Famous for its opening theatrics, the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase in Cannes was as much a mesmerizing technical show as it was a bit of foreshadowing of the content to come.
With a pink, glowing pyramid on center stage dubbed the Dream Object, the show began with an ethereal future-voice greeting the audience with "You have made it to the other side". As a group of flying mini-drone machines started a riveting choreographed lighted dance the voice continued, "You need not fear the great unknown anymore. Soon all will be revealed."
While the space lady literally meant the year’s chosen directors were to be revealed, the body of work selected by Saatchi & Saatchi’s global creatives tells a story about the brave new world that modern upstart directors face, one where invention and proactive creativity prevails.
"I’ve always thought that this showcase should look at the way that film and storytelling is happening in pop culture and try to capture that," says Saatchi digital creative director Tom Eslinger.
Perhaps no other film work embodies the current zeitgeist in filmmaking better than OK Go’s "Needing/Getting, "directed by Brian L. Perkins and Damian Kulash, Jr. Demonstrating the famous inventiveness of OK Go and exemplifying the DIY mindset of many young directors, the music video turns a car into a musical instrument. As the band drives through an elaborate obstacle course of unexpected objects, the car strikes each one, playing a single note. As epic as it is crafty, the video also served as a Super Bowl at for Chevrolet.
"When people wonder what’s going to happen to the music industry it’s almost like what OK Go’s been doing: create amazing content around your music using really easy to distribute channels, and do the work the record company used to do for them," says Eslinger, explaining why this piece is so indicative of the reality for young directors these days. "When you see content like that coming out, regardless what you think of the film, a lot of the things that we’re looking at really tweak the business model of how things are getting done."
Similarly, Eslinger tells of how James Curran’s opening titles for the film Tintin were not an official commission, but rather a passion project that attracted the attention and approval of Steven Spielberg to become the film’s titles.
"With YouTube and Vimeo and all these different channels things rise to the top very quickly. I saw the titles for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo long before I saw the movie and I knew more about that because they not only put out the credits but also a making of and interview with the artist and all this content around it. Filmmakers now are making these cheap or free channels to start becoming their own promoters."
Another theme prevalent among the selections is that there are some very dark minds out there. Pieces like Nike "Addiction", Moobotica "Iconic" and "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" showcase a dark, gritty aesthetic, but "Say Say Say" for Lasse Passage shocks with it’s disturbing, yet visually delicate, tale of a man who does away with his wife in the most unthinkable way.
Visual pieces like "Solipsist" and the charming "Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" round out the lineup. Most notable among the belly-laughers are the viral hit "Shit Girls Say" and "British Movie" a hilarious parody of British crime films, featuring unintelligible performances from the Saturday Night Live cast.
Here, the full list of selected directors:
Andrew Thomas Huang - 'Solipsist’
Brian L. Perkins & Damian Kulash, Jr. - OK Go 'Needing/Getting’
Daniel Strange - 'Dogs – Loyalty’
Fleur & Manu - Etienne de Crecy 'No Brain’
Graydon Sheppard - 'Shit Girls Say’
James Curran - Tintin Titles
James W. Griffiths - 'Splitscreen: A Love Story’
Jones + Tino - Nike 'Addiction’
Lars Åndheim & Christoffer Lossius - Lasse Passage 'Say Say Say’
Ninian Doff - Fulton Light 'Staring Out The Window’
Rick Mereki - 'Move’
Seyi Peter-Thomas - 'Hard Times’
Skinny - Moonbootica – 'Iconic’
Stuart Aitken - 'Dead Island’
Tim Miller - 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Trailer
William Joyce & Brandon Oldenburg - 'The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’