May 13, 2014
Henry may have a pleasant and rather unassuming name, but the young French production company has come very far, very fast. It has just agreed on a collaboration with Reset Content in the US, which will give its clients access to A-list directors such as David Fincher, Guy Ritchie, Garth Davis, Joseph Kosinski, PES, Tim Miller, Twin, Vesa Manninen and Andre Stringer.
“We already had quite a few well-known European names,” says Henry co-founder Jean Ozannat, “but this gives us an even more international profile.”
That’s putting it mildly: Reset was set up by Fincher and Dave Morrison – former head of commercials at Anonymous – in 2012 to bring great directors to “high level” advertising. At the time, Morrison told Creativity that he and Fincher wanted a light structure that would enable them to pick and choose their work. “The problem with big overhead is you have to match it every month, so you can't be as selective in the work you do.”
Jean Ozannat and his business partner Jean-Luc Bergeron founded Henry in 2009. As you’ll have noticed, neither of them is called Henry. “It just sounded right,” Jean says.
The naming story also reflects Henry’s familial way of doing things. The representation deal with Reset is almost a handshake agreement. The same is true of all Henry’s relationships, which include Bacon in Scandinavia, Czar in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany and Nexus in London.
All this has added up to a glittering roster of talent, including Andreas Nilsson, director of the multi-award-winning “Epic Split” spot featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme for Volvo Trucks; and Martin Werner, whose “Made From Cool” campaign for Danish brand Jack & Jones Premium has reaped a number of prizes.
Last year Henry was ranked the fifth most awarded production company in the world by the Gunn Report. So what’s the secret?
Jean says: “We have the kind of directors who can get the best out of any script. We have a high level of creative vigilance – we battle for the most interesting projects and then we do our utmost to ensure that the result is as creative as possible. I think that commitment has given us a good reputation.”
Henry has 10 permanent staff, including four producers. Although it works in the French market, it has relatively few French directors. There’s the PLEIX collective of digital artists; the duo François Alaux and Hervé de Crécy – who made the Oscar-winning Logorama animated short – and Noémie Saglio, director of the French TV show Connasse (“Bitch”), broadcast on Canal Plus.
“We also represent a number of younger French directors who are just starting out,” says Jean. “We certainly want to support emerging French talent.”
Jean and Jean-Luc have also launched a a couple of siblings to Henry. Its fashion and luxury production house SlowDance has done work for Louis Vuitton (the Emprise jewellery and watch collection) and Dior (cosmetics), among others. Next to hatch will be an as yet unnamed branded content agency.
Along with the deal with Reset, these developments are turning Henry into a production powerhouse. Although Henry would of course be far too discreet to use such a term.