Cannes 2009

At Saatchi's New Directors Showcase: Zombies and Video Clips

Surprisingly Low-Key Intro Kicks Off an Eclectic Display of New Talent

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CANNES ( -- Saatchi & Saatchi took a refreshing turn this year in the introduction to its 19th-annual New Directors Showcase at Cannes, bringing up-and-coming director Marc Price onstage to recount his experience as a newbie who pulled off a near miracle.

Mr. Price is the talent behind "Colin," the zombie movie that generated heaps of buzz earlier this year in front of the same Croisette backdrop, at the Cannes International Film Festival. Its reported budget was only $70 -- a figure Mr. Price revealed was $70 more than the actual amount he had on hand to make the full-length feature.

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Live action was just a small percentage of the mix and included a hilarious, frenetic branded short for Adidas from Japanese director Kosai Sekine about a relationship breakup messenger.

Mr. Price's appearance marks a new direction for the event, which traditionally has been known for big-production openers featuring the likes of artist-acrobats Fuerza Bruta and showcasers-turned-A-listers David LaChapelle and Tarsem. Nevertheless, Saatchi couldn't resist the urge to perform a small stunt: A mini mob of zombies stormed onstage to tear into Saatchi's creative director-global culture, Richard Myers, who introduced the show.

As for the other new directors, the 23-person lineup demonstrated an eclectic mix of talent and techniques -- live action, animation, mixed media, tilt-shift photography and even laser scanning.

The showcase itself featured more videos than MTV, with clips making up the majority of this year's collection. Among them were another walking-dead performance, from director Eran Creevy, who delivered an expertly choreographed trailer-trash-zombie line-dancing extravaganza for Sonny J's "Handsfree"; a pregnant woman and a mysterious giant bubble in Poni Hoax's "Antibodies" by Wanda's Danakil; and a unique tilt-shift take on Sydney from Keith Loutit for the Megan Washington tune "Clementine." Not surprisingly, the show featured the much celebrated Radiohead "House of Cards" clip by Zoo Films director James Frost, which was created without cameras using two different laser-scanning systems.

Other videos included a crowd favorite from French quartet Megaforce that starts out looking like a typical lo-fi YouTube dance clip but introduces some dazzling effects trickery; Nick Hooker's surreal, black-and-white clip for Grace Jones' "Corporate Cannibal," in which the singer/model's face and figure morph into bizarre, alien forms; Ben Steiger Levines' video for Beast's "Mr. Hurricane," starring a dancing and shape-shifting swarm of bees; and $100-budget promo for Mac and Bird and Bees created entirely on a laptop by former Saatchi and BBDO agency-producer Dennis Liu.

Live action was just a small percentage of the mix and included a hilarious, frenetic branded short for Adidas from Japanese director Kosai Sekine about a relationship breakup messenger. Roman Kaelin and Florian Wittmann conducted a balletic performance between skateboarder and ant in a hilarious short, and Knucklehead's Siri Brumford delivered a compelling promo for Channel 4 that puts viewers in the shoes of director Stanley Kubrick on the set of "The Shining" with a brilliant tracked shot.

Other brand-related work included a whimsical, animated Scrabble spot from Irina Dakeva and Clement Dozier; Andre Maat and Superelectric's flip book on live-action idents for Cult TV; and a hilarious viral for Nokia from Zhu Jin Jing, starring a nunchuck-wielding Bruce Lee lookalike beating pingpong pros at their own game. Soft Citizen's Christopher Hutsul also inspired plenty of laughs with his shoe-guru short film for Nike, as did Federic Garcia and his world without women for Alto Palermo department store. Meanwhile, the Consortium's public-service announcement for Pain Without Borders illustrated the endless cycle of suffering caused by war.

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A crowd favorite from French quartet Megaforce starts out looking like a typical lo-fi YouTube dance clip but introduces some dazzling effects trickery.

Animation abounded on this year's screen, with a heavy serving of stop-motion, such as director Aaron Duffy's Special Guest self-promo starring a yarn guy apparently in love with his own rainbow hair; Antonio Balseiro's running Post-It notes for Nike; Corin Hardy's cigarette-box pyros in Prodigy's "Warrior Dance" video; and the Nathan Brothers/Oren Lavie's video for Mr. Lavie's "Her Morning Elegance," in which a mattress becomes the backdrop for a woman's elegant somnambulatory journey. On a more crafts tip, Partizan's Laurie Thinot brought screen-printing sensibility to info graphics for Autokratz's "Stay the Same," while Blacklist's Dvein generated some eerily realistic organic forms in show titles for OFFF.

Notably, the show introduced an online component this year in the form of a dedicated YouTube channel where viewers will eventually be able to watch all the films from the showcase's 19 years, as well as vote for their favorite piece from the 2009 show; the winner will be announced June 30. The channel will also provide an outlet for people to send in recommendations of directors for next year's event.

"I think the creation of this channel feeds very strongly to the raison d'etre of the showcase in the first place, which was to identify and expose talented new directors to the industry," Mr. Myers said. "The possibility of the industry, agencies and production companies to track down new talent we've found is now going to be a yearlong process, and not simply the one moment in Cannes."

Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase 2009

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