- NEW YORK
SHOOT's New Directors Showcase provided 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 Theatre in NYC on Thursday, November 17. Capping the evening 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 Lauren Greenfield, co-founder of INSTITUTE. It was especially apropos to have Greenfield at a DGA venue. She made history as the first solo woman director to be nominated for the DGA Award in the commercials category--that came in 2015 (when the only other woman nominees in the spotaking category up to that point were part of directing teams with men). Even before breaking that glass ceiling, Greenfield had a DGA Awards pedigree. Two years earlier she earned her first DGA Award nomination for the feature documentary The Queen of Versailles.
Greenfield's DGA commercial nomination came for P&G/Always' "#LikeAGirl," which also won the primetime commercial Emmy Award, 14 Cannes Lions (including the Titanium Lion), seven Clios and was designated by YouTube as one of the top "Ads of the Decade." "#LikeAGirl" was also an AICP Show honoree and become part of the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.
Meanwhile The Queen of Versailles also went beyond its DGA recogntion, including earning Greenfield the Best Documentary Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Greenfield also garnered Writers Guild Award nominations for the documentaries Generation Wealth and The Kingmaker. Generation Wealth additionally was honored with the Film Independent Spirit of Independence Award. The Kingmaker received a Critics' Choice Award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary (Imelda Marcos). Greenfield's documentary Thin received a primetime Emmy nomination,
Just as her work broke new ground for women directors, so too did the company Greenfield and her partner Frank Evers founded in 2019, Girl Culture Films, helping to bring about opportunities in the advertising arena for deserving female filmmakers. Recently Girl Culture Films evolved into the company INSTITUTE, building upon its directorial roster to be more inclusive of all underrepresented talent regardless of gender, furthering its mission of uplifting diverse storytellers in advertising.
Greenfield's spots and print campaigns over the years span such brands as Apple, Asics, Bayer, Chevy, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Goodyear, Hewlett-Packard, Isuzu, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Nike, Target, Toyota Wal-mart and Xbox, among assorted others.
Click Here for A full report along with photos and videos of the In The Director's Chair session and the other sessions.
Cutting Edge of Content
The second afternoon panel, "Living on the Cutting Edge of Content," featured a cross-section of panelists: Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, managing partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein + Selz; Tatiana Lanier, sr. integrated producer, Ogilvy New York; Dave Rolfe, global head of production, WPP and Hogarth; and Vico Sharabani, founder and executive creative director, 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, augmented reality, VR, AI and experiential.
A full report along with photos and video of this panel discussion will be posted on SHOOTonline next week and in an upcoming SHOOT>e.dition.
New Directors Showcase
The evening proceedings began with a welcome from Mary Hatch, assistant executive director of the DGA and SHOOT publisher and editorial director Roberta Griefer, followed by the debut screening of the 2022 New Directors Showcase Reel.
After screening the 20th annual Showcase Reel, Griefer asked the NDS directors in the audience to stand up, introducing them to the gathering and mentioning their recognized work. She then moderated the Meet the New Directors panel discussion which included four of the up-and-coming directors: Ariel Ellis of production company Woodward Original; Bola Ogun of Believe Media; and two helmers currently unaffiliated with a production house--Taylor Ellis and Robert E, Wagner.
Rounding out the panel were two industry professionals: Bonnie Goldfarb, co-founder and executive producer of harvest films; and director Evan Silver, co-founder of Reform School and an alum of SHOOT's 2007 New Directors Showcase.
The 2022 New Directors Showcase offers a total of 33 up-and-coming directors--consisting of 31 individual directors and one duo. The field includes 11 directors who are unaffiliated with a production company. And 15 of the directors are women.
Ariel Ellis earned a Showcase slot on the strength of her "Happiness Moment" PSA for The Innocence Project which showed the joyful moments with family and friends missed over the years by those unjustly incarcerated. Ellis said telling these stories changed her perspective on life, valuing the heartwarming moments we often take for granted--and which were lost to those imprisoned. She noted that inmates freed through the efforts of The Innocence Project served an average of 16 years in prison. As for her recent endevors, Ellis wrapped a Michigan tourism spot for Pure Michigan.
Taylor Ellis was pretty much homebound during the pandemic but somehow wanted to keep active directorially. Towards that end he took a crash course in computer animation, creating a spec spot, "Untethered"for Meta Quest 2, in which an astronaut takes an ambitious space walk. "Untethered," which garnered him Showcase inclusion, took four months for Ellis to bring the CG spot to fruition.
Ogun secured a Showcase slot for episodic television work, Raising Dion, Issue 208, "Who are you." She has made a major splash already in TV series, having recently directed the season finale of Witcher. Ogun received mentorship along the way, making the cut for the 2014 Directing Workshop for Women, and Ryan Murphy's Television HALF Mentorship Program. Ogun landed her TV directorial debut on Ava DuVernay's Queen Sugar after DuVernay saw Ogun's short, Are We Good Parents? Ogun went on to episodic credits including Lucifer, Charmed and Siren. Earlier this year, she signed with Believe Media for U.S, commercial representation.
Wagner garnered Showcase recognition for his Dodge spec spot "Baby Tricks." Real-life experience as a Dad inspired the spec piece which humorously depicts a father's attempts to engage his young daughter but to no avail--until he connects with her over the sound his car makes. Similarly Wagner's experience as a husband sparked his next spec piece which injects viewers into an absurd argument between a hubby and wife. The dispute comically escalates into something that has nothing to do with the initial disagreement.
Panelist Silver wished this year's NDS class best of luck. He noted that his NDS recognition helped his career. However, he quipped that even with the NDS distinction, it took him a bit longer than other Showcase alums to land a production company affiliation. His roosts included Tool of North America, Funny or Die's Gifted Youth and Ruffian before launching his own comedy-based production company, Reform School.
Panelist Goldfarb observed from experience that directors are best served "if you work from your heart," develop your voice and stay engaged. An accomplished 36-year production veteran, Goldfarb noted that she came into the business at a time when women mentors were few and far between--and becoming a director didn't seem like a viable prospect for a woman. Thankfully that has all changed. While there's still a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusion, said Goldfarb, we're still at least "on a good path" for progress.
The 11 Showcase directors currently unaffiliated with a production house are, in addition to Taylor Ellis and Robert E. Wagner, Alec Basse, Jeffrey Brown, Alexander Gilbert, Maren Lavelle, Kyle LeClaire, Jeremy Nachbar, Andrew Rhee, Steven Tralongo and Drew Vaughan.
Twenty-two directors are affiliated with production companies. Besides Ariel Ellis and Bola Ogun, the Showcase directors with production house roosts are: Rebecca Applebaum of Community Films, Amandla Baraka of Little Minx, Ilanna Barkusky of Cultivate Media; Annie Bercy of Slmbr Prty, Sheena Brady of World War Seven (U,S,) and The Salmon (Canada), Eva Dolezalova of RSA Films, Evan Ari Kelman of Wild Factory and Good Brother (though he continues to seek additional national and international representation), Tess Lafia of Mirror Films; Bethany Mollenkof of Sibling Rivalry, Kimberly Stuckwisch of Scheme Engine (U.S.) and Rogue Films (U.K.), Walter Thompson-Hernandez of REVERIE Content, Clayton Vila of Greenpoint Pictures, Noah Wagner of Echobend (though he continues to seek additional national and international representation), Rog + Bee Walker of HOUND, Wes Walker from Tool of North America, Miles Warren of Team Bubbly, Gabrielle Woodland of Bindery; Wukda of Anonymous Content; and Courtney Sofiah Yates of Stept Studios.
Click here for A full report along with photos and videos of all of the sessions.