Jessen is a real smash with 32Ten

SAN RAFAEL -- You’ve probably seen the TV spot where an angry ex-wife takes a sledgehammer to a red Mustang. The producer of funny commercials for the auto body industry has moved into 32Ten Studios, the former Kerner Optical space, adding artfully destroyed cars to the special effects concocted there.Santa Rosa actress Heather Mathieson wields the sledgehammer in this Jessen Productions "prefab" television commercial.See other Jessen Productions advertisements.

Jessen Productions (415-391-5030, arrived recently from San Francisco and set up an office in the production facility that investors are developing into a hub for Marin movie makers. Most are former Industrial Light & Magic engineers and technicians who stayed behind when George Lucas moved his operations to the Presidio in San Francisco.

[caption id="attachment_68680" align="alignleft" width="358"] San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips (left) and Chuck Jessen of Jessen Productions at 32Ten Studios[/caption]

Charles Jessen is a former advertising executive who turned to film making because “it’s a lot more fun.”

His clips of fine cars getting trashed in various creative ways have gathered a following of auto body shops across the nation. Prefab Ads -- so called because the same spots can be sold to many different shops -- supports Mr. Jessen’s more serious film projects.

“It’s an artistic challenge to tell a good, funny story in 30 seconds,” he said, admitting that he has a penchant for banging up expensive cars.

As do we all, it turns out. Prefab Ads has won multiple awards for its mostly humorous tales of auto woe, including a hungry bear with good tools, a hailstorm dropping stones the size of basketballs and a wrong turn into a weapons testing site.

[caption id="attachment_68337" align="alignleft" width="360"] Heather Mathieson in the sledgehammer ad[/caption]

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