Pro X Fade”, directed by Chris Cairns (Click here for movie).
Cairns won the ‘best new film director’ of the CADS Music Vision Awards in 2005.

DJ Dangermouse’s “The Grey Video”, directed by Ramon&Pedro (Click here for movie).
Amazing collaboration of the Beatles and Jay Z!

Chris Cairns is the newcomer, who, in his viral promotion for Electric Breaks, turned a street corner into turntables. Apparently, he was found when he won a Kodak student film awards competition, but has now joined the professionals since rocketing to fame with his music video “Daft Punk” for LCD Soundsystem.

The dream collaboration by Jay Z and the Beatles was realized in “The GreyVideo” by Ramon & Pedro, who only directed their first music video in 2003. This work sparked a boom on the Internet.

“Viral Insanity” directed by Saam (Click here for movie)
Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity”‘s remake version, featuring JKay and film directors Team Stush. …hilarious!

A bold remake using Jonathan Glazer’s music video for Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” was produced by Saam, a Partizan member since 2004. The people relieving themselves behind JayKay are the members of the up and coming directing collective Team Stush, including the director himself.

Jordan McGarry: Over last couple of years, Partizan decided to have a new division called the Dark Room which gives directors the chance to experiment more in short films, low-budget music videos, TV commercials and viral commercials. Sometimes these works are seen on the internet and become very popular without any proper promotion. Saam’s “Viral Insanity” and Ramon & Pedro’s “Grey Video” are probably the good examples because they have never been broadcasted on TV – but still became very popular.


At at the SCVF, from left to right: Chan Kahing from MTV China, Jordan McGarry from Partizan and David Drummond from Mirrorball.

Today, anyone can make films so easily and the work can be seen by many people easily, too. And because there is so much work out there, one piece still has to have the “ability” to stand out.

From this screening, I found that Partizan is not only a production company that makes so much great work, but this is also a company that tries to make an environment for directors to expand their creativity. This amazing work we see on the internet, TV and DVDs must definitely be the result of Partizan’s efforts and its love for these directors.

Partizan is always looking for talented directors. If you think you are the one, just send your work to them!

  • http://i5bala.com Balakumar Muthu

    Amazing, Is their is any videos of the Shizuoka Contents Valley Festival?

  • Badger

    wow, so many thinks I have seen all by the same company.
    Weird.