Joe Pytka, director of Space Jam, will be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of America. Pytka — who in addition to helming the 1996 live-action/animation hybrid, also directed more than 5,000 television commercials — is being honored specifically for Distinguished Achievement in Television Directing.
“When it comes to commercials, there is no higher bar than the one set by the incomparable Joe Pytka,” DGA president Paris Barclay says of the man who crafted the on-screen performances of both Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. “So many of his over 5,000 projects–which include more than 80 Super Bowl commercials–are part of the nation’s zeitgeist, from his iconic, generation-defining Pepsi ads to Nike’s ‘Bo Knows’ and Budweiser’s ‘Clydesdales’ to the unforgettable ‘Your Brain on Drugs’ PSA. For these reasons and so many more, we’re thrilled to present this top Guild honor to Joe.”
The prestigious award will be presented to the artist who revolutionized product placement in slapstick basketball-themed children’s movies at the 68th annual DGA Awards on Saturday, February 6. It should also be noted once more that Pytka directed Space Jam.