Cannes Lions

New Directors' Showcase films at Cannes explore racism, cyberbullying and opiate addiction

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Thursday at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity saw quite a different New Director's Showcase. This year, Saatchi & Saatchi, which has curated the show celebrating emerging talent for the past 27 years, passed the baton to RSA Films, one of the industry's top production companies, founded by veteran director Ridley Scott. The event, created in partnership with creative production studio MPC helped mark the company's 50th anniversary in the commercials business, as well as the introduction of Ridley Scott Creative Group, the umbrella entity of Scott's various affiliated media companies including his feature film production company Scott Free, 3AM Entertainment and others.

The event opened with a modernized take on Scott's first film, the short "Boy and a Bicycle," starring his brother, the late director Tony Scott, under the theme of "Regeneration: Year One." It emphasized the notion that after 50 years, things are only getting started. Scott's granddaughter, Cuba Tornado Scott, created the visual identity with MPC, which later built it out into the show's title sequence.

Kate Stanners, Saatchi & Saatchi global chief creative officer, then had a sitdown with the director, who revealed his plans for the future (he'll be returning to spots and is directing two commercials), and doled out advice to young directors. To do a good film, "you've got to have an idea," he said. "My favorite phrase is 'Am I engaged?" That is your first priority -- the rest is the fun part."

This year's reel included hard-hitting films on provocative issues.

It included "I'm Not Racist," by L.A.-based Ben Proulx and Joyner Lucas, a controversial rap about race and society from the perspective of a white man and a black man. The filmmaking duo were also included for "Frozen," a shocking PSA about road safety in which the lyrics appear to be sung by the dead victims of road accidents.

Scott said his favorite of the bunch is "The Kids," a powerful music video for Charlotte Cardin directed by Canadian director Kristof Brandl. It depicts a child withdrawing from, and ultimately damaged by, his opiate-addicted parents.

Lebanese director Jessy Moussallem was included for her music video for pop band Mashrou' Leila featuring 100 Muslim women in an ode to the strength and grace of ongoing feminist action in the Middle East.

Director Win Bates was picked for the hidden camera anti-cyberbullying PSA "In Real Life" for Monica Lewinsky and BBDO New York.

Other winners included Jim Cumming's "Thunder Road," a black comedy set at a funeral in which a grieving son gives an extraordinary performance of the Springsteen song, and Schall & Schnabel's shocking video "boyfriend" for Confidence Man, in which a woman's hands mutilate Ken dolls in the most horrific ways.

Directors Georgia Hudson, Mike Skrgatic and James Allen, Erik Ferguson & Elliot Seller, Megacomputeur, Jodeb and Steve Cutts were also honored. The final list of 12 directors is shorter than in previous years, something that RSA said "reflects Ridley's expectations and his unwavering commitment to both storytelling and craft."

Due to Publicis agencies' non-participation in Cannes this year, Saatchi & Saatchi could not fund the event, so it was quite timely for RSA's 50th to coincide. (Saatchi will, however, be back next year.)

The judging process was completed in two phases. A global team at both MPC and Saatchi & Saatchi, respectively, reviewed the initial round of submissions. A longlist of submissions were then reviewed and curated by Ridley 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.

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."

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