In 2001, filmmakers and longtime collaborators Michael Bay and Scott Gardenhour founded The Institute for the Enhancement of Perceptual Awareness. Originally designed to integrate strategic brand storytelling with extensive creativity to create effective branded entertainment, media campaigns, and innovative content of every length, medium, and format, The Institute produced some of the most successful and awarded film, television, and advertising projects in the world. Through The Institute, Bay directed and produced spots for Victoria’s Secret, Lexus, Budweiser, Reebok, Mercedes-Benz, and Nike while Gardenhour picked up a Gold Lion winner in Cannes.
“After launching his career as an award-winning commercial and music video director, MICHAEL BAY quickly emerged as one of Hollywood’s boldest and most bankable feature film directors. Characterized by his aggressive visual style and high-octane action sequences that have become his cinematic signature, the films that Bay has directed and produced via his two production companies have grossed $9.4 billion worldwide.
His directing resume includes the films “Bad Boys” and “Bad Boys 2,” both starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence; “The Rock” starring Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery; “Armageddon” starring Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis; “Pearl Harbor” starring Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale; “The Island” starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson; as well as four “Transformers” blockbusters. The franchise has grossed over $2.4 billion; the latest installment, “Transformers: Age Of Extinction,” opened at a staggering $300 million globally and broke box office records in China.
Bay also has three television shows in production, and is producing four additional films. He is the founder and principal partner of Platinum Dunes, a production company originally conceived to give talented commercial and video directors a chance to break into the feature world.
A graduate of Wesleyan University and Art Center College of Design, Bay has won virtually every major award in the commercial industry, including Cannes’ Golden Lion, the Grand Prix Clio, and the Directors Guild of America’s Commercial Director of the Year award. His “Got Milk?” campaign resides in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
An L.A. native, Michael has called Miami home for the past three years. Bay Films now operates from South Beach while Platinum Dunes from Santa Monica.”
Gardenhour began his career working on large scale music videos and commercials. He produced many award-winning commercials including the ‘Aaron Burr’ and ‘Baby & Cat’ spots for the original ‘Got Milk?’ campaign winning numerous awards including a Clio. Also in 2001, Gardenhour joined Propaganda Films – one of the world’s most influential production companies – and helped launch the careers of David Fincher, Simon West, Spike Jonze, Dominic Sena, and Mark Romanek. Under Gardenhour, the Commercial Division was awarded the Palme d’Or in Cannes for ‘Best Commercial Production Company’ and The Institute was awarded an Emmy for Hallmark’s ‘Required Reading’. When invited to speak at the Wharton School of Business, Gardenhour discussed the discipline of brand marketing and its potential to inform the development, production, and marketing of entertainment projects.