Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase 2012

Cannes - Now in its 22nd year, the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase hits Cannes again, unveiling another presentation of the most exciting new directorial talent.  The Showcase promises to be an essential event on the programme of the Cannes Lions 59th International Festival of Creativity.  Always a highlight of the Festival, the Showcase never fails to amaze and surprise, with a unique annual theatrical showpiece introducing the reel of carefully selected directors.  The Grand Auditorium is once again the venue, with overspill for this popular event into the Debussy.

The Showcase Reel

To find the featured directors, Saatchi & Saatchi invited submissions from directors across the globe, utilising its Network of some 140 offices worldwide, as well as relationships with key on-line sources.  The Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Creative Board chose this year's final selection of 18 directors.  Past Showcases have featured internationally acclaimed directors including Tarsem, Michel Gondry, Mark Romanek, Spike Jonze, Ivan Zacharias, Kinka Usher, Danny Kleinman and Jonathan Glazer.

This year's eclectic selection includes sophisticated animation, VFX, technical wizardry, films of cinematic proportions, and use of contemporary filmmaking techniques such as smartphones.

The trends for 2012 are; retro animation (see James Curran's ‘Tintin' titles) and 3D motion capture animation (see Stuart Aitken's ‘Dead Island' computer game trailer); Beautifully shot cinematic music promos and movie credits (see Tim Miller's ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' trailer and Skinny's ‘Iconic' promo); and there are some unique, original ideas such as Perkins and Kulash's ‘Needing/Getting', James W. Griffiths' ‘Splitscreen: A Love Story' and Andrew Thomas Huang's stunning ‘Solipsist', which takes its influences from the natural world and uses CGI fused with an artistic eye to create a cinematic art installation.

A truly international selection, this year's directors hail from the USA, France, Brazil, Canada, Norway, Australia and the UK.  The 18 Directors selected for the New Directors' Showcase reel 2012 are listed below, with the title of the submitted work.

- 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'
- Mickey Smith: ‘Dark Side of the Lens'
- Ninian Doff- Fulton Light ‘Staring Out The Window'
- Rhys Thomas: ‘British Movie'
- 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'

Tom Eslinger, Worldwide Creative Director Digital, commented on this year's reel:  "The 2012 Showcase shows how diverse media channels are bringing more and more content to the surface, making this a really exciting collection which reflects how we come in contact with ideas and all things visual.  The influence of not only rapid-to-create technology, but also rapid-to-distribute channels, is seen in the quality and content, as well as where the work is connecting with people and communities."

"For me, smart design and razor-sharp composition is flowing through the NDS this year.  I've been most excited with the contrast between steely, slick renderings, crunchy computer graphics and even lo-fi colour treatments, to desktop-inspired techniques and oh-so-precise colour design.  Layer in great storytelling, a refreshing point-of-view and some subtle twists, and you have a presentation up there as one of our best."

Pablo del Campo. NDS Spokesperson and CEO Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi Argentina said:  "People know that the New Directors' Showcase is one of Cannes most unmissable events.  This gives us a great deal of responsibility when it comes to selecting directors.  For years this selection process has been even more of a challenge than judging work in advertising festivals, because we're aware of the transformations it creates in our industry year after year."

This year the directors selected for the reel will be invited to help judge the winner of the James Brown Music Video Challenge.  See separate press release for further information. 

The Showcase theatrical piece

The 2012 theatrical production introducing the directors' reel has been conceived for the second time by Saatchi & Saatchi's award-winning senior creatives Jonathan Santana & Xander Smith with the theme ‘Meet Your Creator'.  The piece involves an army of tiny flying machines performing synchronised flight patterns, and composing music through ‘live' light manipulation.  The audience enter a brave new world of visual territory, with hovering Quadrotors buzzing around the stage in unison, and an angelic soundscape giving a feeling of otherworldliness.  A single ray of light hits a glass pyramid, whilst a disembodied voice precludes a mesmerising performance by the Quadrotors, which move effortlessly around the stage as if by magic. ‘Meet Your Creator' presents an all-encompassing environment with the ambience of a Church of Creativity.

Saatchi & Saatchi Senior Creatives Jonathan Santana and Xander Smith commented on the event:  "The New Directors' Showcase is revered ground. A lot of big names have been launched in the past by the Showcase. It's for this very reason that we've chosen to venture down the ‘sacred' path.  A path of bright lights, flying beings and the miracles performed by Creators."

Marshmallow Laser Feast, a collective working at the intersection of art, design and technology, are the creative and technical directors of the theatrical production for the second consecutive year.  Marshmallow Laser Feast are Robin McNicholas, Memo Akten and Barnaby Steel and crew.  MLF collaborated with KMel Robotics and their incredible Quadrotors on this year's Showcase with MLF developing the choreographic and lighting technology, and KMel designing and building bespoke Quadrotors.

The bank of sounds created by underground electronic artist Oneohtrix Point Never, AKA Daniel Lopatin, are manipulated by Quadrotors, which in turn affect beams of light.  New York-based Lopatin's samples are triggered by the movement of the Quadrotors and beams of light on the stage, creating a tightly integrated visual and sensory extravaganza.  Lopatin's introduction and minimalist compositions create a fluid environment, when combined with the rays of light and Quadrotors.  The pyramid was designed by Sam & Arthur.

The Quadrotors are the brainchild of Alex Kushleyev and Daniel Mellinger of KMel Robotics. University of Pennsylvania graduates Alex and Daniel are experts in hardware design and high-performance control.  Their Quadrotors truly push the limits of experimental robotics, and the Quadrotors performing at the NDS have been built and programmed specifically for the Showcase.

Filmmaker and Producer Juliette Larthe, who pulled together the team behind last year's ‘Hello, Future' themed Showcase, is the Producer of the theatrical piece once again this year.  Juliette has produced for the likes of Jake & Dinos Chapman, WARP films and Jonathan Glazer, has recently finished a series of twenty short films for Channel 4, is creative consultant for fashion house PREEN, and presently spearheads PRETTYBIRD's UK division. 

Marshmallow Laser Feast commented:  "With this project, our aim was to create ethereal sculptures of light and sound. We're always excited by the prospect of appropriating new technologies and further developing them for artistic purposes. By customizing Quadrotors with LEDs and mirrors, and combining them with lights and other custom technology, we were able to choreograph the performance, pushing the experience to that of watching an abstract virtuoso-being made of light, playing an imaginary musical instrument."

Daniel Mellinger of KMel Robotics said:  "KMel Robotics focuses on hardware design and high-performance control for custom aerial vehicles which push the limits of experimental robotics.   Our vehicles can be used in a wide range of applications including search and rescue, environmental monitoring, education, and entertainment.  Our experiments illustrate that large numbers of autonomously functioning vehicles can be reliably deployed in the form of a ‘swarm' to carry out tasks and to respond as a group to high-level commands, without a designated leader."

The Showcase will be webcast on the Cannes Lions website and on the NDS Channel on YouTube.

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