The Former

Over the last 20 years, The Institute has worked with and helped develop some of today’s mainstream directors. From Marco Gentile to Oliver Castro, Jonathan Mostow to Rupert Smith, and Tim Story to Prakash Varma, The Institute has served as a launchpad for many of today’s hottest talent. Check out the links and information below to find out more about these individuals. As eternal advocates for all our members we’ve ever worked with, we continually promote their work, platforms, and contact points.

Marco Gentile

“Marco Gentile born in Italy but divided his time between his native Milan, London and Paris before moving to Los Angeles in 2015.

Film captivated Marco at the age of 7 when his mother took him to see Federico Fellini’s “And The Ship Sails On”. After college he started working in music videos production and collaborating with directors on the creative side. Some of his ideas went on to become music videos and he caught the attention of Filmmaster, the largest production company in Italy. He began directing one year later. That same year he won a Fulbright Scholarship and went to the USA to study film at Emerson College in Boston and he graduated with a Masters in Film and Media Arts. He returned to Milan after graduation to shoot music videos for the major Italian artists as well as started to work in Commercials for Italy, Germany, France and the UK

The spot Marco credits as his breakthrough is “Life n’ Roll” for Rolling Stone Magazine, shot with BBDO/DLV Milan and which won a Cannes Silver Lion. The BMW “Stories” Series was another awarding winning full integrated campaign that put Marco on the map. Since moving to the US Marco has been focused on US commercials at the very highest level.

A visual storyteller infusing European cinematic style with American production values, Gentile has an unapologetic charm and collaborative nature and been tapped to direct spots for a host of global clients, including Mercedes, BMW, SKY, Adidas, Vodafone, Orange, Nissan, Coke, Toyota, Volvo, Grey Goose, Lexus.”

Jonathan Mostow

“Jonathan Mostow is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He has directed films such as Breakdown, U-571, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and Surrogates.

Mostow was born in Woodbridge, Connecticut. His father, George Daniel Mostow, was a mathematician and his mother is a social worker. He graduated from Harvard University. He also trained at the American Repertory Company and the Lee Strasberg Institute. He grew up in a Conservative Jewish household.

In 1989, Mostow directed a direct-to-video horror comedy, Beverly Hills Bodysnatchers. He was originally attached to direct The Game (1997), with Kyle MacLachlan and Bridget Fonda for the lead roles. However, he ended up being an executive producer of the David Fincher-directed film. In 1997, he directed Breakdown, a thriller film starring Kurt Russell. Around the same time, he signed a deal with Universal Pictures. Both Mostow and Lieberman received a TV deal, via his Mostow/Lieberman Productions company to Studios USA. In 2000, Mostow directed a World War II-era submarine film, U-571. He assembled a cast including Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, TC Carson, and Jon Bon Jovi. The film topped the U.S. box office chart. In 2003, he directed the third installment of The Terminator film series, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mostow co-wrote a comic book series, The Megas, with John Harrison. Illustrated by Peter Rubin, it was published on Virgin Comics in 2008. He returned to direct another film, Surrogates, in 2009. Based on the comic book series, it starred Bruce Willis. In 2017, he directed The Hunter’s Prayer, an action thriller film starring Sam Worthington.

In 2018, Mostow wed American author Laurie Sandell.”

Rupert Smith

Rupert is a three time BAFTA winning and Emmy nominated Director, DP and Producer based in Los Angeles. He is a current member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and British Academy Film and TV Arts (BAFTA).

Originally from the UK, Rupert has over 20 years of experience making high quality TV and commercials on both sides of the Atlantic in every field from hard hitting documentary to reality to large scale entertainment shows. He works as a multi-cam director, show runner/series producer, and is an accomplished DP and camera operator who can shoot on all current camera models as well as many years taking shows through post-production.

Rupert is highly experienced at working globally in extreme and hostile environments and renowned for bringing great storytelling, strong visual flair and high production values to every project I work on, large or small.

Agency -UTA – Josh Levenbrown

Tim Story

“TIM STORY is the number one African American director in the world with his seven feature films grossing over $1 billion in revenue. He is the only African American director to have six films debut at No. 1 at the box office during opening weekend.

Born on March 13, 1970 in Los Angeles, California, Story began directing at the age of 12, making silent films with an 8mm camera he inherited from his older brother. His career aspirations expanded when he began producing talent shows at Westchester High School in Los Angeles. He was voted President of his class in his senior year and was classmates with jazz pianist Eric Reed and actresses Regina King and Nia Long. While still in high school, Story briefly flirted with the music industry as a rapper and performed with rap legend Ice T’s group Rhyme Syndicate. However, just before signing a record deal with Warner Bros., Story chose to no longer pursue performing, after learning that his close friend and fellow group member had been fatally shot.

After graduation, Story attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he studied Cinema Production at the School for Cinema Arts. He honed his storytelling skills in USC’s prestigious film school while his twin sister, Tamryn, became a star on the school’s women’s basketball team. He then returned to the music industry, this time by directing music videos. His cinematic style was showcased in videos of artists who represented diverse music genres ranging from R&B to pop including N-Sync, K-Ci & JoJo, R. Kelly, Tyrese and India Arie.

During this same time period, Tim and his wife Vicky founded The Story Company – an entertainment production house – where Story financed, produced, wrote, edited and directed two feature length films – One Of Us Tripped (1996 winner of the Black Filmmaker’s Hall of Fame Film Festival) and The Firing Squad (1998).

In 2002, Story made his directorial debut with the smash hit comedy Barbershop, starring Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson and Michael Ealy. The film opened at number one at the box office and garnered an NAACP Image Award® nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture. He followed that success in 2004, with the action comedy Taxi, starring Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Esposito. Immediately after Taxi, Story went to work on the epic adventure Fantastic Four (2005). The movie; starring Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis; based on the celebrated Marvel comic premiered at number one at the box office and went on to earn over $330 million worldwide. It is Story’s most successful film to date. Story also helmed the 2007 sequel, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. That film also debuted at number one at the box office and brought in over $289 million. Story also directed Academy Award® winner Forrest Whittaker in Hurricane Season (2009), the true story of a high school basketball coach and a team of displaced students that he led to the New Orleans State High School Basketball Championship in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In 2012, Story helmed the blockbuster romantic ensemble comedy, Think Like A Man, starring Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Gabrielle Union, Romany Malco, Regina Hall, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good and Terrence J. The film adaptation of Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man” was number one at the box office for two weeks and grossed over $96 million worldwide.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the organization known around the world for its annual Academy Awards – now officially known as The Oscars, invited Story to join its director’s branch as a member in 2013 making Story one of the few African American directors in the historic organization.

In 2014, Story’s next feature film Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, debuted number one at the box office during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend opening of the film. To date, it is one of the biggest January opening box office tallies of all time. The film also went on to be number one at the box office for three consecutive weeks and has grossed over $155 million worldwide. Later that year, Story followed the hit with Think Like A Man Too (2014), also number one at the box office – which grossed $70 million globally.

As an executive producer, Story produced the Fox television series, Standoff (2006) and the urban comedy film First Sunday (2008).

Story lives in Los Angeles with his wife Vicky and their three children.”

Prakash Varma

“Prakash is an Indian filmmaker who has directed and produced many popular advertisement campaigns including the iconic Vodafone commercials featuring ZooZoos. Varma heads Nirvana Films, one of India’s most successful production houses of television commercials. Nirvana Films was ranked first in the country by Brand Equity Agency Reckoner in 2011.

In September 2009, Varma signed to Michael Bay’s advertisement film production house The Institute to produce commercials for them.”