Kerstin Emhoff (née Mackin; born March 18, 1967) is an American film producer and founder and CEO of the production company Prettybird. Under her leadership the company's films have won Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, and Cannes Lions, while she personally won a News & Documentary Emmy Award in 2012. She was president of the "film craft" jury of the 2020 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
March 18, 1967
(m. 1992; div. 2008)
|Awards||News & Documentary Emmy Award (2012)|
After film school, Emhoff moved to Los Angeles, where she got a job at a small production company and "was immediately hooked into the world of short form." By 2002, Emhoff was a principal (and executive producer) at HSI Productions. HSI creatives at that time included Paul Hunter, Hype Williams, and Diane Martel.
Emhoff is Prettybird's president. Under her leadership the company's films have won Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, and Cannes Lions, while she personally won a News & Documentary Emmy Award in 2012. She was executive producer of Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden (2013), which won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special; she has also produced Emmy Award-winning The Tillman Story. She was also producer of the 2020 documentary AKA Jane Roe.
She served on the board of directors of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) for over ten years, and was the AICP President for Western United States. In 2015, she chaired the AICP annual show "The Art & Technique of the American Commercial."
In 2016, she founded the non-profit Pipelines, a not-for-profit initiative to increase opportunities in advertising for diverse young people. In 2020, Pipelines is scheduled to launch its mobile app, designed to connect companies looking for diverse talent with young people looking for jobs in tech and entertainment.
When Ava DuVernay partnered with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, Netflix, HBO and others to set up the Evolve Entertainment Fund (EEF), Emhoff was named to its first Advisory Board. According to Billboard, "The EEF is a public-private partnership between the City of Los Angeles, industry leaders in entertainment and digital media, non-profit organizations and educational institutions which is dedicated to building career pathways into film, television and music for women, people of color and low-income Angelenos through paid internships, focused mentoring and an ongoing series of workshops and panels."
In 2020 she joined with two of her partners at Prettybird (Ali Brown and Paul Hunter) to co-found Ventureland, a new multi-platform entertainment company, with long-time collaborator John Battsek. Ventureland, based in Los Angeles and London, will produce both documentaries and scripted content.
She was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota to a family of mainly Swedish descent. In 1992 she married Doug Emhoff, with whom she has two children. They divorced 16 years later. Her ex-husband is now married (since 2014) to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
- The Tillman Story (2010), executive producer
- Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden (2013), executive producer
- Pretty Hurts (2013), Beyoncé music video, executive producer
- We Are the Giant (2014), executive producer
- Mojave (2015), associate producer
- XOXO (2016), executive producer
- The Monster (2016), co-producer
- We Are X (2016), executive producer
- The Final Year (2017), executive producer
- Legion of Brothers (2017), executive producer
- Ready for War (2019), producer
- AKA Jane Roe (2020), producer
- "Kerstin Emhoff". United States Public Records, 1970–2009.
- "Kerstin Emhoff". PRETTYBIRD.
- Capper, Addison (2020). "5 Minutes with… Kerstin Emhoff". Little Black Book. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
The co-founder and executive producer of Prettybird is Kerstin Emhoff. Under her guidance the company has picked up Grammys, Emmys, D&ADs, Cannes Lions, Clios and more. It bagged the first ever Music Grand Prix at Cannes in 2016 for Beyonce’s 'Formation', directed by Melina Matsoukas. What’s more, Kerstin recently launched Pipelines, a not-for-profit initiative that’s geared towards increasing opportunities in adland for diverse, young people
- "HSI, LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK, FOUNDED 1986". Ad Age. September 1, 2003. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
Principals: Stavros Merjos, CEO, Billy Sandwick, Executive Producer NY, Kerstin Emhoff...Roster HSI: Arni & Kinski, Lenny Bass, Peter Berg, Irv Blitz, Benny Boom, Kevin Bray, Scott Burns, Gerard de Thame, F. Gary Gray, Paul Hunter...
- "5 Minutes with… Taj Critchlow". Little Black Book. 2019. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
we both worked at HSI Productions. It was the Death Star of production companies, the alpha omega...That’s where I learned how to multitask, how to hustle, but most importantly how to run a premium production company on that level. If you think about all of the alumni that came out of HSI - Paul Hunter and Kerstin Emhoff, who run Prettybird now, me and X at Popp Rok. Stavros [Merjos, HSI’s founder] created this amazing platform from where we just sprung out.
- Diaz, Ann-Christine (December 18, 2007). "PAUL HUNTER AND KERSTIN EMHOFF LAUNCH PRETTYBIRD". Ad Age. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
Former HSI director Paul Hunter and executive producer Kerstin Emhoff have given flight to Prettybird, a new production company that they say will put a premium on creative fluidity and partnerships while being positioned to address the industry's shifting production needs. 'We came from a very big company where we definitely spent a lot of time crossing over from music videos to commercials or commercials to movies, or print photography to commercials,' Emhoff says. 'It's exciting to start from scratch...'
- Diaz, Ann-Christine (September 28, 2015). "PRETTYBIRD IS CREATIVITY'S 2015 PRODUCTION COMPANY OF THE YEAR". Ad Age. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
Founded in 2007 by top director Paul Hunter and industry vet Kerstin Emhoff, it tackled the surliest, most head-scratching production terrain while finessing more traditional, established content forms
- Del Barco, Mandalit (June 12, 2020). "Cameras Can Roll In Hollywood Again". NPR.org. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
Kerstin Emhoff, president of Prettybird, said her production company was able to work remotely throughout the pandemic shutdown, on a documentary, a digital series and commercials (including one for Uber)...'it's going to be slower because you can't have everyone working all at once. But we don't have a choice. We have to make this work.'
- "Winners Announced for the 33rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards | The Emmy Awards - The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences".
- Wiseman, Andreas (January 21, 2020). "Docs Supremo John Battsek Exits Passion Pictures After 20 Years To Set Up LA & London-Based Ventureland With Prettybird Trio". Deadline. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
Battsek and Emhoff have previously teamed up to produce Emmy-winning projects Manhunt: The Inside Story Of The Hunt For Bin Laden and The Tillman Story, as well as The Final Year, Sergio and Legion Of Brothers. The duo have worked together on-and-off for more than a decade and the majority of Passion’s U.S. productions have been based out of Prettybird’s LA facilities.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray (March 4, 2020). "FX Acquires First Documentary Feature 'AKA Jane Roe', Sets Premiere Date For Roe V. Wade Film".
- "FX Sets 'AKA Jane Roe' as First Feature Documentary". The Hollywood Reporter.
- D'Addario, Daniel (May 20, 2020). "'AKA Jane Roe': TV Review".
- "AICP - Kerstin Emhoff". www.aicp.com.
Doubling as a producer and an Executive Producer, Emhoff has been involved in a wide range of PRETTYBIRD’s eclectic work including: Intel & Lady Gaga's David Bowie Tribute at the 2016 Grammy Awards... Kerstin has produced over 13 movies and documentaries, including HBO’s 2013 Primetime Emmy Award Winner Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden and the Oscar shortlisted documentary The Tillman Story.
- "PRETTYBIRD's Kerstin Emhoff Named Chair of 2015 AICP Show". Shoot. December 4, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
Kerstin Emhoff, co-founder/executive producer of PRETTYBIRD, will serve as chairperson of the 2015 AICP Show: The Art & Technique of the American Commercial. As part of her AICP Show Chair duties, Emhoff will preside over AICP Week
- "Meet Shari Holly of Pipelines in Culver City". Voyage LA. March 9, 2020. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
I’ve been helping Kerstin Emhoff, Founder of PRETTYBIRD build Pipelines since 2016. We started off with a 30 page deck and only an idea when she brought me on lol. I was intrigued by the adventure of building a business; but more importantly, an impactful one that was personal and mattered to me. Now, three years later we have built platform we believe in, are committed to, and are pumped about. Pipelines is a mobile app that connects underrepresented talent to job and training opportunities in tech, creative, and entertainment, and companies to a vast pool of diverse talent.
- Patten, Dominic (February 12, 2018). "Ava DuVernay, Netflix, HBO & Dan Lin Partner With City Of L.A. On Inclusion Incentive". Retrieved August 15, 2020.
Teaming-up with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Issa Rae Productions, Dan Lin’s Rideback, ARRAY, WME, Netflix, HBO, Film Independent, CAA, UTA, Anonymous Content, Lionsgate, Charles D King’s MACRO, Oprah Winfrey Network, the Sundance Institute, Shondaland, Ryan Murphy, Innovative Artists and Warner Bros, among others, the EEF intends to raise over $5 million
- Mims, Taylor (July 25, 2019). "AEG Partners with Los Angeles Mayor to Launch 2019 Evolve Entertainment Diversity Initiative". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
The EEF is a public-private partnership between the City of Los Angeles, industry leaders in entertainment and digital media, non-profit organizations and educational institutions which is dedicated to building career pathways into film, television and music for women, people of color and low-income Angelenos through paid internships, focused mentoring and an ongoing series of workshops and panels.
- Morgan, Jillian (January 21, 2020). "John Battsek, Prettybird team launch multi-platform prodco Ventureland". Real Screen. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
Emhoff, Brown and Hunter, partners at California-based prodco Prettybird, are known for producing music videos and commercials of the last decade with a roster of talent that includes Melina Matsoukas, Tim & Eric, The Daniels, Janicza Bravo and others.
- "Film Craft Lions | Awards | Cannes Lions 2020". www.canneslions.com.
- Jessica M. Goldstein (5 October 2020). "The Good Husband". Marie Claire. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
- Harris, Kamala (May 10, 2019). "Sen. Kamala Harris on Being 'Momala'". ELLE. Retrieved August 12, 2020.