Directors "Rize" to the Challenge

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The Krumpers take the stage
The Krumpers take the stage
The Saatchi New Directors Showcase, known for its elaborate opening productions, took a refreshingly lo-frills but adrenalized turn this year as a crew of dancers from David LaChapelle's critically-acclaimed documentary Rize leapt onto stage and treated the crowd to a live performance of their volatile street dancing, known as Krumping, backed by a montage of scenes from the film.

The introduction was fitting for this year's theme, "Disruption," also evident in the event's lineup. Featuring 22 talents, the showcase proved to be surprisingly light on the spots, with commercials comprising only just over a third of the films, which are all available to view for free here. Animation and multi-media was aplenty and included an in-your-orifice themed black and white short from Wanda's Mrzyk & Moriceau, a charming tale of a sleep-deprived badger from Tandem's Sharon Colman and a somber post-apocalyptic story of survival from ICM-represented Shane Acker. Andreas Hasle used dazzling effects to illustrate a morbid reality in his spot for Medecins Sans Frontieres, featuring people getting subsumed into a giant rolling ball of bodies. Re-imagining the cityscape proved to be a theme with Alex Chandon, who turned the concrete jungle into an Escher-like illusion; Partizan's Chris Cairns who reconfigured asphalt into a turntable for a giant DJ; and The Ebeling Group's Nakd, who made artful building blocks out of cardboard boxes.

Live action highlights included a hilarious MTV promo from agency creative-turned director Mike Long of Epoch Films, featuring a family who only speaks in beatbox; a love story on rewind from HLA's Jamie Rafn; and the visual dazzling "Street Dream" short from Academy's Si & Ad, which illustrates a spoken word day-in-the-life of a man positioned supine against a chalk-drawn sidewalk backdrop. Ralitza Petrova presented a somber story of a whipping boy for sale, while Project Greenlight finalist Dagen Merrill turned an obscure, ostensibly plot-less script into a moody hitman actioner. The final film, a music video for Japanese pop singer Yuki directed by Partizan's Nagi Noda was the obvious crowd favorite. Featuring a lo-fi, in-camera approach to time lapse photography, the clip is an obvious inspiration for the director's recent Coca-Cola spot featuring The White Stripes' Jack White.

To close the show, the Krumpers returned with Saatchi Worldwide Creative Director Bob Ishwerwood, who welcomed onto the stage HSI and Rize director David LaChapelle, a 1998 Showcase alum. "I was a new director once and wouldn't have finished my film if I hadn't started out in music videos and commercials," LaChapelle reflected. "They gave me the confidence to do believe in what I was doing, so keep hiring young talent, keep looking for the new directors out there and give them a chance."

The 2006 Lineup

Chris Cairns, Partizan
Nakd, The Ebeling Group
Henry Littlechild, Outsider
David O'Reilly Colonel Blimp/Blink
Mike Long, Epoch Films
Shaun Gladwell, Revolver Films
Ralitza Petrova
RBG6, Nexus Productions
Shane Acker, ICM
Myzyk & Moriceau, Wanda Productions
Dagen Merrill, Accomplice Productions
Javier Gutierrez & Stukan, Ciberfilms
Sharon Colman, Tandem Films Ltd
Andreas Hasle, Caviar
Jamie Rafn, HLA
Sean de Sparengo, Therapy Films, Ltd.
Si & Ad, Academy
Alex Chandon
Huse, RSA Films
Alex Kiesl & Steffen Hacker, Spy Films
Arvind Palep, 1st Avenue Machine
Nagi Noda, Partizan
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