Vampire Weekend “Sunflower”

Jonah Hill

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 music video directorial debut, 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 filmmaking 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.

Most recently, Jonah directed the second episode of Adam McKay’s HBO series Winning Time on the rise of the Los Angeles Lakers dynasty. Hill is also set to executive produce Netflix’s feature film adaptation of Chris Leslie-Hynan’s novel Ride Around Shining. The novel tells the story of a young white chauffeur and his wealthy Black employer, a professional basketball player, Hill’s company Strong Baby Productions is producing the feature.