SHOOT's New Directors Showcase offered varied industry perspectives during a pair of afternoon sessions, and then an evening display of up-and-coming filmmaking talent with the debut screening of the Showcase Reel followed by a Meet the New Directors panel discussion, all held at the DGA Theater in NYC on Thursday (10/26). Capping the evenng was the NDS Event After-party, hosted by The-Artery at its facility in Chelsea.
Kicking off the proceedings was the annual In The Director's Chair session, this time featuring Jake Schreier of Park Pictures. Schreier is currently nominated for two Emmys on the stength of his work on Beef (Netflix)--for Outstanding Limited Series as an executive producer on the show, and for Outstanding Directing in a Limited Series for his direction of "The Great Fabricator" episode. He also teamed with Dave Free and Kendrick Lamar to direct "We Cry Together," a Lamar short film which earlier this year won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Film Craft.
Schreier's body of work also spans commercials, music videos, features (including Robot & Frank which premiered at Sundance) and other TV series (such as the Michel Gondry-produced Kidding, and the FX comedy series Dave).
A full report along with phtos and video of this session will be posted on SHOOTonline next week and in an upcoming SHOOT>e.dition.
Setting a Place at the Table of Content
The second afternoon panel, "Setting a Place at the Table of Content," featured a cross-section of industry panelists: Andy Bird, chief creative officer and founding partner of Le Truc, Publicis Groupe's creative collective; Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, managing partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein + Selz (FKKS); Christopher Neff, global head of emerging experience & technology at Anomaly; and Vico Sharabani, founder, creative director and director at The-Artery.
The panelists shed light on the creative, production, technological, strategic and legal aspects of a brave new content world spanning the Metaverse, Web3, augmentd reality, VR, AI and experiential.
A full report, including photos and video of this panel discussion will be posted on SHOTonline next week and in an upcoming SHOOT>e.dition.
New Directors Showcase
The evening proceedings began with a welcome from DGA business rep Michael Mintz, and SHOOT publisher and editorial director Roberta Griefer, followed by the debut screening of the 2023 New Directors Showcase Reel.
After the screening, Griefer asked the NDS directors in the audience to stand up, introducing them to the gathering. She then moderated the Meet the New Directors panel discussion which included four of the up-and-coming directrs: Elda Broglio of 1stAveMachine Buenos Aires; Anthony Jamari Thomas of Scheme Engine; and two helmers currently uaffiliated with a production house--Calvin Callins Jr. and Danielle Shapira (who is handled by agent the directors network).
Roundiing out the panel were two industry professionals: Miriam Franklin, EVP/head of integrated production, Deutsch New York; and Dinah Rodriguez, executive producer of production house m ss ng p eces.
Shapira, who comes from a Spanish-speaking Holocaust surviving family, earned her Showcase slot for Veritas' "Conquer Every Channel," a video opening for a tech presentation event featuring Ken Jeong in a comedic turn. Shapira's body of work has a celeb bent--not only with Jeong but a recent Taco Bell commercial starring Paris Hilton for Deutsch LA.
Thomas, with a background in performing arts and set design, scored Showcase inclusion for his "Man U Betta" commercial for Scarr's Pizza and Psyche Organic. The charmingly offbeat spot is as unconventional as its mesh of advertisers--a pizza parlor and an olive oil company. Thomas quipped that you don't find many Black people in an olive oil commercial, striking a tongue-in-cheek inclusionary note. Yet there is art to his funny, silly, endearing spot, with Thomas electing to shoot on film rather than go the digital route, observing that film with its grain and texture lent itself to the non-linear, funky feel he envisioned for the piece, adding a different dimension to the intentinally "goofy" storyline.
Broglio's Showcase piece, a "WomanLifeFreedom" PSA, was produced by 1stAveMachine in support of Iranians who are fighting their country's regime that has been oppressing them for more than 40 years. The PSA--deftly meshing animation with internet news footage--touches upon a 22-year-old Kurd naned Massa Amini who was murdered, while in the custody of authorities, for not wearing her hijab "properly." At the SHOOT session Broglio talked of her passion for animation and illustration, noting simply, "I love to draw." She is currently developing IP centering on a couple who are taking advantage of a significant age difference to learn about themselves and each other.
Callins made the Showcase cut for "Contagious Swagger," a piece of branded entertainment for Air Jordan. The work centers on an Asian woman who for the first time introduces her Black boyfriend to her parents. In sharp contrast, Callins noted that he grew up in Plant City, Florida, a community not all that diverse and certainly without much Asian presence. Venturing outside Plant City for his filmmaking and film education (which included professor Mark Schimmel, a director who suggestd that Callins enter work into the NDS competition), Callins saw and experienced greater diversity which is reflected in his artistic pursuits.
Panelist Franklin said there's "an amazing amount of talent in this room," describing the work shown and the Showcase directors gathered at the DGA venue as "inspiring." As for what she looks for in new talent, Franklin affirmed "a point of view" which manages to "make some sort of human connection," evoking thought, laughter, anger and/or joy. Franklin added that she is actuvely looking for diverse voices from underrepresented communities, noting that there are "important stories to be told from different points of view."
Rodriguez too was "inspired" as well as "moved and excited" by the Showcase talent. She noted that progress has been made over her two decades in the business. When she started out, diversity was hard to come by. But now she sees a wider range of "voices finally coming to the fore." Rodriguez encouraged new and aspiring directors "to keep sharpening your unique voice."
The 17 directors (15 individuals and a duo) currently unaffiliated with a production company, in addition to Callins and Shapira, are: Cameron Carr, Jacqueline Christy, MG Evangelista, Stacy Pascal Gaspard, Jennifer Greco, Daniel Kreizberg, The Kummerl Twins (Kayla and Krista), Jessica Makinson, Anthony Marinelli, David Nixon Jr., Alex Ramsey, Megan Stowe, Sophie Tabet, and Boson Wang.
Eighteen directors (16 individuals and a duo) are affiliated with production companies. Besides Broglio and Thomas, the Showcase directors with production house roosts are: Mia Barnes of RadicalMedia, Ben Brady of True Gentleman, McKenzie Chinn of Tessa Films, Leslie Cunningham of Diagonal Media, Daisy Ifama of Tinygiant, Luke Jaden of ONE at Optimus, Somayeh Jafari of Magnetic Field, Merawi Gerima of Serial Pictures, Justice Jamal Jones of Valiant Pictures, Nathalie Lamb of Emerald Pictures, Chelsea Odufu of Chromista TV, C.T. Robert of Partizan, Sergii Shevtsov of Institute, Eli Snyder of Believe Media, and Julien and Justen Turner of Invisible Collective.
Click here to view th SHOOT 2023 New Directors Showcase Reel.
Click here for profiles/contact info on all of the directors in the 2023 New Directors Showcase.
Lead sponsors of the 2023 SHOOT New Directors Showcase were the DGA and harvest films. Silver sponsors were The-Artery and advertising and entertainment law firm FKKS. The Bronze sponsor was Universal Production Services. Additional supporters were charlieuniformtango and Commercial Directing Film School.