Jeff Zwart

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Jeff Zwart (born 24 May 1955) is an American commercial film director, racer, photographer, cameraman and author. He is best known for shooting commercial campaigns in collaboration with Porsche, BMW, Cadillac, General Motors, Hyundai, Ford and more.

Life and career[edit]

Zwart was born in Long Beach, California, and learned to drive in his father’s 1964 Porsche 901, chassis number 35.[1] Growing up next door to his childhood friend and future automotive designer, Freeman Thomas, the two shared a lifelong obsession with automobiles and Porsches in particular.[2] In High School, Zwart worked as a veterinary assistant in order to save enough money to eventually purchase a yellow Porsche 914/6. In 1997 he ran that same 914/6 in the 10,000 mile, 25 day, Panama to Alaska Rally winning second place overall. In 1979, after graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, he began work as a still photographer shooting Road & Track Magazine covers, calendars, and article photos.

In 1989, following an American Photography Magazine cover story on Zwart’s automotive photography work, he was given the opportunity to direct television commercials. He joined Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma to form, a global award-winning company multi-media company. His commercial client list includes; Porsche, Cadillac, BMW, Ford, PlayStation, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and most recently Forza Motorsport 5/ Xbox, among others.[3]

Zwart is known for his camera philosophy of “full immersion” perspective, an expertise consulted by “Rush” director Ron Howard. He works globally and has shot in over 30 countries throughout his career working on a range of international advertising campaigns and TV series work. On September 20, 2013, working with San Francisco-based advertising agency twofifteenmccan, Zwart revealed the world’s fastest Zoetrope in the form of a two-minute film entitled “Forza/Filmspeed.” The film uses high resolution still images from the Xbox game Forza Motorsport 5 which were printed onto panels and staged at key intervals around a race track to recreate the illusion of movement known as the persistence of vision.

In addition to his work as a director, Zwart has published three books in collaboration with David Bull Publishing, he is a highly sought-after speaker and panel lecturer, and a monthly contributor to the Porsche Club of America’sPanorama” magazine, and others.[4]

Racing career[edit]

Zwart started road racing Formula Fords during the mid-1980s on the West Coast of the United States which led to an interest in rallying. In 1989 and 1990 he drove a Mazda in the US Pro Rally Championship, eventually winning the Open Class National Championship. Zwart also competed in the New Zealand round of the World Rally Championship driving a Mitsubishi EVO in 1993.

Zwart is especially noted for his wins at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.[5] In 1994, he entered the event with a Porsche and won the Open Class Championship. This success led to a number of programs; driving 10 different Porsches resulting in 8 different class championships over a period of 14 years, including his 2015 win in the Time Attack Class.[6] One of his most notable achievements at Pikes Peak was highlighted in 2010 by winning the Time Attack Class and setting a new record driving a Porsche GT3 Cup car. In 2011, he competed in what was essentially a production street car, a Porsche 911 GT2 RS.[7] The accomplishment of driving the Porsche from Southern California to the famous hill climb in Colorado and successfully racing at Pikes Peak was highlighted in the short film “Porsche, the Road to Pikes Peak,” directed by Will Roegge.[8]

In addition, Zwart has raced in a number of other events, including the 1997 Panama-Alaska Rally, the Baja 1000 (class win in 2004), and a program in 2007 with Porsche Cars North America in which he led a 3-car team in the TransSyberia Rally from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.


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