The advertising industry welcomes a new powerhouse player in Ampersand, a talent-focused production company that celebrates the ‘andness’ of collaboration in its most human form. The company is led by managing director Phillip Detchmendy, who brings decades of top-level production experience and a deep understanding of the client’s needs throughout the process.
Of his vision for the company, Phillip says: “Ampersand represents the additive power that comes from bringing together different components to make brand stories come to life for our agency and client partners. The real magic happens when the combination of elements – amazing talent and top-level crew, diversity, global thinking, open-mindedness and a can-do approach – sing together perfectly. Simply put, Ampersand – the andness of it all – means more for everyone.”
A pillar of the industry, Phillip has held executive producer and managing director roles at leading companies including RSA Films, Satellite, Paranoid U.S., and Tool of North America. Throughout this time, the work he has EP-ed has won every major award from the likes of Cannes Lions, AICP, D&AD, The One Show and The Webbys.
The Ampersand roster launches with two esteemed talents. Kathi Prosser’s background as a graphic designer has allowed her to build a far-ranging and highly awarded body of work. For the past 15 years, she has been signed to The Sweetshop in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand, directing all over the globe for clients including Kia, CVS, AmEx, Walmart, AT&T, Emirates Airlines, Guinness, Labatt, JC Penney, Mars, Nescafe, TRESemme and Dove.
As the pandemic made everyone reconsider what they want out of their careers, for Kathi, that meant focusing on working in North America to be closer to family. As she explains, “The mentality of what Phillip is creating with Ampersand – the intimacy of a small shop – completely aligns with how I am approaching the next phase of my career, and purposefully going from macro to micro, global to local, work-wise.”
Beginning her career working on predominantly CGI and graphic-oriented commercials, Kathi crafted elaborate dreamlike work for brands such as Avon, MAC, and Three Musketeers. Always driven and ever-evolving, she then broadened her scope to focus on narrative-driven work. Her skillset is always visually motivated, whether she is flexing her technical prowess to craft elaborate post-heavy films for the Ministry of Economic Development to capturing authentic, soulful performances with her repeat campaign work for CVS and the rebranded Venus.
A highlight of Kathi’s career has been breaking into the automotive market. “The fact that Kathi has done three rounds for Kia in the last year speaks to her level of craft and storytelling in this area,” says Phillip. “She brings a real, refreshing sense of humanity and a strong graphic eye to the category.”
Kathi joins the Ampersand roster alongside the company’s first signing, Thibault Debaveye. A French director based in Los Angeles, Thibault’s work possesses the rare fusion of visual and narrative storytelling that comes from someone who is already globally known for his work in the CGI/VFX world, with an academic pedigree that is just as distinctive.
A graduate of France’s Supinfocom, his work was soon in competition at Imagina. VFX pioneers BUF quickly snatched him up, where he honed his craft and became a renowned Flame Artist. Next was nearly a decade at Psyop, where he officially began his directing career. Thibault aims to blend his love of European-inspired cinema with the visual twists that his CGI background provides.
Phillip and Thibault met 14 years ago, with each making a lasting impression on the other. As Phillip describes him, “Not only is Thibault a director with a truly singular style, but he’s a problem solver, an out-of-the box thinker, a lover of aesthetics…just a true creative force with skills across the board and a comfort for any client or agency to be working with. Our collaboration is the embodiment of what we’re building here at Ampersand.”
Adding to its power, Ampersand is part of the global AOI Pro Network, Asia’s leading creative production company. With offices in Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, AOI Pro boasts a prolific output of commercial work – producing over 1000 spots per year. The entity has also expanded its creativity to dramatic TV series and film, including the feature film Shoplifters, which won the 2018 Palm d’Or at Cannes.