Take away the awards and the accolades and the success, and PRETTYBIRD co-founder Paul Hunter is simply a director who loves telling great stories.
His films cross mediums and genres, from comedy to sports and drama, but are always distinctly Paul’s with a signature style that captures audiences’ attention through experiences that are both never-before-seen and relatable in their humanity. Throughout his career, Paul has pushed boundaries (and himself) in new directions – but always with a humble, hard-working attitude.
Film became a passion of Paul’s at an early age. He graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Radio, TV & Film and an eye set on directing music videos. Paul wasted no time getting on set, working on every job he could – from PA to camera crew to script supervisor – to learn everything about the craft of filmmaking. He quickly made himself invaluable, and to get to the director’s chair, Paul created a handful of spec commercials and videos before landing his first professional directing gig – a $5,000 music video, which was financed by a friend. Paul went on to create some of the most classic videos of all time before segueing into advertising.
Broadening his horizons, Paul quickly defined his distinct brand of visuals and made his mark on the commercial world with his iconic Nike “Freestyle” spot, which earned him numerous awards from AICP, One Show, D&AD and an Emmy nomination. Paul continued his winning streak with Nike, taking home the prestigious Cannes Gold Lion for his landmark “Stickman” campaign. After numerous successful visual-based campaigns, Paul set out to tackle another passion – comedy. Determined to master the genre, Paul even took acting lessons to fine tune his understanding of the actors’ process. Campaigns like Burger King “Tiny Hands” and Kia with Blake Griffin, blended Paul’s visual style with a smart, offbeat sense of humor – transcending genre and proving Paul a tour-de-force in the industry.
Paul’s artistic vision has earned him repeated commissions to create global campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Beats, Gap, Pepsi, Kia, Rexona, Volkswagen and of course Nike and Burger King. His 2007 Burger King “Stuff of Legends” spot took home a Bronze Lion at Cannes, and in the years since, Paul has directed memorable, award-winning spots for Sony, Adidas, Apple, Audi, Infiniti, Orange, Nissan and Microsoft. In 2012, he earned international recognition and a Bronze Lion for directing a four-spot campaign for Logitech that showcased the effect of music on groundbreaking moments in history, from the WWI “Christmas Truce” to the Arab Spring in Tunisia. Paul soon embarked on a campaign of intense, dramatic spots for Beats by Dre, set in the world of sports rivalries and featuring Kevin Garnett and Colin Kaepernick, which both won CLIOs in 2014. His T-Mobile spot featuring Kim Kardashian aired during Super Bowl XLIX and was rated amongst the top ads of the game. At this year’s Super Bowl 50, T-Mobile revisited the theme of celebrity with music superstar Drake, parodying his hit song and dance moves in “Restricted Bling.”
Paul has continued to take his passion in new directions, seeking alternative outlets to create and share stories. He’s broken ground in new media with award-winning branded entertainment campaigns such as the Adidas Brotherhood web-series starring NBA All-Stars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, which he developed and directed, as well as executive producing a multi-platform project for Rihanna’s album Rated R.
Alongside these successes, Paul has earned the industry’s most prestigious awards for his music videos. From hip-hop and R&B to rock, he made a name for himself as a rare director with the talent to create videos in multiple music genres. Some of his most memorable projects include The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” (MTV Best Rap Video), D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel?” (MTV Best R&B Video) and Christina Aguilera’s “Lady Marmalade,” featuring Mya, Lil’ Kim and Pink (Video of the Year). In addition to a string of awards and nominations from MTV, Paul has frequently received accolades from both the Music Video Production Association Awards and The Billboard Awards for his direction of such legendary artists as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, U2, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Manson, Lenny Kravitz and Jennifer Lopez. Most recently, his video for Pharrell’s “Freedom” was nominated for Best Music Video at the 58th annual Grammy Awards.
Paul is currently developing several feature films under the PRETTYBIRD banner.