This is the 2014 NDS Reel
Robert Goldrich, Editor
Roberta Griefer, Editorial Director & Publisher

WELCOME… SHOOT’s 12th annual New Directors Showcase—which was celebrated with an evening screening, panel discussion and reception on Thursday, May 22, at the DGA Theatre in New York—offers a total of 38 up-and-coming helmers filling 32 slots (27 individual directors, one trio and four duos).

The field ranges from freelance directors to a resident filmmaker at Ogilvy & Mather’s in-house production unit Eyepatch, another helmer who made a major splash with a two-minute spot on the Super Bowl, to a lauded creative who was inducted several years ago into the AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement, to an artisan whose feature directorial debut screened at this year’s SXSW Festival.

The latter is Bryan Reisberg who directed and wrote Big Significant Things, which stars Harry Lloyd (Game Of Thrones) as a 26 year old who seemingly has everything neatly in place in his life—job stability, a supportive family, a blossoming relationship with his girlfriend. Yet he lies to the latter so he can go on a road trip by himself through the South. Big Significant Things garnered favorable reviews at SXSW and continues to play the festival circuit.

As a spot and branded content director, Reisberg is as of yet unaffiliated with a production company.

Meanwhile he separately maintains Uncorked Productions with partner/producer Andrew Corkin (co-producer of Martha Marcy May Marlene). Uncorked produced Big Significant Things as well as such Reisberg-directed fare as the shorts Father/Son, which debuted at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival, and Funny Or Die’s Kiss My A$$ starring Denis Leary, as well as the new web series The Walker starring Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan and Rightor Doyle. Reisberg also serves as an assistant editor at Mr. Editorial, the in-house production/post arm of Deutsch New York.

The alluded to AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement inductee is none other than Ari Merkin, a creative with a pedigree that includes the U.S. launches of Mini Cooper and Virgin Mobile, the American Legacy Foundation’s anti-smoking “Body Bag” campaign, the Cannes Grand Prix-wining “Lamp” spot for Ikea, and the groundbreaking “Elf Yourself” viral success for OfficeMax. His diversification into the director’s chair has yielded Wishclouds’ Jane, a web short which helped gain him inclusion into SHOOT’s New Directors Showcase. Director Merkin is handled by production house Supply & Demand.

Meanwhile the director at Eyepatch is Brandon LaGanke whose web documentary short for British Airways, A Ticket To Visit Mum, helped earn a slot into SHOOT’s Showcase.

As for the two-minute Super Bowl spot, it was “America’s Import” for Chrysler starring Bob Dylan and directed by Arnaud Uyttenhove of Caviar for agency Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

Seeking roosts
Among the unaffiliated directors—in addition to Reisberg—making the Showcase cut were: Bess Kargman for the documentary short Coach for ESPN Films; David Kestin for Levi’s “Wear and Tear” spec ad; Aaron Kodz for “Reach,” a spec spot for the Van Cliburn Foundation; Armen Perian for Fiat’s “Italian Made” spec commercial; the duo of Justin Plummer III and Martin Strauss, a.k.a. Plummer/Strauss, for Converse’s spec spot titled “Cinderella”; Romina Schwedler for an Axe Body Spray spec spot; and Tamara Rosenfeld for Coca-Cola/Sby20’s short film Lea—City of God, Brazil.

In addition to the aforementioned Plummer/Strauss duo, this year’s New Directors Showcase lineup includes four other teams: The Kloons, consisting of Mitch Lewis, Greg Washburn and Nik Kazoura, who are on the roster of Click 3X, New York; Tank+Bunker, comprised of Judah-Lev Dickstein and Justin Liberman, who are with Greenpoint Pictures, Brooklyn, NY; Scott & Jake Friedman of Wildlife in Culver City, Calif.; and J + J—Jess Zou and Jing Shao—of production house Untitled in Los Angeles.

J + J earned a Showcase slot for their Levi’s “Keep Cool: Shawn Yue” piece of branded content. Scott & Jake Friedman scored with a “You Only Live Twice” music video done for a Promax/BDA contest. Tank + Bunker made the Showcase for Luvs’ “Lullaby Lift,” a branded content web spot. And The Kloons registered with their short comedy film entitled Mindblower.

Individual affiliations
Others in the Showcase mix are individual directors with production company affiliations. They include: the aforementioned Merkin of Supply & Demand and Uyttenhove of Caviar; Rob Adamo of ShootersINC; Ruben Barrientos of Adolescent Content; Alberto Belli of Accomplice Media; Jonathan Bregel of Variable; Jason Berger from Kids At Play; Conor Byrne of Hungry Man; Patrick Clair of Elastic; Diego Contreras of Bullitt; Em Cooper of th1ng and Film Club Productions; Stephen Frandsen of Hero Content; Logan Hall of ONE at Optimus; Lukas Korver of Workhorse Media; Montana Mann of Seed Media Arts; Charles Nordeen from Light of Day; Kyle Padilla of Cedar Films; Richard Speight, Jr., of Quietman; and Ben Tedesco of Superlounge.

Tedesco made the Showcase grade in part for his spec short Farrier for Dodge. Speight scored with his film America 101. Padilla gained inclusion in part for Nicky Romero and Krewella’s “Legacy” music video.

Nordeen earned his Showcase slot largely for Inspired, a piece of branded content for Faherty’s. Mann registered with her “Busted” spec spot for AT&T. Korver gained recognition for his “JaQue Billingsley” episode of Sports Illustrated’s Underdogs web series. Hall was deemed Showcase worthy in part for his humorous Get Covered Illinois TV spot titled “Coffee.” Frandsen was honored for his docu short for Dawn, The Big Picture—"Episode 8: Time To Make A Difference." Cooper garnered a slot based on an animated spot for CooperVision/Biofinity. Contreras scored with his Kool Head music video entitled “Leon.” Clair was recognized for the main title sequence for HBO’s True Detective series. Byrne gained inclusion for his Four Eyes short film. Berger is in the Showcase for the documentary short Good Karma $1. Bregel too got into the Showcase in large part for a documentary short, the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) This Is Called Life. Belli is a Showcase director in part for the HBO viral spec promo titled “It’s Not Porn.” Barrientos was selected for his short film Violeta.  And Adamo scored with his touching “Secret Agent” TV spot for Lehigh Valley Health System.