This is the 2018 NDS Reel

Robert Goldrich, Editor

Roberta Griefer, Editorial Director & Publisher

Welcome...SHOOT’s 16th annual New Directors Showcase—which was celebrated with an evening screening  and panel discussion on Thursday, May 24, at the DGA Theatre in New York City with an afterparty at The Mill in Soho—offered a total of 34 up-and-coming helmers, filling 33 slots (32 individual directors and a duo).

The field included 18 freelancers, 14 women, and several filmmakers who recently had strong showings on the film festival circuit.

On the latter score, Showcase director Bing Liu back in January won the Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking on the strength of his feature documentary, Minding The Gap, which tells the story of three young men—including himself—who bond with one another via skateboarding to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. However as they grow up and adult responsibilities take hold, unexpected revelations jeopardize their decade-long friendship. The poignant documentary, which garnered Liu his Showcase slot, marks a stirring feature directorial debut—one which also recently landed him representation for commercials and branded content through Nonfiction Unlimited. 

Also scoring on the fest front was Jenna Laurenzo, currently unaffiliated with a production company. SHOOT chose Laurenzo for her feature Lez Bomb. And subsequent to our selecting her, Lez Bomb won the jury award for Best Narrative Film at the 4th annual Bentonville Film Festival. Founded by Geena Davis and Inclusion Companies CEO Trevor Drinkwater, the Bentonville Fest champions inclusion across all forms of media and is an advocate for women filmmakers.

Meanwhile director Celine Tricart, who’s with The Cavalry Productions and Spectacle, earned Showcase inclusion for her VR documentary The Sun Ladies, introducing us to women fighting against ISIS. The Sun Ladies premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

And Nina Meredith, an unaffiliated director, is a Showcase filmmaker for her branded documentary short Team in Flight for Intel. She recently made a splash at the Tribeca Film Festival with her film for Bvlgari titled The Litas, which profiles an all female motorcycle collective, introducing us to extraordinary Italian women going against the grain in pursuit of professions and passions that are traditionally held by men.

Unaffiliated filmmakers
Eighteen of the directors who made the Showcase cut are as of yet unaffiliated with a production company. They are Laurenzo; Meredith; Cameron Busby for Leon’s music video, “I Believe In Us”; Erin Collett who’s recognized for the short There Must Be More Light; Erica Eng for the Horace Gold’s POISON, a short film; Lissette Feliciano for the short film With Children; Matt Fisher for “Kinvisible,” a Kit Kat’s spec ad; Tiffany Frances for the short What I Wish You Said; David Kobzantsev for Nike’s “BE A BALLERina” spec spot; Anaïs La Rocca for the short film Good Bones; Justin Leyba for the Amazon Echo spec spot, “Worst Day Ever”; Matteo J. Mosterts for the short film Literally; Shaya Mulcahy for the short titled ZT: Zero Tolerance; Brad Raider for his feature Kensho at the Bedfellow; Christian Schilling for the Mentos spec commercial, “The Man With A Coin”; Casey Stein for the interactive short Holy Night; Brett Warkentien for “Every Three Years,” a Cease Fire USA public service spot; and Emma Zakes Green for Lisa Frankly’s music video “Smells Like a Girl.”

Company ties
Besides Liu and Tricart, the rest of the Showcase field affiliated with production companies consists of: the sole Showcase directorial duo, Greg & Jacob of Unit9 (for the okcupid spec film titled Keeping Cupid Busy); Meghann Artes of Tessa Films (the short film #neveragain’s Different this Year); Andy Dulman of ArtClass (the April Fool’s Day commercial “Google Play For Pets”); Maja Fernvquist of goodstory films (National Geographic's "Falling In Love" promo short); Lan Freedman of charlieuniformtango (“My Name Is Greg,” branded content for Ted’s Pain Cream); Ben Giroux of Superlounge (“Back to the ‘90s” music video); Caitlyn Greene of Voyager (the branded documentary short Dean Goes Surfing for Poland Spring); Jared Knecht of m ss ng p eces (Face the Music/Recovery Unplugged’s music video “I Got This”); Danielle Levitt of Tool (National Down Syndrome Society’s “C21 Restaurant” public service short); Stewart Maclennan of CoMPANY Films (“Live in Levi’s” spec piece); Sallyanne Massimini of Principato Young Entertainment (Auctiv’s “The Only Protection Needed” commercial); Duncan Sullivan of Cause+Effect Productions (REI’s branded documentary short Brothers of Climbing); and Bartley Taylor of Adolescent Content (Airbnb’s spec commercial “Fort”). 

While past Showcases have included strong showings by women, this year's tally of 14 females is the highest ever. They are: Artes, Eng, Feliciano, Fernqvist, Frances, Greene, La Rocca, Laurenzo, Levitt, Massimini, Mulcahy, Meredith, Tricart and Zakes Green.