Mannes in Cannes: Hope & The Electric Recorder

SAATCHI&SAATCHI seminar (10)

Words by Monsieur Chris Gotz

I am the Guinness Surfer. I am waiting. Tic toc. Although there are no white horses charging through the waves above me, and I am not a good looking salty blonde surfer dude, and I am staying in a hotel near the sea, not actually in the sea, but I am still waiting. The Film, Integrated and Branded Entertainment Shortlist comes out in an hour. In Cannes this is the last chance saloon, but it is also the big game, the show, the fat lady finally getting her aria.

Yesterday began with the Young Director’s Showcase, a selection of the world’s best young directors walking down the ramp and flashing a bit of side boob for the cameras (I am aware that’s a sexist analogy please feel free to substitute side boob for the male equivalent of side boob, although that’s probably plumber’s crack, so you can see why I went with side boob). It began with Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous Godless man, reading a pompous tract about God knows what (although in this case God does not exist, of course) – apparently it was all about memes, who knew? Mr Dawkins was then replaced by a bit of 80’s and 90’s style geometric animation which looked like it had been borrowed from Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video from 20 years ago. To this was added 3D mapping, the technology so loved by car launches and events companies desperate to hide their lack of an idea with spectacular lighting effects. SAATCHI&SAATCHI seminar Professor Dawkins(22)This ended with Richard Dawkins entering stage left and playing an electric recorder for a few minutes. It was over fairly quickly, thank God (or not in this case, depending on whether you believe in him).What followed was a lovely collection of incredible work from directors around the world. The selection is always a bit wtf and challenging to watch, but it was one of the highlights of Cannes this year.

The stand out piece for me was the Ben Liam Jones directed film for Childline, a masterpiece of gritty reality and sadness. Check out Gevorg Karensky’s live action version of Grand Theft Auto for go-pro gone bonkers. And Nabil’s new music video for Anthony and the Johnsons “Cut the world” is a masterpiece, although I wouldn’t show it to your wife if you’re going through a bad patch. Justin Anderson’s voyeuristic, slightly creepy but very sexy film for Agent Provocateur is also worth a look. There was the life story of a Leica camera, evoked with exquisite grace and power by Vellas. Comedy showed up strongly in Max Joseph’s great film for the Rainforest Alliance and also in Peter Atencio’s Tarentino homage “Pulled over”. You can see all the work on the New Director’s Showcase Youtube Channel.

David Karp, creator of Tumblr (although no longer owner of Tumblr having sold to Yahoo, who need all the help they can get from David Karp) was up on stage.Tumblr really does seem to represent an opportunity for brands to tell “native” stories in an authentic and free environment without restriction. David Karp mentioned the amazing opportunities brands have to work with tumblr a little too much, coming across a bit like an enthusiastic but very sincere encyclopaedia salesman.

lee clowThen on Friday morning we got to see the standout seminar of the whole week. Legendary ad heroes Lee Clow and George Lois chatting on stage for an hour. Their work speaks for itself, although they have no problem doing that either. It was flat out fascinating as they connected their work from the past 3 decades to what is going on in the industry now. Clow said sagely that he believed the industry was in a “great shaking out”, and no one really knows where it will end. He did say that until art directors and creative people have truly wrested partial curatorship of the web from the tech guys, and when they really start to collaborate their will be fireworks. George Lois said motherfu$&er a lot and told stories of courage and style and bloody minded stubbornness. He ended with the words, “Fight for your work. And if they don’t like it f$ck em.” Yes, quite. George once threatened to jump out of the window of Manhattan Skyscraper when a client refused to buy his layouts. Thankfully we were on the ground floor of the Palais.

The final Shortlists just hit the wires. Ogilvy Cape Town has 2, which gives us a final, slim chance at glory. South Africa has a smattering of TV Shortlists too. So, as we all descend into the Palais to watch the Film Shortlist, we carry with us, along with our free Cornettos and limited edition Cokes, a last smidgen of hope that somewhere a jury is sticking up their hands and handing us a Lion. Tic toc.

Sent from my iPad

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