Accomplice Media
director selected for Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Director’s Showcase and
Shot’s Young Directors Awards.

LOS ANGELES—Last month, Accomplice Media director Alberto Belli made his first trip to the Cannes Lions
International Festival of Creativity. Belli was one of 18 directors worldwide chosen
to take part in Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Directors Showcase. He was selected
on the basis of his hilarious viral film It’s Not Porn, It’s HBO, which has
attracted nearly 5 million views on YouTube. Belli’s film was also nominated
for a Young Directors Award, in a competition sponsored by Shots.

Here Belli reflects on
his week in the south of France:

The New Directors Showcase took place in the Grand
Auditorium on Thursday at 10 a.m., very early in the morning by Cannes
standards. The house was packed. I hadn’t expected so large a crowd, more than
2000 people.
The showcase has been going on for 24 years and has a very
good record for discovering new talent—Tarsem, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry
have been featured in the past—so everyone wants to meet the new directors.
The show is also known for big openings. Last year, it was
bright lights and lasers. This year, they dispensed with that. Instead, nurses
handed out wristbands that were used to measure the audience’s emotional state.
The results were projected in graphical form onto the screen, alongside the
films.  Blue meant calm, green meant they
were more excited. It was interesting to see.
Alberto Belli
The films were quite eclectic. A lot were very visual; only
a few had dialogue. All were good. I wondered how the audience would react to
my film. When it began, there was silence, but at the end, it got a big ovation
lasting maybe 30 seconds. That was cool.
After lunch, it was time for Shots Magazine’s Young
Directors Awards. This event was held at the Marriott before a crowd of 1000
people and hosted by François Chilot, founder of the YDA and president of the
French production company Les Producers. The ceremony lasted about an hour. My
film was competing in the category Web Film/North America and was one of the
last to screen. I was hoping my film would get another good reception, but I
was nervous. This crowd was a bit younger than at NDS and appeared to be mostly
European. I wasn’t sure if they knew HBO. I imagined people thinking, “What was
that?” In the end I was relieved and excited because it took first place.
 François Chilot and Alberto Belli at the Young Directors Awards
I spent the next day hanging out at the Carlton Hotel. I met
people from all over the world, representing different agencies and different
accounts. A lot of them had seen It’s Not
so it was exciting. I also met Alyson Griffith, Accomplice Media’s rep
in the Southwest, who I’d only spoken with before, as well John Doe, a very
funny directing team from Spain who are represented by Accomplice in the U.S.
Naturally, I went to a lot of parties, all of which went on
until four or five in the morning. The parties sponsored by Shots and South
Africa were really nice. At the same time, I was in the middle of bidding a
couple of jobs back in Los Angeles. When I got back to my hotel in the early
morning, I had scripts to review with my executive producer, Mel Gragido. It
was a little crazy.
I hadn’t expected to meet so many people, particularly so
many high level people from agencies. I understand now why people make Cannes
an annual event. There are a lot of people whom you work with by phone or by
email, but never get to see. At Cannes, you get to meet those people in person
and hang out in the same place. It’s a different kind of connection. I can’t
wait to go again next year.
(counterclockwise from bottom left) Sam Nada (Wiredrive), KC Gulino (Super Powers), Alberto Belli, Tiago Guedes (John Doe), Stjepan Klein (John Doe), (unnamed), Angelina Powers (Super Powers), Alyson Griffith (Gossip) Audrey Lam.
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