Kinka Usher wasn't planning to become a film director. He was an award-winning commercial director when Universal Pictures called him up and asked him to helm the comedy feature Mystery Men (1999), starring Ben Stiller. After reading the first 20 pages of the script, he knew it was something special and put his commercial career temporarily on hold.
The winner of two Directors Guild of America awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials in 1997 and 1999, Usher directed his first commercial in 1992 after working his way up from production assistant, camera assistant and steadicam operator. In 1996 he opened his own commercial production company called House of Usher, based in Santa Monica. He has directed award-winning campaigns for Got Milk?, Polaroid, Nissan, Miller Lite, Taco Bell, Hallmark, Pepsi, HBO and Nike, many of which were featured at the Super Bowl.
Once he finished work on Mystery Men, Usher returned to directing commercials full time, only returning to film work once more for the independent movie Hip, Edgy, Sexy, Cool (2002), which won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the No Dance Film Festival.
Mystery Men (1999)
Hip, Edgy, Sexy, Cool (2002)