Cannes Lions: Meet the new ad directors of the world

Senthil Kumar
The high point of the Cannes Lions each year is the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase (NDS), which gives a glimpse of the emerging film-making talent from around the world. Here’s a short summary of some of the stunning films showcased this year.


01: Elton John 'Rocket Man' by Stephen McNally & Majid Adin


It is a stark and superbly-animated human story about personal longing. It is a reimagining of singer Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin's 1972 hit Rocket Man, drawing on Majid’s life experience as a refugee after fleeing his native Iran and securing asylum in the UK. The image of the rocket man looking at earth from space stays with you long after the film has played out its journey. 


02: Bonobo ‘No Reason’ by Oscar Hudson


This film strings together 10 actors in 18 rooms for musician Bonobo's new track No Reason. It captures the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori — peeping into the lives of young Japanese people who become so overwhelmed by the pressures of life that they retreat to their bedrooms for years at a time.


03: Alicia Keys ‘Gospel’ by A V Rockwell


A short film shot entirely in black and white. It opens with a dialogue between two police officers narrating a youth’s arrest. It goes on to reveal a true picture of life in poor and working class New York. A sharp contrast to typically glossy visual albums, Keys (who produced the short film) presents the complex beauty of her version of the beautiful mosaic that is New York City.


04: Young Thug 'Wyclef Jean' by Ryan Staake


This one is a perfect example of music-video storytelling. Shot for the song Wyclef Jean by rapper Young Thug, the video, hailed for being highly original, became an instant hit. The rapper ironically does not feature in the video. Instead, it is an examination of a shoot gone wrong, where Staake details through a series of blunt title cards how everything they had planned to film managed to crash and burn.


05: ‘Snapchat Story: Cracked Screen’ by Trim Lamba


A chronicle of the new-age arms race, the film shows a young woman in London self-broadcasting her life before, during and after she suffers a heinous attack. Cracked Screen stands out not only for its innovative use of Snapchat for storytelling, but for the way it demands a conversation surrounding social film-making and its real-time emotional consequences.


06: ‘Territory’ by The Blaze


Cousins Jonathan and Guillaume Alric, who live in Paris, and make songs and music videos, are behind The Blaze. Territory features an emotional homecoming of a man who has spent time abroad. It explores themes of masculinity, male bonding, tenderness and togetherness — shown through powerful images, poignant melodies, and pulsating electronics.


07: ‘The Cowboy Prayer’ by Mollie Mills


This is a short film about young girls who have taken up rodeo as a sport. The film explores the issue of gender inequality, with the youngsters calling themselves cowboys and not cowgirls. It also features a beautiful soundtrack of a little girl’s cowboy prayer to drive home the point of gender equality.


08: ‘Material World’ by Anna Ginsburg


A film exploring the use of sustainable material in fashion, it features animated interviews with the community.


09: ‘Johanna: Under The Ice’ by Ian Derry


This stunning film is a profile of Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad, who holds the world record for a 50-meter dive under ice, after finding the sport during recovery from a downhill biking accident that almost took her leg.


10: ‘Domestic Policy’ by Alicia MacDonald


A short satire which dares to suggest that society's fixation with women's looks began amidst an official government meeting in 1919. This film was a crowdfunded project via kickstarter, a funding platform.


The author is chief creative officer of J Walter Thompson India

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