CANNES, France—Typically, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity’s New Directors’ Showcase (NDS) is presented by Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi. Given Publicis’ decision to send just 84 employees this year—and CEO Arthur Sadoun, of course—Saatchi & Saatchi handed the reins to VFX company MPC and the Ridley Scott Creative Group, with curation by Scott, for the show’s 28th year. Obviously, the show was quite different this year.
For starters, it was a shorter show, clocking in at 50 minutes with just 12 directors compared to last year’s 20. That was likely due to the addition of an interview segment with Scott conducted by Saatchi & Saatchi global chairwoman and CCO Kate Stanners, who noted that the show marked “50 years in this industry as a filmmaker” for the director of iconic ads like Apple’s 1984.
“I have to be aware of the competition coming down the street because I’m still very competitive and I’m still in the business,” said Scott, of why he wanted to curate the NDS. He also noted that when he got into advertising “that became for the next 25 years my film school.”
As for the work presented, Scott explained that he chose “technically very proficient, even beautiful” films and that “there’s a few that actually told good stories.”
“The interest in making it look great is important but I still think that even after all this time that I’ve been working, you’ve got to go story, story, story,” said Scott. “You get the story right and then the rest is relatively straightforward.”
Given directors access to technological advances like the iPhone, Scott believes it is much easier to make a film now and encourages folks to “go out and make a bloody movie.”
Next week, for the first time in 20 years, Scott will direct two commercials for two different products and two different agencies.
Steve Cutts’ Happiness
It’s surprising to see a film that can take “rat race” to a new place, with a fresh take on what it means to be overwhelmed by work, politics, consumerism and the quest for happiness but that’s exactly what Steve Cutts was able to accomplish with this gorgeous animated short. It’s real fun to see imagined ads, too.
Jim Cummings’ Thunder Road
If there’s any filmmaker who has taken Scott’s make things ethos to heart that’s Jim Cummings, an up-and-coming director who is nothing short of prolific. After winning Sundance with the Thunder Road short—see below—in 2016, the actor, writer and director turned the short into a feature that just won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW this past March.
Jessy Moussallem’s ‘Mashrou’ Leila ‘Roman’
Seeing narratives about people being true to themselves—and seeing their joy while doing so—is crucial. Beirut-based director Jessy Moussallem delivers a truly special short that gives viewers a taste of just that with striking imagery and dance all while having subverting expectations for where seems like it is going.
Ben Proulx and Joyner Lucas’ ‘I’m not racist’
Much has been said about “I’m not racist,” a film that went viral in November 2017. Criticism of the work rightly takes aim at the film’s false equivalencies. Still, the work—hopefully—makes viewers question the notion of two sides to a story and does so while producing a film you can’t look away from.
Win Bates’ PSA In Real Life
Imagine seeing people bullied in real life the way they are online. That’s what Win Bates did for PSA In Real Life. In this disturbing and heartwarming short, Bates is able to make people reconsider how they speak to each other on the internet.
See all of the films featured here.