The Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase has been a fixture of Cannes Lions since 1991. While the festival has become more sprawling, and more tech focused, with each passing year, the NDS is a beacon of continuity, focused solely on filmmaking.
This year’s selection included short films, music videos, ads, and documentaries: the work of 18 directors from around the globe. Partial to stunts, Saatchis also threw one extra film into the mix to be shown at the screening of the showcase at Cannes: a work of AI, created entirely by a computer (you can see more on this work here). But aside from this nod to new technologies, the emphasis of the event was on the power of good old-fashioned filmmaking.
Of the 18 films shown, we have picked seven, which we found the most compelling and unexpected. These are shown below – to view the entire set of this year’s films, visit saatchi.com/en-uk/new-directors-showcase/.
Undercurrents, directed by Albert Omoss
‘Computational artist’ Albert Omoss creates his work entirely on computers, allowing his characters to perform mind-bending tricks like these featured here.
Operator, directed by Caroline Bartleet
Featuring a simple yet gripping set up, Bartleet’s film is an exercise in powerful acting, both on screen and off. Operator also picked up the Best British Short Film gong at the Baftas this year.
Hollie McNish ‘Embarrassed’, directed by Jake Dypka
Jake Dypka’s short documents British poet Hollie McNish musing on the subject of breastfeeding in public.
We Live This, directed by James Burns
This ten minute-long documentary tracks the stories of four teenage boys from the projects in New York. It is the first short documentary by Burns, who as a teenager spent years in the criminal justice system in the US. He draws on his experiences in his work, which since We Live This includes a feature, titled Revolving Doors.
Invaders, directed by Jason Kupfer
An attempted burglary takes a farcical, and very bloody, turn in this short film.
De Staat ‘Witch Doctor’, directed by Studio Smack
One of the most exhilarating and terrifying music videos of last year, this promo for Dutch rock band De Staat by directing trio Ton Meijdam, Thom Snels and Béla Zsigmond, known as Studio Smack, will leave you quaking.
Jane Bordeaux ‘Ma’agalim’, directed by Uri Lotan & Yoav Shtibelman
A peaceful finish to our picks with this music video starring a wooden doll, from Israeli directors and animators Uri Lotan and Yoav Shtibelman.