Ad Age, Ann-Christine Diaz
The hot topic of gender inequity in the industry played out today at Saatchi & Saatchi's annual New Directors Showcase, which opened with a film that invited the audience to see things from two different perspectives.
The poetic, visually stunning "Open Your Eyes," directed by Jake Dypka in collaboration with Hollie McNish, depicts two different stories simultaneously. One showed the "male" experience of gender stereotyping while the other illustrated the "female" point of view. The audience could choose which to watch by switching off between a pink or blue set of polarized glasses they received at the event.
Saatchi also made it a point to bring diversity into the process of selecting this year's films. Judging happened in two parts, with two different juries, one comprising people from within the agency, another from outside. The outside group included Kai-Lu Hsing, managing director at RSA, and directors such as Sara Dunlop and Alma Har'el, who started the Free the Bid initiative and also served on this year's Glass Lions Jury.
"This year we decided to put the issue of gender diversity at the heart of NDS and use it as a platform for this very needed conversation," said Saatchi & Saatchi Global Chief Creative Officer Kate Stanners in a statement, referring to the New Directors Showcase. "As a creative director I'm very conscious of the need for diversity within directing as it ensures a variety of voices and stories. Statistically, female commercial directors make up less than 7% and every year we're finding we're confronted by the same challenge of finding female directorial talent to showcase."
The agency also "cast the net wider" than in the past in order to bring more female talent into the mix, but "dishearteningly discovered that however hard we looked, there is an imbalance in talent out there."
This year, the agency featured more women directors than ever before, "but I'm actually really disappointed," Stanners told showcase attendees. "I wanted to have a lot more and I want to come back next year with twice as many directors as we have today."
To see the showcase films, including A.V. Rockwell's "The Gospel", click here.