Sony, Y&R Debut "Dreams 2004"

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Stacy Wall's El Mago
Features director Jonathan Darby (The Enemy Within, Hush) may have summed up this year's Sony "Dreams" showcase best when he noted, "It doesn't matter what you're shooting in. Just like it doesn't matter whether you're using a pencil or a pen, the creative process and the storytelling are still the same."

Indeed, Darby and nine other directors brought storytelling to the forefront Monday night at New York's Ziegfeld Theater for the third annual event, making it easy to forget that the point of the evening was to showcase something as steely sounding as Sony's 24p CineAlta digital HD system. Darby himself told a melancholy tale of a boy coping with his sister's death, although humor was not in short supply. Following opening credits based on a smoke theme from motion graphics company Spontaneous, the showcase opened with a laffer from Biscuit's Tim Godsall, whose Keep Right featured actors Lance Henriksen and Ewen Bremner in an existential shoot-em-up game, while Epoch's Stacy Wall presented a graphically explicit magic trick that had moments of hilarity and horror in a short titled El Mago.

Created and launched in 2002 by Sony and Y&R/New York head of broadcast production Ken Yagoda as a way to put 24p technology into the hands of seasoned commercials directors, participants in this year's showcase took cues from a one-word theme: Magic. The night also featured shorts from MJZ's Elma Garcia and Dante Ariola, Believe's Erick Ifergan, Tool of North America's Erich Joiner, Headquarters' David Cornell, Partizan's Matthias Hoene and RSA's Hype Williams.

Ultimately, however, the magic was the invisibility of technology. As Yagoda observed, "We've gotten to a point that I always wanted to get to where we can say, 'Let's not talk about engineering, let's talk about style.'"

"Dreams 2004" will be screened next Tuesday, March 23, at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles, and later this year at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. -- Ann-Christine Diaz, Melanie Shortman

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