Saatchi & Saatchi debuts 17th Annual New Directors Showcase

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Saatchi & Saatchi's 17th annual New Directors Showcase with a poignant but fun-filled Bunraku-inspired performance that followed the journey of a new director as he sprouts his wings in the obstacle-laden advertising industry facing giant puppet versions of the "big fat creative director," the "big beautiful client," as well as budget cuts personified as a flying samurai, all set to a score Malcolm Maclaren-composed score.

The puppeteer/performance artists hailed from Baker Coogan Productions, known for its work on a Scissor Sisters video. This time, however, they played in the Cannes Palais des Festivales to a packed Grand auditorium, and a spillover audience watching over live video feed in another theater. The show once again featured a broad range of genres and forms from 18 directors. The live action work, which represented about two thirds of the showcase, was especially strong and inventive this year.
Director/choreographer Trish Sie, repped out of Bob Industries, opened the show with her wildly popular "Treadmill" video for OK Go's "Here It Goes Again," which received over 16 million hits on Youtube and earned a Grammy award for best short form video. Other live action clips came from Partizan's Rozan & Schmeltz, who shot the ultimate in post-kegger night pranks in a clip for Justice vs Simian's "We Are Your Friends," while Blink/Furlined's Ramon Bloomberg shot a clip for Stark Haze's "Horse Territory."

Spots-wise, the showcase featured Nike's "Less Pain" from DP/director Joaquin Baca-Asay of Park Pictures/Gorgeous; a quirky exploration of what-ifs, for the Discover Channel directed by 300ML of Hungry Man Rio, an acrobatics-filled spot "Human Machine" for; a kid roadies doc-style short for XFM, from Academy's Tony Barry; and Gorgeous director Vince Squibb's unsettling spot for Transport London, out of M&C Saatchi, a poetic illustration of an otherwise uneventful day gone awry. Short films included a hilarious story of a man and his pet toupee, from Landia's Luciano Quilici, and impeccable performance work from Amy Gebhardt of Australia's Wildyam Films, "Look Sharp," which shows the lengths one bold female photographer goes to get the best shot from a surly young man and his more mild-mannered friend. The showcase also featured the baffling "Marjorie Daw" from Academy's Conkerco, which showed crowds caught up in bizarre sideways and upwards gravitational pull.

Animation and multimedia yielded some of the crowd favorites: Lev Yilmaz's short "Horny," line and collage-styled animation of a John Lennon interview by the Electric Company's Josh Raskin and a connect-the-dots inspired PSA, "No Will," by Lobo's Nando Cohen and bold and graphic t-shirt animations from Jonas & Francois of El Nino@75. Tom Reilly of The Cartel also appeared with some psychotic stop motion and Minivegas created a world of flora and fauna devouring creatures who look like Gollem and chimp hybrids, for John Cale's "Jumbo."

Festival chair and Saatchi worldwide CCO Bob Isherwood noted that over the years, the role of the showcase has changed. Originally, the reel served to open the world's eyes to not just talents that were up and coming, but those from unexpected parts of the world. "When we first brought the reel to Cannes 17 years ago, there was a perception that all the best talent in the world was in the U.S. or the U.K.," he says. "We knew that not to be true, so we used the strength of the network to bring the best talent from all over the globe and put it on a world stage. It changed the industry a lot." Now, however, Isherwood believes that "the reel is a bellweather that shows where the industry is at with new directors." Isherwood said that the 2007 directors were found in places ranging from film schools to Youtube, and this year's selections alone reflect a continuing decrease in the number of commercials featured. "Maybe it's faster for new directors now to be doing virals or music videos," Isherwood says. "The industry is clearly not giving them the opportunities that it used to."

TRISH SIE, Bob Industries
300ML, Hungry Man
LEV YILMAZ, Lev Yilmaz
AMY GEBHARDT, Wildyam Films (Sydney)
JOHNNY GREEN,Knucklehead
JOSH RASKIN, Electric Company, Toronto
LUCIANO QUILICI, Landia Buenos Aires
TOM REILLY, The Cartel, New Zealand
BORGATO & BERTÉ, H Films, Milan
JOAQUIN BACA-ASAY, Gorgeous/Park Pictures
JONAS & FRANÇOIS, El Nino @ 75, Paris
CONKERCO, Academy Films
TONY BARRY, Academy Films
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