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Film-making has changed beyond recognition in the contest's 20 years, providing this year's theme, 'nothing is impossible'. John Tylee meets the organisers and assesses nine standout entries.
As the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase prepares to celebrate its 20th birthday, it can fairly claim to have reflected a filmic world that is currently proving a bit of a contradiction.
Of course, new techniques have transformed film-making over the course of the showcase's existence. 'When we started, everything was so sedate in comparison with today,' Richard Myers, the Saatchi & Saatchi creative director, global culture, says.
This year, however, as Myers and his fellow creatives sifted through the hundreds of contenders for inclusion in this year's showcase, they detected an unexpected phenomenon - the old craft skills appeared to be making a comeback.
'It's ironic, but we've seen quite a few examples of classic film-making,' he says. 'There's been something of a return to beautifully constructed and well-told stories, rather than lots of hand-held camera work and gratuitous use of soft focus.'
Why has it happened? Myers is not entirely sure, although he rejects the popular notion that tough financial times have caused people to retreat into their comfort zones.
'I don't think that's the case,' he says. 'The work we've seen is living proof that creativity has not been a victim of the recession. Maybe it just reflects a sense of tedium about the whole idea of art for art's sake in some film-making.'
Nevertheless, the process of paring down the work from about 100 to a final 14 pieces did pose some fundamental questions - not least the issue of what direction actually is, given how much film-making has changed.
Tom Eslinger, the Saatchi & Saatchi worldwide creative director interactive, cites a striking film featuring a son-et-lumiere display as an outstanding example of the …