To be embraced by the notoriously finicky French is a badge of distinction for any artist. Just ask Jerry Lewis. Or Mickey Rourke. Or Charles Bukowski. Or for that matter, Sebastian Leda (00 Film), who won his second award at Cannes Lions this past May for a commercial entitled “Robocop.”
What separates Leda from the legions of directors and producers who have exited the festival with statuettes in hand is that Leda and his longtime creative collaborator, Francisco D’Amorim, are the only winners to have received prizes for spots targeted at the Hispanic market. Both “Robocop,” which took home this year’s Silver Lion award, and “Crying,” which garnered the Gold Lion at the 2010 festival, represent the kind of high production value commercials tailored to Latino audiences defining all the work produced by Dos Ex Maquina, the company Leda formed with D’Amorim shortly after graduating from Art Center.
Cannes Film Festival voters are far from alone in recognizing the value and vast reach built into Leda and D’Amorim’s business plan. The duo has been thriving both critically and commercially ever since they made the fortuitous (or prescient) decision to distinguish themselves from LA’s mob of young, hungry directors by catering to an under-served and rapidly growing viewership.
In the Q&A below, Leda gamely agreed share a few ingredients in the special sauce that’s given him a competitive advantage in the world’s most competitive (and lucrative) industry.