CANNES, France—Saatchi & Saatchi had more female directors in its Thursday morning New Directors’ Showcase at the Cannes Lions festival this year than ever before. But that wasn’t good enough for the agency’s global chief creative officer, Kate Stanners, who said in her introduction to the show, which is in its 27th year, that she wants to double the number of female directors for next year’s showcase.
Discussions about gender equality have been a part of many panels at Cannes, and with women making up just 7 percent of commercial directors, the NDS wanted to highlight that issue. The preshow film “Open Your Eyes,” directed by Jake Dypka in collaboration with Hollie McNish, who were both featured in last year’s show, explored the different ways the genders are taught to see the world via blue (the male perspective) and pink (the female perspective) 3-D glasses.
“Following our theme of gender this year, we intend to use the momentum to commit ourselves to be the place to view the best and brightest female stars, and we hope under the NDS they’ll continue to flourish,” said Stanners in a statement. “We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re committed and want the wider industry to start having this conversation too.”
The female directors featured this year include Alicia MacDonald, Anna Ginsburg, A.V. Rockwell, Holly Blakey, and Mollie Mills.
While “Open Your Eyes” is not available online, the 20 films NDS showed over 70 minutes are. And we’ve picked our top five.
“Klyne ‘Don’t Stop'”
Blakey’s hyperstylized and overtly sexual work is compelling not only for its gorgeous visuals, but also for Blakey’s brilliant decision to show a woman fascinated with herself as a sexual being and how her mood shifts when a man enters the room.
Returning home and reuniting with family members in this short, directing and producing duo The Blaze (Jonathan and Guillaume Alric) give new life to a conventional stor,y making something that feels raw and of the moment.
“Lil Dicky ‘Pillow Talking'”
Working with a comedic talent like Lil Dicky gives any director a leg up, but Tony Yacenda’s vision is so clear and his use of surreal imagery—a tiny talking brain, dinosaurs—makes this a fun, delightful short. Though the portrayal of the female character as uninteresting or having dumb ideas about the world could be read as sexist, in Yacenda’s hands, it reads as more of a criticism of someone’s aversion to thoughtful debate than a criticism of women. Yacenda is working on an original series for Netflix, but according to press materials he’s not allowed to say what it’s called.
“Johanna: Under the Ice”
There’s a real sense of urgency in lifestyle photographer Ian Derry’s debut short, which featured many shots that seemed impossible to get. And the lengths to which the team behind the short had to go to get the work make it worth your attention.
“Snapchat Story: Cracked Screen”
At first, British-Indian filmmaker Trim Lamba’s short seems like a commentary on the social media world we live in today—and it is. But it’s also much more than that. It’s best that we don’t spoil the work but know the message will stay with you.
To see the other films featured, click here.