Jonah Hill is one of the most humble but also confident artists, singularly focused with his eye on the prize. He draws inspiration from the auteurs with whom he’s had the privilege of working, incorporating elements of their style creating a voice uniquely his own. He joined SMUGGLER with his debut music video, an R-rated 80’s sitcom satire for Danny Brown’s “Ain’t It Funny”, and we’ve had a front row seat to his evolution as a director since.
Jonah found immediate success with his breakout hit Mid90s. Released by A24, the film follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a skate shop. Jonah took a familiar story, inserted gravitas and visual panache, creating a film universally lauded by skaters and non-skaters alike.
The verisimilitude in Mid90s led to his first commercial opportunity, an anti-bullying campaign for Instagram. Conceived as a documentary series of interviews with real people, Jonah brought the same rawness and openness to the project as he did with Mid90s. The films focus on a wide range of issues plaguing teenagers. Additional commercial projects include his work for Adidas Originals out of Johannes Leonardo. Conceived and narrated by Jonah, the film is equal parts Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, and follows the story of athletes training in a Willy Wonka-esque sports facility.
In addition to his feature films and commercials, Jonah has emerged as one of the go-to directors for some of music’s top artists. His video “Sunflower” for Vampire Weekend finds inspiration in Pablo Ferro’s split screen sequence in The Thomas Crown Affair and follows Ezra Koenig and Steve Lacy around famous Upper West Side haunts featuring a cameo from Jerry Seinfeld. His video “Wake Up” for Travis Scott is a black and white visual feast. Shot by the award winning cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, Jonah leans into high concept storytelling and harnesses the power of the camera as Travis floats through the aftermath of a blow out party.
Jonah Hill is one of a kind. He disproved critics with the runaway success of his debut feature film and has quickly become one of the most sought after directors in commercials, music videos and film and tv. He’s had the rare opportunity to learn the craft first-hand from the all-time greats and refuses to be boxed in as an artist. He doesn’t let people’s expectations dictate his next move, always staying true to himself. He leaves his ego at the door, lets his co-conspirators into his process, creating art that is uniquely his own. Filmmaking is the ultimate collaborative art form and no one embraces that spirit more than Jonah. Past successes point to future achievements and we cannot wait to continue to be surprised every step of the way.