The work, the weather, the rosé… there are some things that are inseparable from the Cannes Lions experience. Another essential ingredient for many Festival devotees is the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase, which for more than 25 years has been a major fixture on the Festival programme. Each year a selection of work from the hottest new directing talent is shown on the biggest screen in the Palais, and features short films, animations, music videos and all other kinds of film craft.
The NDS differs from other Cannes Lions seminars, in that it includes some kind of opening act. This unusual shot comes from the opening performance of 2011, themed "Hello Future":
The show was the brainchild of Jonathan Santana and Xander Smith, working with Warp Records, independent producer Juliette Larthe and Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner. Titchner’s graphics responded to the movements of musician Jamie Lidell on a stage set designed by Lady Gaga collaborator Gary Card. Sound artist – known as Clark – created the unsettling voice from the future which announced the showcase as “a pre-apocalyptic, pre-cognitive taste of what has not yet come to pass”.
After this photo:
Jonathan and Xander joined Mother in 2015. Mark Titchner continues to produce internationally recognised art. Jamie Lidell continues to produce and perform music, his latest album ‘Building a Beginning’ was released in 2016. Producer Juliette Larthe is now Executive Producer at Prettybird UK and picked up a Grammy in 2013 for the video of Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’.
The Saatchi & Saatchi NDS continues to draw large crowds at Cannes (arrive early to join the queue if you’re coming this year). The following year’s performance featured a light show with drones (charmingly referred to as “flying robots” in contemporary reports).
You can see the full opening sequence below:
If you're curious to hear from the guys behind this whole idea, check out this short interview we conducted with them at the Festival that year:
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