Robin Benson got her promotion, but she’s still waiting for the big office to go with it.
Benson, newly elevated to the rank of partner at Villains — a production company specializing in commercials and musicvideos that was previously known as GMS Prods. — is working out of a “tiny space,” she said, while the company’s offices in the old Gramercy Pictures building on Maple Drive are being refurbished. The work could take another three months.
Benson and her partners, John Marshall and Jim Giddens, are full of plans for the reconfigured company, which encourages feature directors to delve into the short-format world of musicvideos and commercials. Villains has signed on directors Joel and Ethan Coen (“Fargo”), Josh and Jonas Pate (“The Grave”), Abel Ferrara (“Bad Lieutenant”) and Brett Ratner (“Money Talks,” the upcoming “Rush Hour”), among others.
Villains also has lined up directors Scott Bibo, Jim Giddens, Bill Mather, Joseph Kahn, Daniela Federici, Leonardo Ricagni and Eric Yealland. All of them have firm credentials, even though some are relatively new names. Kahn, for instance, graduated from NYU Film School just two years ago, but has already chalked up credits as a musicvideo director.
“The thing I absolutely adore is developing directors’ careers,” said Benson, who joined GMS in 1987 after stints at Film Tree and N. Lee Lacy/Associates. “I find it really rewarding. And becoming a partner has allowed me to become more involved.”
But what’s with that name, Villains?
“I have to admit I came up with that,” Benson said. “We wanted to find a name that was daring and evocative at the same time. We wanted some attitude.”