PRODUCTION REPORT: Where are they now?

By Rachel Nouchi, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 20 June 2003 12:00AM

Film-makers previously featured in the New Directors' Showcase have gone on to great things. Rachel Nouchi traces the progress of some of the most promising young stars.

SPIKE JONZE

What hasn't he done? That's an appropriate question for this creative powerhouse whose innovations never disappoint in the fields of music, feature film and commercials direction. It may come as a surprise to some that US-born Jonze appeared on the New Directors' Showcase in 1995. A testimony to the strength of Saatchis' annual reel, Jonze has moved on to achieve great things, first being catapulted to fame and notoriety with the release of his 1999 debut feature, Being John Malkovich, which garnered three Academy Award nominations. The prodigious Jonze quickly replicated the success of his first movie with a second, which hit cinemas earlier this year. Adaptation, starring Nicholas Cage, is a feature about a scriptwriter with writer's block who plunges into the underworld, dragging his twin brother with him. He also produced Michel Gondry's debut feature, Human Nature, also based on a script by Charlie Kaufman.

Jonze is one of those rare directors that juggles feature film-making with a thriving commercials career and is currently signed up to MJZ.

His inventive work for Nike, "the morning after", filmed in 2000, won a gold at the One Show that year, while his ad for Levi's, "crazy legs", picked up a bronze Lion at Cannes last year. Ikea's "lamp" is tipped as a gold Lion contender at this year's festival.

Jonze also continues to pioneer the world of music videos and has scooped awards for his direction of the Beastie Boys' Sabotage, shot in the form of opening credits for a fictional 70s cop show, as well as his work for Fatboy Slim's Praise You and Weapons of Choice.

QUENTIN DUPIEUX

Dupieux, 29, started making films at the age of ten. He began by shooting short films that starred his friends, using his father's camera. At the age of 17, having saved for three years, he bought himself a 16mm camera.

With that new camera, he directed 17 short films over a period of four years and learnt all the skills for telling a story and directing actors.

At 21, he acquired a computer with the money he had made as a shoe salesman and with this he was able to edit his films and write music.

Dupieux joined Partizan Midi Minuit in March 1998. He quickly filmed a commercial for BSM, which won a gold award at the IAA Awards, and a series of commercials for the Levi's Sta-Prest campaign featuring Flat Eric. This Levi's campaign attracted an enormous amount of press and attention, securing him a place on the New Directors' Showcase in 1999. In 1999, he shot three more commercials for the Sta-Prest campaign, a short called "duvet", and two promos - one for Alex Gopher for the Party People track and in 2000 a promo for his own single Analogue Worms. He is releasing his first feature film this year.

CHARLES STONE

Coming from a music video background, 34-year-old Stone made a huge impact on the commercials industry with his first campaign, "Whassup?" for Budweiser, which earned him universal recognition and a place on the New Directors' Showcase in 2000. Since his roaring debut on the advertising scene, Stone has turned his attentions to Hollywood and has directed two blockbuster movies: Drumline, set in a fiercely competitive world of university marching bands, and Paid in Full, where a young man from Harlem, forced to cope with the 80s drug scene, builds an illegal empire, only to have a crisis of conscience. His third feature, Mr 3000, is currently in post-production and is due to hit screens in 2004.

DARREN WALSH

A director, animator and writer, Walsh was catapulted to fame with his animated series, Angry Kid, produced at Aardman Animations, which earned him a place on the New Directors' Showcase in 2001. Since then, Walsh has directed his second short film, The Biz,1994, which was commissioned by BBC2 and uses his trademark combination of pixellation and mask animation.

In addition to releasing the second Angry Kid series next month, Walsh has also directed commercials including a campaign for Tennents Lager which won Best Commercial in the Public Choice section of the British Animation Awards in March 2002, and six awards including the Grand Prix at the Scottish Advertising Awards. Walsh has recently signed up to Passion Pictures as a director of commercials, where he wants to work on more commercials and longer-format films.

LI WEI RAN

Wei Ran is the first director to come out of mainland China and appeared on the New Directors' Showcase in 2000. Wei Ran's Unicef commercial, "someone else's child", through Saatchi & Saatchi Hong Kong, was considered a startlingly mature work for a 24-year-old director. Wei Ran scooped a gold for Best Foreign Language Television at The One Show in 2000 for the Unicef spot. He is signed to Perfect Life productions in Beijing and is in demand for commercials all over Asia.

MELANIE BRIDGE

New Zealander Melanie Bridge went into stills photography after studying visual communications design at Wellington Polytechnic. She took up TV and video work after winning best music video awards in her homeland. Following her appearance on the New Directors' Showcase in 2000, Bridge left her production company, Silver Screen, to set up a film production house. Bridge continues to impress in commercials for Cadbury and the diet drug Xenical.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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