PRODUCTION/POST-PRODUCTION: THE WORLD'S HOT NEW DIRECTORS - Saatchi & Saatchi's New Directors Showcase highlights the hottest emerging talents in the advertising industry from around the globe. Francesca Newland reports

Bob Isherwood, the worldwide creative director of Saatchi &

Saatchi, has had to sift through 500 submissions to compose this year's

New Directors Showcase. From these he has chosen 27, which were

presented toan eager audience at the Grand Palais in Cannes this


Now in its 11th year, the Showcase has become an important means of

spotting and rewarding new talent. Saatchis' global network enables

Isherwood to see films from all over the world: hence this year's

entries from as far afield as Japan and India.

However, identifying new directors from remote parts of the world has

become easier for Isherwood, as these days the smartest, and richest,

production companies have talent spotters trotting the globe attempting

to sign the youngsters before anyone else gets to them.

This year's entries show a return to traditional crafts. There are many

animated submissions as well as short films. Yo and To's "star sheep",

Johnny Hardstaff's "PlayStation", and Darren Walsh's "angry kid" among


Isherwood surmises that this is because the advertising industry is not

handing as many big-budget scripts to new directors as it used to. He

says: "This may be because there is more money around at the moment so

they don't have to use the cheap directors."

His other observation is the continuation of a trend he identified in

last year's Showcase: "Pop promos just aren't there," he says. "They

don't seem to be giving a chance to new directors, or if they do, it's

with lots of restrictions."

In contrast to the drama of last year's event, staged by the Cirque de

Soleil, this year Isherwood went for a more edgy style. The event was

themed on the cult short film, Truth in Advertising, which has hit most

people's e-mails at some stage over the past 12 months.

However, its makers, Tim Hamilton (writer and director) and Dave

Chiavegato (writer), came up with a director-themed version called The

Reel Truth.

The event was promoted along La Croissette, with posters carrying lines

such as "This new guy would be perfect for the job. He hasn't got a

reel," or "I'm really excited about directing this project. Now I can

afford a swimming pool".

This year Isherwood was unable to introduce the Showcase, as he was busy

being president of the Cannes jury. Instead, it was presented on film by

Ridley Scott, who stated his commitment to new directors, pointing out

that he was one once.


Having graduated from St Martin's with a degree in graphic design,

Hardstaff directed a test film for hip-hop band Freestylers. He was

spotted by PlayStation, which commissioned his ten-minute film. He has

now been signed by RSA/Black Dog Films. Isherwood is impressed with the

PlayStation film, which is backed by an intriguingly obscure sound

track: "It's very, very arresting animation that seems to capture all

video game techniques and imagery. It keeps you moving along with



It seems obvious in retrospect that a copywriter as talented as Tom

Carty should enter the New Directors Showcase as he embarks on his

directing career. Represented now by Gorgeous Enterprises, Carty has

also directed a promo for Jamie Oliver's band, as well as some

Sainsbury's commercials starring the chef. His commercial for The

Economist has given him a freer creative rein, which has demonstrated

his directing credentials. Isherwood is full of praise: "This could have

been very ordinary. It's not something that is stunning on a piece of

paper, but it has been made stunning on a piece of film. He has made the

idea stronger. He has done the task of all creatives, which is to make a

simple idea memorable."


A film/video graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Jhaveri was born

in the US to Indian parents. Soon after graduation he joined MTV's

On-Air Promotional department in New York and after three years moved to

Bombay with the company. In 1996 he returned to New York, where he

continued working with MTV. Isherwood praises the vitality of Jhaveri's

work: "Barbershop is beautifully directed and edited. The music and

images bounce along together."


"Yo&To", both French, met in Valenciennes at Supinfocom, a computer

graphics and multimedia college. The pair, aged 26 and 25 respectively,

are now working on ads and clips through Wanda Productions. Their short

animated film, "star sheep", was in part inspired by Yo's (bottom)

life-long fascination with all things military. Isherwood explains why

he included the film in this year's showcase: "I always like to include

something that challenges people's intellect, boredom threshold and eye

for originality."


Patrick Sherman claims to be the son of an American diplomat that was

separated from his parents and raised by a tribe of Batu Pygmies. He

attended USC and the American Film Institute before being taken on as a

director by Anonymous. Although evidently equipped with an active

imagination, Sherman has not let it run wild in his commercial for

Pepsi. Isherwood says: "When you have such brilliant, single-minded

simplicity the temptation to screw it up must have been huge.

Fortunately the director has done the idea justice by staying out of the



Although only 23 years old, American-born Rinsch has the unusual

accomplishment of having helped to develop the FlexiCAM, beloved by

plumbers the world over, under his belt. While at Brown University he

was hired as a photographer by Rolling Stone magazine before making

three commercials for his final thesis. He was rapidly signed by RSA. In

May, Campaign Screen and D&AD named him the Best New Director 2001,

citing his test film for Pepsi in particular. Isherwood is also

impressed with his Tampax spot. He calls Rinsch "a really good visual

director", adding "as you would expect from RSA".


Nakao began making 8mm films at school and continued while at

university. The simplicity of 8mm enabled him to work alone, which he

says he has been able to continue doing but now using digital

technology. He now hopes to make a feature film. Isherwood was bowled

over: "The images are just so extraordinary. You don't see animation

done like this in the west. He's borrowing from film with the flickering

style. He was chosen on craft, originality and the idea. He has a

visually disturbing style."


Smith already has some formidable film credits to his name. His first

feature film, American Job, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Three years later, American Movie won the Grand Jury Prize at the

festival. His most recent film, Home Movie, was produced in conjunction

with TBWA/Chiat/Day. His "Laurel Lane" spot for Pacific Bell and his

"cop" spot for TiVo firmly establish him as a talented comedy director.

Isherwood says: "Directing humour takes a really special skill. There

are a lot of really famous directors who can't direct comedy."


No list of new creative talent would be complete without a Scandinavian

entry. This pair joined forces in 1999, Larsson (bottom) having been an

editor at SVT-Drama and Gelin (top) having worked as a copywriter in TV

productions. Now represented by Harry Nash, they have directed

commercials for McDonald's, Thorn and Twist. Isherwood points out that

running a film backwards, as in the Twist spot, is not a new technique.

He says: "That idea has been seen and done a lot, but I've never seen it

done so well. Everyone who does a reverse-the-clock ad should consider

these guys."


Walsh graduated with an animation degree and his first film is called

Oozat. The film, which used a mixture of pixillation and mask animation,

won Best European Short Film at the Cork International Film Festival and

the Jury Prize at Hiroshima. Walsh's series of 20 "angry kid" films,

which use a refined version of the mask/pixillation technique, got him

noticed by Aardman Animations. The films, promoted using the internet,

have already developed a cult following.