New Series Empowering Girls in Sports, Chevy GOALKEEPERS, from Backyard’s Ashley Avis

Proud to share important new work from director/editor Ashley Avis at Backyard for Chevy GOALKEEPERS empowerment initiative from Commonwealth/McCann Detroit

Airing over the course of 2019, GOALKEEPERS, is a fourteen-part series from Chevrolet spreading a message empowerment for young woman to stay active in sports.  Statistically between the ages of 12 and 16 years old, girls quit sports at 2x the rate of boys but studies show that most women in CEO and significant power positions in business played sports as a girl. 

Staying in the game promotes leadership skills, understanding and facing challenges, teamwork, and personality development.  The GOALKEEPERS Launch film features several real female athletes between the ages of 12 and 16, alongside Olympian greats such as Mia Hamm, Laurie Hernandez, Hilary Knight and Casey Stoney as well as GM legends Cathy Clegg, Alicia Boler Davis and Mandi Damman. 

Avis wanted to approach the project, a message that was close to home with her, with a cinematic elegance, but also with the innate power that comes with casting real girls who compete in real sports.

GOALKEEPERS was produced by Edward Winters, directed + edited by Ashley Avis, and shot by DP Kai Krause.  Many incredible artists lent their talents to the project in support of the cause including Technicolor’s senior colorist Maxine Gervais (of over 50+ blockbusters including Black Panther, The Mule, and Book of Eli), post sound mixer Ben Wilkins (Oscar winner for Whiplash), and composer Peter Gregson (solo cellist on projects like Marvel’s Wonder Woman)

Director Patrick Creadon Joins Backyard

Meet our new Backyarder!

Backyard Productions has signed director Patrick Creadon for spot and branded content representation in the U.S.

Patrick Creadon – If You Build It

Based in LA, Patrick Creadon has been making creative content and specializing in the world of non-fiction storytelling while also working on commercials, television projects, and award-winning documentary films. Vision coupled with creative storytelling has been the driving force and foundation of Patrick’s artistic endeavors, filming all across the globe – he has shot numerous commercials and content for Fisher-Price, Unilever, Intel and Fair Trade.

Fisher Price – Wishes For Baby

Creadon’s feature projects have made their mark on the festival circuit, including Sundance, Tribeca and Slamdance.  His directorial debut Wordplay premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to become the second-highest grossing documentary of that year.  Other films include I.O.U.S.A. (2008), If You Build It (2014), All Work All Play (2015), and an installment about Notre Dame football for ESPN’s award-winning documentary series 30 for 30 (2016). His critically acclaimed documentary, Hesburgh (2018), about the legendary long-time president of the University of Notre Dame, will see its theatrical release later this year.  Creadon’s latest film, Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story (2019), just made its world premier as the opening night film at the Slamdance Fest in Park City, Utah.

Patrick Creadon – All Work, All Play

Jake Sherry is in the Backyard

BACKYARD is pleased to welcome NY-based director Jake Sherry to its roster.

Recognized for his ability to tease out natural performances in both actors and real people, especially kids, Jake manages to capture the subject’s most unique mannerisms and characteristics. These nuances of detail, and his relentless pursuit of authenticity, result in distinctively human on-camera moments that make his work stand out from the crowd.

PGA – Sketched on a Napkin

Backyard CMO Roy Skillicorn sums it up this way: “Jake knows that the simplest concepts can be the most powerful, if you tell it right. The richness of his aesthetically beautiful film blends perfectly with genuine performances, engaging the viewer, drawing them deeper into the message or storyline. He is on his way to being a superstar”

Lincoln – Rylie’s Wish

A college professor once told Jake, “Filmmaking is the most fun you can have with your clothes on…” Jake agreed and his work has since been featured in AdWeek, Splice Magazine, Billboard and the New York Times. His directing has taken him across Europe, Africa, and Asia — most recently to Vietnam to direct Nick Jonas for Malibu Rum. Recent clients include Lincoln Motors, the Human Impacts Institute, L’Oreal and Verizon.

Vice – Think Again

About joining Backyard, Jake relates, “The industry is constantly evolving, so one of the things that drew me to Backyard is that Roy and the team are forever reinventing themselves and the company. Backyard is a creative, collaborative, forward thinking entity that brings decades of experience to the table. They’re also a hell of a lot of fun to work with. I can’t wait to see what we build together.”

Backyard’s Daniel Sheppard Pumping Up For Advil

BACKYARD‘s Daniel Sheppard brings the heavyweight funny in this breaking work for Advil Flu out of Taxi/Toronto


Roy is Home ! Founder Roy Skillicorn Returns to Backyard


Roy Skillicorn is back leading Backyard Productions, the company he founded and guided for 20+ years, recently partnering with Kevin Allodi, President & CEO of Philo Media, which acquired Backyard in 2017. Allodi reached out to Skillicorn knowing that he ran Backyard during its most successful years, and also realized success as founder of the award winning Seed Media Arts, a non-DGA production model company.

“Roy is internationally known for his innovative, focused marketing strategies and unprecedented trendsetting business models, and has had an uncanny ability to remain highly relevant throughout a long and prosperous career. His track record for nurturing the development and growth of directors’ careers is unsurpassed; as Managing Director overseeing sales & marketing I see him as the perfect ‘Sherpa’ to lead Backyard and its directors to new heights,” says Kevin.

Skillicorn founded Backyard with Chicago photographer Tony D’Orio in 1988 while still a rep for PIXAR, Colossal Pictures and HKM Productions — all start-ups he recognized as future superstar companies. He found, promoted and secured for each of them their very first commercials, representing each company for over a decade. He also brought London-based Passion Pictures into the limelight in the US.

Under Skillicorn’s leadership and marketing savvy, Backyard became a $50M+/yr entity that was not only considered one of the top international production companies by the trades, but the only one to ever spring forth from a secondary market like Chicago. After relocating production headquarters to L.A in the mid-90’s, Roy continued to lead sales and marketing from Chicago, keeping the brand’s uniqueness guarded while maintaining its notable Midwestern, honest and diligent work ethic. Loyal clients refer to Backyard as “a Shangri-La of production”, delivering a thoroughly enjoyable experience, infused with engaging and dependable people with caring attitudes, while offering innovation and craftsmanship at the highest levels.

“I’m happily surprised to find myself back in the ‘Yard’ and I’m excited to work along side several more A list directors and incredibly strong EPs, like my long time friend, Kris Mathur, and Emily Malito.  When I shared my vision of next steps for Backyard, I told Kevin, this “new Backyard won’t be fenced…it’s time to unleash the dogs”. No doubt the iconic hand puppet dog logo that Roy’s graphic designer wife crafted back in 1989 will soon return to Backyard as well.

BACKYARD Giving Back Through the Commercial Director Diversity Program

We’re proud to report that our fab clients at Backyard, took part in this year’s Commercial Directors Diversity Program as a sponsor + mentor for a young director, Kryzz Gautier.  On July 31, 2018 a showcase of this year’s graduating class was held at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The CDDP is a program created by the AICP and the DGA as part of its contract negotiations. CDDP reflects the commitment of both organizations to effect change and increase the representation of women and other historically underrepresented groups of people in commercial directing.

Each director participant was tasked with writing and pitching their own :60 script and producing that script on a very limited budget.  Backyard took them through a typical commercial pitch process and production, acting as a sounding board and mentor for their creative ideas and overall helping them to accomplish their ultimate goal of a solid :60.

BY EP Emily Malito affirms that, “Kryzz is a talented director whose own personal experiences as a woman of color and a member of the LGBTQ community influence her content and motivate her desire to be a strong voice in the film community.  She’s an impressive creative force.”

This is her spot:


Kryzz was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 2009 she immigrated to Boston to attend Emerson College where she focused her studies in Directing Narrative Fiction, Photography, and Music Appreciation. Kryzz quickly became an award winning writer/director receiving multiple international accolades. To name a few: “Marasma” (2011) was in the running for the Region 2 Student Academy Awards finalists. “A Foolish Companion” (2012) was nominated for “Outstanding Cinematic Achievement” at the EVW Awards and went on to win, amongst other things, “Best Screenplay” and “Best Short Film” at the Women In Shorts Festival, the “Audience Award” at the National Broadcasting Society Festival, and was invited to screen at the Ibero-American Festival. ”All Lit Up” (2011) won an EVW Award for “Best Single Camera Direction”. “Not A Love Story” (2015) won “Best Short Film”, “Best Screenplay”, and “Best Editing” at across the festival circuit. In 2014 Kryzz was selected as one of NBC’s Top 100 for their Directing Fellowship. In 2015 Kryzz wrote and directed a pilot for Lifetime/A&E Studios. In 2017 Kryzz became one of the founders of Violeta, a production and distribution platform focused  on  creating  better representation for LGBT women  and being talked about as “the Netflix  for queer women”.