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Pretzel was born in March 2005. It was created by Pj Bickford, an Account Director who was working in Brand Marketing with L’Oreal and Sony, and Pete Shuttleworth, a Production Company Producer who had spent 5 years producing at Ridley Scott Associates London and Black Dog Films.
They believed that the Production Company model needed to change.
They introduced full Post Production in-house under the watchful eye of Matt Fretwell, a young pioneer of online video world and its viral capabilities. His technical knowledge ensured that Pretzel became one of the first UK companies to go fully HD Tapeless and to do it in-house, years before the mainstream industry.
They believed that Directors were truly different to Producers, unlike the broadcast industry. But they also rejected the Agenting model favoured by commercials production companies, believing that it lead to some of the greatest talent being stifled and mis-handled, especially in its early development.
Pretzel chose to define itself by mentoring young directors. The company gives them the time and opportunity to establish themselves as individuals in their professional craft. Pretzel chooses to sign 1carefully chosen director each year, a policy now in its 8th year and 8th individual talent. Each director is chosen by looking at hundreds of entry-level creatives to find the very best. They are all welcomed full time from the very start and by the time they have been with Pretzel for 3 years they will have directed over 40 films. Pretzel believes this opportunity for young directors is still unique in the UK today.
Pretzel began working within the corporate video communications sector. For the last two years, the company has been recognized as the 2nd most respected Corporate Production Company in the UK by the peer poll published in Televisual Magazine [March 2012 latest addition]. Roster clients include BP, National Grid, Network Rail and many more. Pretzel have been successful at the Annual IVCA awards every year since 2006, often winning multiple awards and this year winning Gold for Best Film amongst others. For the team at Pretzel, the greatest success is that these awards have been won by the in-house talent we mentor. Their films often being described ‘as well crafted, creatively mature works’ by the judging panels.
In 2011 Pretzel Films chose to enter the Commercials market, lead by Pete Shuttleworth, Ciara McGowan and Pippa Hall. Since then Pretzel Films has worked with a number of the best London Advertising agencies including Abbot Mead Vickers, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Mother London, Lean Mean Fighting Machine, Publicis, Leo Burnett, Euro RSCG and Ogilvy. In 2012 Pretzel worked with AMV on the D&AD Pencil winning campaign for GE called Living Wall.