- CANNES, France
Film and commercial director Ridley Scott presented the 28th Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase to an audience of 2,300 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Curated by Scott in partnership with MPC, the Showcase featured seven individual filmmakers and five teams.
The solo helmers are Win Bates, Kristof Brandl, Jim Cummings, Steve Cutts, Georgia Hudson, Jodeb, and Jessy Moussallem. The teams are: Mike Skrgatic & James Allen; Elliott Sellers & Erik Ferguson; Ben Proulx & Joyner Lucas; Schall & Schnabel; and MegaComputeur. The latter is an animation collective which consists of six students: Camille Jalabert, Léo Brunel, Quentin Camus, Corentin Yvergniaux, Maryka Laudet and Oscar Malet, who came together after an internship at Paris-based Wizz Design.
Filmmaker Scott’s involvement in this year’s Showcase coincides with the 50th anniversary of his production company RSA Films, and the launch of the transmedia network, Ridley Scott Creative Group.
Of the final reel, Scott said; “The range of the work submitted this year has been remarkable. We’ve taken great care to ensure that the 2018 reel not only reflects great ideas but also considered craft and production. To be a truly great storyteller you have to be able to fully execute a brilliant idea. We hope you enjoy the 2018 Showcase, we feel that it’s an exciting selection of the most promising new talent breaking into the industry today.”
MPC CEO Mark Benson added, “The New Directors’ Showcase is important to the industry as it helps surface undiscovered talent and sparks exciting conversations about creativity and what’s original. It brings the industry together with a unique forum where people with exceptional potential have the opportunity to demonstrate their vision and capabilities to a wider audience who may commission them professionally--now and in the future. Together we have an opportunity to create unique and memorable work when we combine a new way of looking at things, with industry experience.”
The Showcase event saw Scott take to the stage in a Q&A with Kate Stanners, Saatchi & Saatchi’s global chairwoman and chief creative officer. This year’s theme, “Regeneration: Year One,” emphasized Scott’s forward facing views on new talent, the role of a director in today’s communications landscape, and the importance of both the idea and execution.
The judging process this year was completed in two phases. In the first instance, a global team at both MPC and Saatchi & Saatchi respectively, reviewed the initial round of submissions. The teams consisted of equal numbers of male and female judges, and feedback was called upon from people with varying degrees of experience within the businesses--thus giving up-and-coming talent the opportunity to feed into the process. Each company had its respective chair; Benson was chairman of the MPC judging panel, while Stanners oversaw the Saatchi & Saatchi results. A long-list of submissions were then reviewed and curated by Scott and his team at The Ridley Scott Creative Group. The judging process was overseen by Andy Gulliman, who was also responsible for the entire NDS production.
The final list of a dozen directors (seven individuals and five teams) is shorter than in previous years and reflects Scott’s expectations and his commitment to both storytelling and craft. Here’s a rundown of the 2018 Saatchi Showcase directors:
Win Bates is an award-winning commercial director based in Los Angeles and New York. His client list includes notable brands such as VW, Subaru, Motorola, Microsoft, Remington, Jordan Brand, and Pedigree. In 2018, he has received a gold Andy, a D&AD pencil, four One Show Merits, and notable press including a write up in The New York Times for his hidden camera anti-cyberbullying PSA “In Real Life” with Monica Lewinsky and BBDO NY--which is his Saatchi NDS reel entry. In 2017, he won 11 Cannes Lions for his live stunt and film “Scariest BK” with David Miami and Burger King. He also received multiple 2017 One Show Merits, a Clio and Communication Arts Advertising Annual 58 honors for his experimental, hidden camera film “A Vote for Good” for BBDO NY and Pedigree. He also has two scripted shows in development with 3 Arts Entertainment and Five All in the Fifth Productions.
Following the success of his first short-film “Pop Le Cheval,” Kristof Brandl was immersed in the world of cinematography at the unprecedented age of 17. His directorial debut led to numerous beautiful projects around the world, which have established Brandl as a unique Montreal artist. The powerful images in his music videos and short films are often inspired by foreign locations--as is evident in Jason Bajada’s “Armée de Montgolfières,” shot on location in China. Brandl’s “The Kids” appears on the Saatchi Showcase reel.
The music hasn’t stopped playing for Jim Cummings. The 30-year-old writer-director-actor who won Sundance’s short film grand jury prize in 2016 seems to have found the holy grail for up-and-coming filmmakers: steady work. A former freelance line producer for College Humor in Los Angeles, Cummings recently transitioned into writing, directing and acting full time, and now has so many projects going simultaneously that it’s hard to believe he was an unknown filmmaker just 18 months ago. When he’s not working on his own projects, Cummings and a small group of friends run a “viral production agency” called Unison LA, which shoots short-form work like music videos and commercials. Cummings’ “Thunder Road” appears on the Saatchi reel.
Cutts is a UK based illustrator and animator. His recent work includes the “LA-Z Rider” couch gag for “The Simpsons” and the music video for “Are You Lost In The World Like Me?” for Moby. He also worked on projects for agencies across the world including UNESCO, The Gaia Foundation, Isobar, LMFM, and Analogfolk’. His work has been featured on various television networks, including Adult Swim and Fox in the US and Channel 4 in the UK. He mainly works with Adobe After Effects, Toon Boom Harmony, Photoshop, Cinema 4D and Manga Studio. Cutts’ “Happiness” is on the Saatchi Showcase reel.
Georgia Hudson has created a prolific imprint on the music scene with her unique video work, subsequently nominated in 2017 as Best Director at the UKMVA’s. Her passion for dance, emotion driven storytelling and the way movement interacts with the camera have been used to create films for Under Armour, P!nk and Loyle Carner, to name just a few. Inherently female, always moving, beautiful - Georgia Hudson’s visceral films interrogate youth culture, identity and self-expression on a physical and intuitive level, with her signature attention to evocative and lustrous aesthetics. Hudson is currently developing “Temper,” an artistic documentary on youth culture and grief--to be released in 2018. Hudson’s “Waterbaby” for Tom Misch appears on the Saatchi Showcase reel. Hudson is handled by Park Pictures in the U.S. and U.K.
Jonathan Desbiens, better known by the pseudonym Jodeb, is a Canadian filmmaker hailing from the small town of Shawinigan, Quebec. He started doing his own VFX at 12 years old, while making skateboard films with his friends. This natural passion for filmmaking saw him continuing to helm short films and music videos through his teens. Jodeb later opted to tackle fine arts at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières to enrich his style rather than go to film school. It is within this parallel—the balance of simultaneously studying classical art history, literature, painting, sculpture, and glasswork while continuing to hone his self-taught skill for directing, editing, colors and visual effects—that Jodeb developed his rich, multifaceted creative voice. London Grammar’s “Non Believer” is Jodeb’s entry on the Saatchi reel.
An animation collective made up of six students; Camille Jalabert, Léo Brunel, Quentin Camus, Corentin Yvergniaux, Maryka Laudet and Oscar Malet. They came together after an internship at Paris-based Wizz Design. For their first project, which was created at Wizz, MegaComputeur has created “Deuspi,” a film that tells the tale of two hapless robbers and their attempts at stealing from a convenience store. From there began an exciting story of friendship, French baguettes, and “crazy computer stuff.” To honor their common desire to direct films, they started to create crazy CG projects together, making their short films and using their absurd sense of humor. Their debut film “Deuspi” has picked up recognition at awards like Short Of The Year and World Animation Celebration, and their shorts regularly feature on Vimeo’s Staff Picks. MegaComputeur’s Saatchi Showcase reel entry is Goats/La Legende De La Chevre Qui Connaissait Le Vrai Sens De La Montagne.
During her childhood in Beirut, the young Lebanese filmmaker spun stories while watching people in traffic, imagining their lives and conversations. Jessy Moussallem pursued her inclination for storytelling in film school at the Lebanese Academy of Arts, finishing as valedictorian of her class in 2010 with a short film that also won first prize at the European Film Festival. After completing several filmmaking workshops in Paris and Barcelona, she returned to Beirut determined to follow through with her talent with a tribute to friendship sublimated by dance. The inspired project in hand, she quickly located a fashion brand to collaborate with, shooting her film “Danse à deux temps” in Lebanon with a shoestring budget and crazy energy. Jessy puts the film online on Vimeo and in a few hours “Danse à deux temps” was Staff Picked--the first award of its kind in Lebanon. Recently, she wrote and directed a music video for pop band Mashrou’ Leila - a narrative that included one hundred women in an ode to the strength and grace of ongoing feminist action in the Middle East--this work graced the Saatchi Showcase reel. Again, the video was chosen for a Vimeo Staff Pick, trended as Number One on YouTube, and received international recognition. In this young woman, rich in eastern and western contrasted experiences, passion and determination prevail. Elegance and mastery characterize her work’s fluid completion, full of emotion and freedom.
Ben Proulx & Joyner Lucas
Ben Proulx has directed videos for corporate clients such as Google, Lionsgate, Panasonic, Scholastic, VistaPrint and Muscle & Fitness Magazine. His music video directorial work has been televised on MTV, Revolt, and other national outlets. Joyner Lucas signed to Atlantic Records in 2016. Lucas went on to release a project titled 508-507-2209 on June 16, 2017, with Atlantic Records. The mixtape charted at #7 on the Heatseekers Albums chart on Billboard and contained the singles “I’m Sorry”, “Ultrasound” and “Winter Blues.” Proulx and Lucas co-directed the video for the single “I’m Not Racist”--the YouTube video quickly went viral and now has over 74 million views. The song is controversial, rapping about race and society, and race relations from the perspective of a white man, and a black man. “I’m Not Racist” and “Frozen” are the pieces shown on the Saatchi Showcase reel.
Schall & Schnabel
The multi-disciplinary studio Schall & Schnabel was founded by Eileen Huhn and Pierre Horn. They have created many conceptual fashion editorials for international magazines and worked for several clients such as BMW and Nivea. Studio Schall & Schnabel has initiated different collaborative projects with artists, musicians and dancers. Schall & Schnabel provides services like visual concepts, fashion photography and portrait photography, image campaigns, cinemagraphs & animated gifs, videography, stop motion, light and room installations, art direction, artwork, retouching and creative consultation. Confidence Man’s “Boyfriend” is the Schall & Schnabel piece on the Saatchi Showcase reel.
Elliott Sellers & Erik Ferguson
Elliott Sellers & Erik Ferguson’s “Dreams” for Zhu X Nero appears on the Saatchi Showcase reel. Sellers is a director, writer, cinematographer and editor dividing his time between New York and Los Angeles. He has directed music videos for artists such as 2-Chains, Lil Jon, Offset, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Wayne, Bastille, Christina Perri and Portugal the Man. Sellers began his career studying under the late Alan Calzatti (Sigur Ros’ Heima) and his father Alexander Calzatti, the sole surviving crew member of the historical “Soy Cuba” (restored and presented by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola) who is responsible for inventing film techniques such as underwater cinematography, infrared photography and famous wire-rigging camera operation. Influenced by these pioneers, Sellers carries the same spirit of boundary pushing innovation into his body of work. Recently, Sellers was the cinematographer of a narrative short film “Ouroborus” starring Rosario Dawson and has filmed several experimental dance pieces with choreographer and dancer Emma Portner (NYC ballet, Justin Bieber, Jim Steinman’s “Bat out of Hell” the musical) and her partner Ellen Page (“Juno,” “Inception”). He is now gearing up to film Portner’s first dance feature, which will be premiering at the Guggenheim in New York City. He is also in pre-production on the new Tame Impala video “My Life” starring Willow Smith, which he will direct. Beyond his production slate, Sellers is in-development for his first narrative feature, “iON,” and a new pilot with novelist and Vice columnist Blake Butler.
Mike Skrgatic & James Allen
James and Mike met at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee in 1997, before moving to London and continuing on to successful careers in some of the industry’s leading post facilities. They set up and now co-own Time Based Arts which is 100% artist owned and run. Time Based Arts has been quietly establishing its reputation as a stellar visual effects company for the last nine years. Based in Shoreditch, East London it has gone about building a distinctive and creative body of work more commonly associated with the biggest global facilities. After 10 years spent perfecting their compositing skills they decided to finance a Flame, move out of Soho and go it alone. Their personal approach to projects, attention to detail and their ability to adapt to offer bespoke solutions has won them respect and admiration from all corners of the industry. Tucked into a yard off Old Street, their characteristic studios are located in the Caretaker’s Cottage, a Grade II listed Victorian townhouse annexed to the rear of the Shoreditch Town Hall. After an epic build from a starting point of nothing but a shell, the facility opened its doors in May 2009. Time Based Arts has grown quickly with experience and expertise found throughout the creative team. Skrgatic & Allen’s “Dream Makers” for Honda is on the Saatchi Showcase reel.
RSA managing director Kai Hsiung commented, “When we were asked to oversee this year’s Showcase, we didn’t realize what an all-consuming task it would be. There were so many amazing ideas, and we were truly humbled by some of the outstanding work submitted. But in the end we had to take into consideration the craft. Our selection is based on what we deemed to be the greatest execution of the best ideas.”
When looking at the role and opportunities for directors today, MPC’s Benson said, “There are arguably more opportunities today, but new directors face a range of challenges. It’s harder because the market is broader, more competitive and there are more directors attempting similar work. At the same time the distribution platforms are evolving and multiplying - with the volume of content ever-growing, craft plays a fundamental role to enable brands and work to cut through the noise.”
NDS producer Gulliman said that the “New Directors Showcase is more important this year than it ever has been.” He added, “In some parts of the industry there has been a growth of crowdsourcing for convenience and that isn’t compatible with nurturing new talent. The NDS is all about sharing exceptional talent so their work is at the forefront of people’s minds for those who have a script or opportunity sitting on their desk. Commission the right talent and you’ll maximize the end result.”
The visual identity for the 2018 New Directors’ Showcase was created by Ridley’s granddaughter Cuba Tornado Scott in creative collaboration with the design team at MPC. She was commissioned to create an original artwork inspired by the theme “Regeneration:Year One.” The artwork was then used as the foundation for the team at MPC, led by creative director Antar Walker, to develop into a full title sequence and promotional materials.
Client Monica Lewinsky/Anti-Bullying Agency BBDO New York David Lubars, chief creative officer, global; Greg Hahn, chief creative officer, NY; Danilo Boer, Marcos Kothlar, executive creative directors; Bianca Guimaraes, associate creative director/art director; Roberto Danino, associate creative director/copywriter; David Rolfe, head of integrated production; Angela Narloch, executive producer; Rani Zarina Vaz, head of music production. Production BBDO Studios Win Bates, director; Michael Gentile, BBDO Studios lead; AJ Rowe, BBDO Studios manager; Persis Koch, exec producer. Editorial Work Editorial Adam Witten, editor; Jamie Perritt, producer. Color & Finish The Mill Fergus McCall, Corey Brown, colorists; Kyle Zemborain, 2D assist; Luis Martin, producer. Audio Post Heard City Dan Flosdorf, mixer; Gloria Pitagorsky, exec producer. Music Human Andy Bloch, composer/creative lead; James Dean Wells, exec producer.