SHOOT’s 17th annual New Directors Showcase--which was celebrated with an evening screening and panel discussion at the DGA Theatre in NYC, followed by an industry party--offers a total of 36 up-and-coming directors filling 34 shots (32 individual directors, and two duos). The field includes 18 freelancers, 17 women and a number of filmmakers with ad agency pedigrees.
On the latter score, a prime example is Jess Coulter who joined production house O Positive late last year, coming over from BBDO New York where she served as a creative director, helping to realize popular campaigns for Foot Locker, HBO, Snickers, Lowe’s, Twix, AT&T and FedEx that took home awards including Cannes Lions, One Show Pencils, Clios, Effies and AICP Show honors. Prior to her tenure at BBDO which began in 2010, Coulter was a sr. copywriter at Saatchi & Saatchi New York. Coulter earned inclusion into SHOOT's Showcase on the strength of “Drag,” her O Positive-produced spot for Dunkin’ from BBDO New York.
Also sporting an advertising agency background is Lisa D’Apolito, a Showcase director for her documentary Love, Gilda. An intimate profile of the late, beloved comedian and former Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner, Love, Gilda opened last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. As for D’Apolito’s agency roots, she was a producer for 17 years at FCB Healthcare. D’Apolito is currently unaffiliated with a production house.
Zack Grant too is unaffiliated, garnering a Showcase slot for his documentary short Shake With Me, which is about his mother, Debra Magid, who's an artist dealing with Parkinson's disease. Last year Grant served as a producer for Droga5 on a couple of SHOOT ScreenWork entries--a comedic IHOP spot directed by Eric Wareheim of PRETTYBIRD, and a poignantly serious PSA from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence directed by Jim Cummings of Here Be Dragons.
Brian Hall, who’s with Finch Pharaoh Films, made the Showcase cut for his Mercedes-Benz spec commercial “Stuntman.” His experience includes years of working for major ad agencies across the U.S. (including Merkley+Partners), turning out much work in the luxury automobile space.
And unaffiliated Showcase director Mary Dauterman had earlier in her career been an art director at such advertising agencies as Crispin Porter+Bogusky, Droga5 and Wieden+Kennedy. She then freelanced as a hybrid creative/director. Dauterman is recognized in the Showcase for her short film OMW.
This year’s Showcase also includes a pair of directors with notable directorial DNA: Cuba Tornado Scott of RSA Films, and Caitlin Cronenberg who’s with Untitled Films, Toronto.
Scott, who earned inclusion on the strength of her Accor/Fairmont Hotels’ short film 9 1/2, is the daughter of director Jake Scott, granddaughter of the legendary filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott, and the great niece of the late, revered director Tony Scott. Her mother is Rhea Scott, principal and executive producer at production house Little Minx. 9 1/2 marks Cuba Tornado Scott's directorial debut.
Cronenberg’s directorial lineage is comprised of her father, David Cronenberg, and brother, Brandon Cronenberg. Her showcase piece is the PSA titled “Oxygen” for The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), out of Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo.
Earning inclusion into SHOOT's "The Best Work You May Never See" gallery last year, "Oxygen" shows a woman who's seemingly in a hospital bed speaking about her affliction. Gradually, though, it's revealed that she's not in the hospital receiving treatment but rather at home alone dealing with her mental illness.
Caitlin Cronenberg first established herself as a still photographer with work featured in such publications as Vogue, Vanity Fair, French Elle, Marie Claire, W magazine, Chatelaine, Hello! Canada, The New York Times and assorted Canadian newspapers. One of her still assignments was to shoot a Cannes photo diary for The New York Times in 2010, following her dad and brother who both had films at the festival. She has also shot campaigns for high-end fashion labels including Mackage, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Samuelsohn, and Hickey Freeman.
Half of the Showcase directors this year are as of yet unaffiliated with a production company.
In addition to the aforementioned D’Apolito, Dauterman and Grant, the unaffiliated crop of up-and-coming filmmaking talent consists of: David Findlay for his short film Laura Lemerveil; Jonny Gentry for GEICO’s “Unexpected” spec commercial; Jose Ho-Guanipa for “My Beauty, My Say,” a piece of spec branded content for Dove; Ji Hyun Kim for the short film HELEN; Tamika Miller for the Amazon Echo spec commercial “Get Answers NOW”; Andre Muir for the short film 4 Corners; Katie O’Grady for Nike’s “Behind The Design,” a promo tied into the LAIKA theatrical feature film The Missing Link; Jane Qian for her public service short film Phoenix; the Ray Sisters (Austin and Westin Ray) for their “We Are The Daughters” spec public service spot; Alfredo Rodriguez-Allen for SimpliSafe’s “The Perfect Security System” spec commercial; Samantha Scaffidi for Oh Pep!’s “Tea, Milk and Honey” music video; Dylan Trussell & David Dinetz for their Wolf & Shepherd commercial “Dress Shoes Like Sneakers”; and Dimitri Tsvetkov for “Panarea,” a piece of branded content for American Apparel.
Besides Cronenberg, Coulter. Hall and Scott, the Showcase directors affiliated with production companies are: Bernd Faass--who’s handled by Park Pictures in the U.S. and U.K., and Element E/Anorak in Germany--for Tears Dry Gin’s branded content piece, “Tears In Heaven”; Rachel Annette Helson of Kass Management for her short film Hatched; Alexandra Henry of Valiant Pictures for her documentary feature Street Heroines; Mackenzie Hilton of Thinking Machine for Semester At Sea’s short film, Learning to Swim; Crystal Kayiza of Little Minx for her documentary short Edgecombe; Emmett Kerr-Perkinson of Pan Up Productions for Tinder’s “Our Story” spec commercial; Nadav Kurtz of Dictionary Films for “Ana,” branded content for LIFEWTR; Monty Marsh--who’s handled by The Directors Network, Lightswitch Content and Invisible Collective--for Adidas Originals’ “Original Is Never Finished” spec commercial; Jonny Mass of m ss ng p eces for “The Journey,” a piece of branded content for BMW; Michael Medoway of The Lodge for the Lexus branded short, The Art of the Dunk; Jamieson Mulholland of ONE at Optimus for an “Illegal Mezcal” commercial showcasing his food/drink/tabletop prowess; Charlotte Regan of Knucklehead for Wretch 32’s music video, “His & Hers (Perspectives)”; Mikael Tyrsen of NUCONTEXT for the Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists Freeform network television series promo spot; and Jake Zalutsky of Picture North for “Who We Are,” a commercial for USA National Hockey.
While past Showcases have included strong showings by women, this year’s tally of 17 females (nearly half the field) is the highest ever. The 17 women making the 17th annual Showcase cut consist of 15 individual directors and one duo.