CANNES 96: Europe’s hottest new directors

The hottest young directors fight for their work to be included in the Saatchi showcase of new talent. Emma Hall looks at ten of the best

The hottest young directors fight for their work to be included in the

Saatchi showcase of new talent. Emma Hall looks at ten of the best



This year, Saatchi and Saatchi’s annual new-talent showcase has gone

global. In the past, the agency’s collection of the world’s hottest new

directors was put together by its UK office, but this year London has

given responsibility for talent-spotting in Asia and the Americas to its

network colleagues.



Richard Myers, who along with his fellow London Saatchis’ creative

directors, Adam Kean and Cliff Francis, has put together this year’s

reel of European hot-shots, comments: ‘Charlotte Street is the home of

Saatchis’ creativity, but we should be a network with a consistent

attitude towards creative standards, and this year’s three-part showcase

will prove that.’



But there is still competition between the three regions. With quiet

conviction, Myers says: ‘Our reel should be the highlight of the three.’



The presentation at Cannes this Thursday could be seen as an unselfish

act on the part of Saatchis, which is allowing Cannes delegates to sit

back in a theatre on the C™te d’Azur and discover the world’s freshest

talent, without putting in any of the legwork.



In contrast, Charlotte Street’s creative directors have been looking

through endless reels in search of the best new talent in Europe.



To qualify for inclusion, all of the directors have to have made their

first commercial within the past three years.



‘Lots of reels are uninspiring’, Myers says, ‘but you instinctively

recognise what you are looking for when you see it, plus you always come

across a few ‘bankers’ during the year.’



Last year’s compilation included music videos and short films for the

first time. Although this innovation received a mix reception at the

time, Saatchis has chosen to repeat the format again this year.



Myers explains: ‘You shouldn’t be puritanical about it because film-

making and directing talent can’t be divided. It is all about a man and

a camera and making a script come alive.’



Traktor



Traktor is a Swedish quintet comprising four directors and one executive

producer, which is represented in the UK by the Moving Picture Company.

The directors always work in pairs, where one has overall responsibility

and the other concentrates on paying attention to the details of filming

and is supposed to make sure that nobody is tempted to compromise or

take short-cuts. They began working together in 1993 and have gained a

reputation for cleverly interpreting scripts, great story-telling and

making people laugh. The team won an Epica Gold, two Silver Clios and a

Gold at Eurobest this year. The awards were for Treo Disprins, Kodak

Cameras and the Swedish peanuts brand, OLW. However, Saatchis’ favourite

film is one for the Swedish airline, SAS. Myers says: ‘It’s right on the

borderline of taste and carries a lot of implications, but it is so

discreet that they get away with it.’



Antony Easton



Ignoring accusations of bias (Easton used to be an art director at

Saatchis), Myers says he has blossomed and praises his ability to ‘get

under the skin of a script.’ Easton also has a number of fans at Abbott

Mead Vickers BBDO, for which he directed a very moving RSPCA film that

was written from the viewpoint of an abandoned dog. ‘He has put so much

thought into it, and created such a density of images that all build to

the same emotion. Easton makes a serious leap forward from the script to

the storyboard,’ Myers enthuses. Easton has been directing commercials

through Stark Films for two years. He trained at two art schools in

London, and then had a variety of jobs in music, television and design,

before spending five years as an art director at Saatchis, followed by a

year as head of art at Chiat Day in London.



Paul Archard



Archard’s commercials credits include work for Midland Bank, Hugo Boss,

Deutsche Telekom and a bold campaign for Fisherman’s Friend. Between his

first job working as a professional sculptor and his current place on

the directors’ roster at And Howe Films, Archard earned money creating

party sets and spent time as an art director on a number of top

magazines, including Vanity Fair. Archard has learned a lot from

directors such as Jake Scott and Willi Patterson, who are among the

names he collaborated with when he worked in Los Angeles as a production

designer on films for the US and UK markets. Archard’s acclaimed and

inventive video for the female singer, Milla Jovovich, persuaded him to

pursue a career directing commercials and he moved back to London from

the US in December 1994. Myers comments: ‘He creates intense and well-

considered images. Repetition is rare and you never know what’s coming

next.’



Thomas Krygier



Krygier was working as a stills photographer, getting commissions from

the Face and creating campaigns for big advertisers such as Levi’s, when

he met David Kerr, a producer at Tony Kaye Films. Kerr was impressed by

some super-8 film he had shot in France and brought him to the attention

of Tony Kaye. Kaye put him on the roster, which led to jobs for

Sainsbury’s, Mars and the European. Krygier, who began his career as a

self-taught photographer in Milan, jumped ship to Arden Sutherland-Dodd

two years ago. Since then, he has created work for the Army, Guide Dogs

for the Blind and Eurostar, for which he directed the eye-catching

launch campaign, which Myers describes as ‘a triumph of directing’.

Myers adds: ‘His commitment, bravery and emotional involvement comes

through in his work. He is good at creating drama and dynamism.’



Jamie Thraves



Having already been awarded a D&AD Pencil this year, Thraves is in

demand. He received an award for directing a pop promo, Radiohead’s

Just, but is included in the showcase for the short film, Scratch, which

he scripted and directed in 1991. Scratch is the story of a boy who has

been relentlessly scratching his scalp since birth, despite the efforts

of his cruel father to stop him. Myers adds: ‘The speed and sound of the

scratching is compelling. Thraves’ skills should easily transfer to

ads.’ Thraves’ commercials career got off the ground last year with a

cinema spot for Shelly’s Shoes. This year he has already directed a

Heineken ad for Bartle Bogle Hegarty. His place on Oil Factory’s roster

secures him steady pop promo work, and he recently made a video for

Blur’s hit single, Charmless Man.



Ivan Zacharias



Born in Prague, Zacharias, who is only 24, has already made an

impression outside his home country. A film for the Prague National

Gallery secured his place in the new-talent showcase. Myers says: ‘His

work is disturbing in a pleasing way. I like the raw images and the

unpolished look.’ Zacharias directed a number of films in the former

Czechoslavakia, some of which were for big-name brands such as Mazda

and Danone. Back in 1989, he studied directing and camera at Prague’s

top film school, and started making commercials, documentaries and pop

promos while still at college. Zacharias has won several awards for his

work. One of his films, Peace Army, which commemorated the United

Nation’s 50th anniversary, was presented at last year’s Cannes Film

Festival. In London, where he is represented by Blink Productions,

Zacharias has produced commercials for Johnnie Walker and a Polaroid

spot for MTV.



Rob Sanders



A focused career path took Sanders on to the Helen Langridge Associates

roster in March 1994. He studied at Falmouth Art School and Bournemouth

Film School and, after graduating, made a crop of short films. His

commercials career is well established, having directed spots for

Adidas, Capital Gold, the Automobile Association, TSB and the celebrity

launch commercials for the satellite TV channel, VH-1. He has also

produced an acclaimed ad for the German jeans company, Mustang. Sanders

has secured a variety of jobs based on his reputation for inventiveness.

Myers says: ‘You get drawn along by the images. His films are always

complex and you need to work at them, but he has a tremendous freedom

and always feels like he has been let off the leash.’



Simon Levene



The sympathetic way he handles people, and his ‘fresh’ approach to

directing, made Levene catch the Saatchis trio’s eye. Levene’s

commercial for the clothing company, Stussy, consists of a monologue by

an old woman called Golda. ‘It’s tempting to take the piss out of older

people, but Levene treats Golda with warmth, and he obviously made her

feel comfortable in front of the camera,’ Myers explains. Levene started

out as a studio hand at BFCS and soon showed an aptitude for editing.

During a stint in Los Angeles, he began directing promos and test films.

He is now represented by Rose Hackney Barber in London. Levene recently

won a Clio award for a Jiffy Condoms cinema spot he directed through

Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy.



Edmundo



A 28-year-old Spaniard, Edmundo came to England to study for a master’s

degree in conceptual art, and this is apparent in his work. A showcase

that he produced featuring performance artists got him signed up to And

Howe Films last year. This year, he was snapped up by Jane Fuller

Associates. The short film that secured Edmundo’s place on the new-

talent reel, Albert’s Light Bulb, is described by Myers as ‘a great

piece of filmic nonsense’. It is less than a year since Edmundo made his

first commercial, but he has already racked up credits for clients such

the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Midland Bank. He has also worked

for Procter and Gamble, shooting an ad for Vidal Sassoon’s Wash and Go.

Earlier this year, Edmundo made a film capturing passers-bys’ reactions

to people falling over. The designer, Paul Smith, whose suits the actors

were wearing for the stunt, liked the film so much that he is running it

in his shop window all summer. Myers adds: ‘Edmundo is a prankster and

loves getting a response, which should be a serious weapon in a

director’s armoury.’



Erica Russell



Erica Russell left South Africa for London when she was 20 years old.

She studied dance from an early age and became fascinated by the moving

human form, which led her into a career in animation. Her personal work

explores this fascination with a fusion of imagery inspired by modern

art, African art and dance, choreographed to music produced by Charlie

Hart. She has made two animated short films single-handedly, each of

which took her two years complete: Feet of Song in 1989 and Triangle,

for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short

Film last year. Russell signed up to Passion Pictures 18 months ago and

recently produced a series of three Levi’s ads through Foote Cone

Belding in San Francisco, as well as two Always spots for Procter and

Gamble in the US. Her work shows a meticulous use of paint, which makes

for lively, sensual, bold and distinctive films.



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