Wynwood’s long been wowing the world with its art, be it on the street or in the gallery, but what many folks don’t know is the ‘hood also houses some of the most enterprising creatives in other fields as well. Take, for instance, Native Films. The 15 year-old outfit began life on South Beach when that particular stretch of sand still could stand feisty upstarts; a year ago though company kingpin Craig Whitaker saw that the new and now was goin’ down on the Mainland and quickly picked up and moved shop. If the onslaught of heavy-hitting accounts he’s since landed is any indication, it was the right move indeed.
“Moving to Wynwood not only made sense from a creative point of view; it made sense logistically,” says Whitaker. “A lot of our campaigns revolve around downtown, and it’s a tremendous advantage to be adjacent to the city center. At the same time we’re part of a neighborhood that‘s proven to be continually inspiring.”
Among the multitude of inspirations that have struck Native since its Mainlanding was a virtual Powerball parade, which saw a large swath of downtown Miami locked-down as if it were Thanksgiving in New York. Unlike that fabled Great White Way Turkey Day tradition however, this field of floats was trumped by a ginormous red balloon that ended-up trekking from sea to shining sea. Call it wish-fulfillment, Magic City-style.
“Miami has so many possibilities,” says Whitaker. “It’s recognizable in its own right, of course, but it can even work as a stand-in for whatever city you wish to imagine.”
Naturally the Powerball campaign wasn’t Native’s first over-the-top foray into the proverbial field of dreams. Prior to their ballooning of our skyline, the wonder workers assembled a swarm of Lamborghinis for the good folks at South Florida Toys. Like the Lotto spot, Native used the Magic City as a launchpad; this time though the route sped south, from Lambo Miami to Ocean Reef, Key Largo’s bastion of utter exclusivity.
“We got together 120 Lamborghinis,” recalls Whitaker. “including the Aventador, which was the first time it had hit an American road. By the time our army of dream cars pulled into Ocean Reef we had completely redefined the Supercar Run. It was beyond fantastic!”
If Whitaker has his way letting loose with Lambos will become an annual affair, meantime he and his Native Films squad remain immersed in a variety of equally compelling projects, be it a streaming of Robin Thicke’s appearance at Club Play (replete with Heat DJ Irie) to a hyping of Grachi Magia, Nickelodeon Latin America’s #1 rated tween show. But big as they get don’t think for a moment they’ll outgrow the ol’ hometown. In fact, no matter which side of the causeway (or continent or hemisphere) Native is working, Whitaker insists the work will stay locally-sourced.
“I use my backyard as much as possible — I believe in it.”
Who says dream weavers don’t also have a sensible side?