Direk Gus Cruz

TVC Director/Director of Photography

Gus started his career as a Reach-out Trainee in J. Walter Thompson advertising agency (now Wunderman); Reach-out was a summer training program offered to undergraduates taking their practicum. Before the program ended, Gus was handpicked by the Broadcast Department to join them as one of their Broadcast Television and Radio Producers. He would eventually stay on for the next four years producing award-winning commercials for Kaypee, URC, San Miguel Super Dry, Philippine Airlines and Unilever.

His thirst for new adventures and passion for storytelling led him to Vancouver, Canada to study Filmmaking at the Vancouver Film School. The one-year film foundation course exposed Gus to a different kind of filmic artform, one that's subtle and nuanced, a stark contrast to the brand of storytelling he was used to advertising.

After film school, legendary and pioneering Director/Director of Photography Manolo Abaya, fondly called "Bossing" took Gus under his wings. Under the capacity of "A" camera operator, Gus learned the intricacies of the medium of cinematography. It was also during this time when Gus got exposed to "technical/visual effects" storyboards since Bossing was a technically proficient TVC director and cinematographer. A brief stint with Gilberto "Gboy" Vistan as cinematography mentor solidified Gus' eye for photography. Gboy, primarily as stillsman, trained Gus on the art of framing and composition.

In time, Gus got his own feet wet and started to direct on his own. Being both a director and cinematographer in one gave Gus a lot of opportunities in advertising and mainstream film. While he was starting out as a tv commercial director, he was doing cinematography work for long form film. Such notable collaborations with other directors were with Cathy Garcia, Mae Cruz with Star Cinema and Mel Chionglo with Regal films.

Gus started directing his own stuff thru cable plugs on ABS-CBN/Lopez owned Skycable Channel. The flexible and open setup gave Gus the freedom to test out all the principles and theories he learned from school and mentorships. TVC commercial breaks came mostly from advertising friends who helped jumpstart Gus' TVC directing career. He started doing ads for Jollibee, Chowking, P&G, United Laboratories, San Miguel foods, Century Canning and AyalaLand. And to this day, Gus proudly says he still does for the same companies. That's the best testament to a director's career he says:

If you sustain your repeat business, then you must be doing something right.