Heineken “Connections”

Chris Smith

Wisconsin-born director Chris Smith is known for independent films that reveal some of the more curious aspects of the “American dream”. Wry, empathetic, and wise, Smith’s films occupy a special niche in contemporary cinema. The iconic American Movie follows an irrepressible young director cobbling together a regional horror film. It won the Sundance Documentary Competition in 1999.

The Pool won the 2008 Audience Award at Sundance and gained glowing reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film’s New York premiere was accompanied by a MoMA retrospective of Smith’s other feature work titled Chris Smith: American Original. His recent nonfiction film titled Collapse premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival to overwhelmingly positive reviews.

With an expert eye for casting and a careful, precise production aesthetic, Smith’s commercial campaigns have garnered him equal acclaim. His work for Cingular Wireless and Geico in 2007 earned him multiple Cannes Lions. An AICP Award for Excellence was given to his Truth campaign. The hilarious “Routan Boom” spots for Volkswagen, featuring Brooke Shields, received a Gold Clio for Interactive in 2009.

Chris has made a lasting impression on the creative advertising world. He has directed for brands like AT&T, Snapple, ESPN, Sprint, Truth, Geico, PlayStation, Cingular, AIG, Verizon, T-Mobile, and BMW. He also helmed a series of spots for Wonderful Pistachios, featuring the likes of Dennis Rodman and Miss Piggy, as well as a spot for Esurance starring John Krasinski.

Smith directed campaigns for Samsung with 72andSunny and for Microsoft alongside Omelet and Draft FCB. The momentum has continued with spots for Liberty Mutual and a continuing campaign with Leo Burnett for Esurance, following hilarious characters showing that not everything is as easy as getting a quick insurance quote.

In 2017, Smith directed Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, a documentary detailing Jim Carrey’s transformation into the role of Andy Kaufman for the film Man on the Moon. The film received critical acclaim, earning first prize at the Detroit Film Critics Society and nominations at the Emmys and the Venice Film Festival. 

In 2019, Smith premiered Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened, a documentary about the disastrous Fyre Festival breaking documentary streaming records on Netflix. He also directed the docu-series The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann for Netflix. The documentary takes a detailed look at the disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday with her family.