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Opinion and Insight

The New Directors Showcase Class of 2017: One Year On

MPC talks to the New Directors of 2017; what they've been up to and their tips for new talent as we gear up to the 2018 Showcase

The New Directors Showcase Class of 2017: One Year On

The New Directors’ Showcase (NDS) has been enchanting audiences at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the past 27 years. It presents annually to an audience of more than 2,300 Cannes Lions delegates in the Grand Auditorium at the Palais des Festivals.

Mark Benson, MPC CEO said: “The NDS helps surface undiscovered talent and sparks exciting conversations about creativity and what’s original. It brings the industry together with a unique forum where people with exceptional potential have the opportunity to demonstrate their vision and capabilities to an audience who may commission them professionally – now and in the future. It is an important marker to show how seriously the industry takes the need to identify and nurture the next generation of creatives”. As part of MPC’s on-going support of new directing talent, MPC has partnered with the NDS for the last two years.

As the excitement builds for the 2018 showcase - this year curated by internationally acclaimed film and commercial director Ridley Scott in partnership with MPC - we hear how the class of 2017 are getting on, and see what wisdom they have to impart…


Nicolas Ménard

Q> How important is the NDS to support new directors?

NM> The New Directors’ Showcase has been important to me for a plethora of reasons; it’s showcased my work in front of new audiences and has given me the great honour of appearing beside artists and directors I’ve always admired like Geoff McFetridge, Johnny Kelly and RGB6.

Q> What has happened to you since featuring on the 2017 NDS reel – what has the last year looked like for you?

NM> In terms of commercial work, I was lucky enough to direct my first UK TV commercial. I designed a bespoke countdown for the Google I/O conference, and I conceived illustrations for the branding of Québec’s largest book fair. In between jobs I've started planting seeds for my next artist book and independent film projects.

Q> What tips do you have for new directors looking to break through?

NM> Find a way to make work in a way you thoroughly enjoy and make it with a generous heart.
 
 

Tony Yacenda

Q> How important is the NDS to support new directors?

TY> I had seen directors a few years ahead of me have their lives change after the NDS. The projects they worked on consistently increased in quality and scale… now having been through it myself, I can see how that happened.

Q> What has happened to you since featuring on the 2017 NDS reel – what has the last year looked like for you?

TY> I’m working on a show for Netflix that I created/directed, and I’m very happy to have that take up most of my time. In the off time, it’s great to see how The NDS has put me on others’ radar and inspires clients to be more confident and bold in their choices.

Q> What tips do you have for new directors looking to break through?

TY> Make stuff that you’d like to watch.

 
 
 

Ryan Staake

Q> How important is the NDS to support new directors?

RS> It’s been a badge of honour that demonstrates your work is of a certain calibre.
 
Q> What has happened to you since featuring on the 2017 NDS reel – what has the last year looked like for you?

RS> Many more commercials and opportunities in general. I like to think that the majority of it is a result of my own hard work with the NDS honour being the cherry on top.
 
Q> What tips do you have for new directors looking to break through?

RS> Don’t follow stylistic trends, develop your own voice.
 
 
 

Salomon Ligthelm

Q> How important is the NDS to support new directors?

SL> I don't know whether I fully realised the impact and value of the NDS until I was at Cannes last year. Watching my film in a room with the rest of the showcase audience and experiencing the collective work of everyone in the room together– there’s something very magical about that.

I think being a part of such a highly curated showcase and having your work displayed in front of the industry's best is definitely something that pushes new talent to the fore.
 
Q> What has happened to you since featuring on the 2017 NDS reel – what has the last year looked like for you?

SL> It’s honestly been a very busy year. I try to keep busy with a lot of self-generated work, alongside the work on commercials. I did three music videos, five commercials and one short documentary in the last couple of months, and now I'm trying to take a bit of time off with friends and family.

I'm in the thick of working on a feature and also helping to produce another one - so it’s just a bit manic right now.
 
Q> What tips do you have for new directors looking to break through?

SL> I think it’s important to understand that success and failure are very subjective concepts - the pendulum can so easily swing between the two. 

It’s important to surround yourself with people who can keep your head straight, help bring the best out of you and lift your spirits (when needed).

Good community is key - if you came up hustling with friends, hold on to those people, keep working with them.

Friendships will sustain you through the ups and downs of the rollercoaster of work - it’s an emotional tightrope walk - and good relationships help keep you balanced.

 
 

Ian Derry 

Q> How important is the NDS to support new directors?

ID> Last June I was lucky enough to have my film, ‘Johanna’, showcased at Cannes Lions through the NDS. It was an amazing experience just being in that auditorium with such a wealth of talent. To see my film on the big screen in Cannes is something I will never forget.

New directors need support and encouragement. It’s a big world out there and when you look at the competition you may be quite intimidated. For somebody like Saatchi and Saatchi to showcase your work means an awful lot and is an incredible confidence booster for the future.
 
Q> What has happened to you since featuring on the 2017 NDS reel – what has the last year looked like for you?

ID> Since the Showcase I have had lots of interest in me and my agents, Archers Mark. I have subsequently made commercials for Fitbit, LinkedIn, Lululemon, Nicorette and am developing my short Johanna into a longer form. It’s about getting your name out there and I feel NDS did that. It helped put me on the map - even this week I have had two new pitches come in that I am working hard to secure.

Q> What tips do you have for new directors looking to break through?

ID> It’s hard starting off in directing. Its erratic, so having an agent definitely helps. They can advise on how the decks should appear based on the look and feel of your pitches. Often somebody starting off will get their thoughts down but not in the correctly structured way to convince an agency of their idea. The buzz of securing a job is intense, it’s a lot of unpaid work and you can be up against some accomplished people, but you have to have confidence in yourself. It’s about ideas after all, so if you can learn to articulate them well you are in with a chance. 

The one thing I would advise is be true to yourself. Each individual has strengths and weaknesses. Your strengths will become stronger, but you also have to address your weaknesses. Learn as much as you possibly can. Research as much as you can. Maybe things you don’t think you will need but when things go wrong on set you need the knowledge and confidence to know how you can make it work. Finally, I would say don’t take work that does not reflect you. It’s easier said than done but if you keep your standards high, you will get further in the long run. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk but one that ultimately will get you your creative and hopefully financially rewards.

 

Oscar Hudson

Q> How important is the NDS to support new directors?

OH> NDS is a great for exposing new directors, and it’s a very well-respected badge of honour too.
 
Q> What has happened to you since featuring on the 2017 NDS reel – what has the last year looked like for you?

OH> I had a good year. As well as the Bonobo video that screened at NDS, I made two promos for Young Thug & Radiohead that went down well, and I won Best Director at the UKMVAs. In addition, I started getting more briefs sent to me from the ad world.
 
Q> What tips do you have for new directors looking to break through?

OH> Be ambitious, self-sufficient & unafraid of making imperfect work. Understand as many aspects of filmmaking as possible but as a director you 100% need to learn how to edit yourself. If you don’t have a budget focus on having a damn good idea instead.

 
Join us for the 2018 New Directors Showcase at 10am on Thursday 21st June in Grand Auditorium at the Palais des Festivals.

This year’s NDS will be produced through Granville Gulliman, bringing together Ridley Scott, Saatchi & Saatchi, and MPC.