Cannes Lions

No Traditional Ads in Saatchi's New Directors' Showcase at Cannes

Popular Cannes Lions Event Celebrates 25 Years by Tapping Talents of the Past

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Saatchi's New Directors' Showcase Opener 2015
Saatchi's New Directors' Showcase Opener 2015

This year marks the 25th year of the popular Saatchi & Saatchi New Director's Showcase at Cannes, and to open the show the agency tapped 25 of the event's alumni to create a dazzling experimental film, which had its sole screening during the event. The brief to the directors was simple: Create a 60-second piece, end it with a prop from their original showcase film and start it with the preceding director's prop.

The idea yielded a series of brilliant, entertaining vignettes that showed off the directors' talent once again. For example, Jonathan Glazer directed an abstract piece interspersing quick cut scenes of a hammer and a light bulb in a musical fashion, Noam Murro created a whimsical tale of a janitor and his dancing mop, while Traktor put on a bizarre stage show in which a man riffs off the "pleasures" of working in the ad industry.

Some of the directors even appeared in their pieces, including Ringan Ledwidge, who had a cameo as a waiter in his showdown between a "Jew Jitsu" athlete and a "Judo Priest," and Dougal Wilson, who played an annoying music store customer who had to test out nearly every type of instrument on sale.

As for the showcase films themselves, surprisingly, this year's mix featured no traditional commercials. The 2015 selection largely comprised music videos and a handful of short films, just a few of which were associated with brands. Among the latter was the moving Denali short film, directed by Ben Knight of Felt Soul Media. Backed by Patagonia, it told the sometimes funny but ultimately heartbreaking tale of a man and his dog, who supported each other through the most trying ordeals, such as when they both suffered with cancer at different times.

Two films were affiliated with media brands, including Elizabeth Lo's moving "Op Doc" for the New York Times, "Hotel 22." It followed the homeless commuters in the Silicon Valley who spend their nights sleeping on Line 22, a 24-hour public bus.

Yvan Fabing of Matter Productions directed a mesmerizing fashion piece for Garage Magazine, a catwalk-themed film showing models walking through a sparse warehouse catwalk while their clothes are made all the more splendorous by spectacular visual effects.

On a lighter note, Kyungmin Woo of Alfred ImageWorks directed the humorous, animated "Johnny Express," about a bumbling space age delivery guy who, while going about his rounds, wreaks havoc on the lilliputian creatures of a tiny planet.

Then there was a ridiculously funny high-concept Western, "The Gunfighter," directed by Eric Kissack of Helo. It featured a bar of locals whose darkest secrets are revealed by an unexpected character, the narrator, voiced by actor/comedian Nick Offerman.

Music videos were plentiful, and on the live action front, Chandler Levack & Jerem Schaulin-Rioux directed Pup's "Guilt Trip," about the unlikely bond formed between boys and their bullies, while Charlie Robins of Forever Pictures captured some chilling, thrilling scenes of an urban daredevil scaling buildings and tightroping across city structures for Klangkarussell's 'Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain)."

Pulse Films' Young Replicant, aka Alex Takacs, directed a haunting, stylish ghost story for Flying Lotus' "Coronus, The Terminator." Helmi of Division Paris directed a vibrant, surreal, '80s-style montage for Tiga's "Bugatti."

This year saw some impressive examples of effects-enhanced storytelling, including the clip for "She's Bad" from Dye featuring Egyptian Lover. Directed by Dent de Cuir of Excuse My French, it highlighted the man-eater tendencies of a vixen by replacing her body's silhouette with live action nature scenes featuring wild animals and treacherous outdoor terrain.

Maria Takeuchi and Frederico Phillips were behind the beautiful, bizarre "As-phyx-i-a," featuring a humanesque form writhing around as if tethered inside a part spider web, part cocoon-like casing.

Guillaume Panariello of La Planete Rouge directed the mesmerizing clip for Siska's 'Unconditional Rebel.' The slow-motion video was captured in five seconds with a single tracking shot that travels across an urban field, showing moments of city-dwellers' lives and getting progressively weirder and more elaborately effected as the video goes on.

Partizan's Dexter Navy was behind the psychedelic "LSD" clip for ASAP Rocky, showing the rapper on a trippy outing in Japan, while Factory Fifteen (Jonathan Gales, Paul Nicholls and Kibwe Tavares) directed the Bug's "Function/Void" music video, which depicts a white collar worker in a disintegrating, dystopian metropolis of the future.

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