Top L to R: Minhal Baig, Ric Cantor, JD Dillard.
Bottom L to R: Ryan Reichenfeld, Jeff Baena, Liza Mandelup
launches with a clear set of objectives – to provide transparency for directors, create compelling original content, and promote inclusion and diversity. Founder and executive producer of kin, Jacki Sextro, aims to create a space for agencies and brands to discover vibrant and unique directorial voices.
The company ethos is rooted in collaboration – hence the name, kin - which evokes the familial spirit of the Los Angeles-based studio. With kin’s arrival, the next generation of filmmakers has well-informed support to further perfect their craft.
As for the directors she’s drawn to, Sextro says they are makers “whose ideas and work surprise me. The biggest error you can make is to be forgettable or average.” This has led her to assemble an eclectic group of directing talent; each possessing their own singular point of view, yet they are unified by their collaborative approach to production.
kin’s lineup includes Ric Cantor, a D&AD, British Arrow and Cannes Lions-winning director who is known industry-wide for elevating lifestyle, auto and comedy campaigns with a cinematic eye; Jeff Baena, a Lions-winning comedy filmmaker whose features have starred Alison Brie, Thomas Middleditch and Aubrey Plaza; Minhal Baig, a writer (Bojack Horseman, Dune: The Sisterhood) and director whose feature, Hala, about a Muslim teenager coping with the unraveling of her family as she comes into her own, will be released by Apple; JD Dillard, who weaves genre with emotional, character-driven stories, showcased in his Sundance-premiering features Sleight and Sweetheart; Liza Mandelup, an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has explored what it means to be a mom, athlete, coder and fangirl; and Ryan Reichenfeld, who connects viewers with dynamic subjects, from skaters to footballers, by creating vivid scenes in everyday moments.
“I love that we’re in an era where there is a spectrum of tone in advertising,” says Sextro. “Ultimately, my role is to help the directors shape ideas in a way where creative teams walk away with an elevated finished product.”
For over a decade, Sextro has been part of award-winning teams at pedigreed production companies including Hungry Man, Biscuit and The Directors Bureau. As someone who was “lured in by music videos, then wooed by advertising,” Sextro’s excitement for the industry has only intensified over the years, leading her to launch this visionary company.
Making the leap from executive producer to business owner, Jacki says: “I had a list of goals - a commitment to diversity, green practices and creating memorable original content. I looked around for a company that shared these goals, but didn’t see it. I knew that if I felt that way, directors must be searching for it too.”
kin is represented by Lauren Schuchman at Diplomat for the West Coast, Kitty Monaghan at Monaghan Talent Rangers across the Midwest, and Carolyn Hill and Amanda Rosenberg at Carolyn Reps in the East.