Meet Nespresso Talents 2016’s Selected Filmmakers

Advertorial by Jamie Dunn | 13 May 2016
  • Nespresso Talents 2016: Selected Films
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The inaugural Nespresso Talents 2016 vertical film contest comes to a close, with three great filmmakers receiving 6,000€ as well as a trip to the world renowned 2016 Cannes Film Festival

The way we view the world is changing. More and more we’re being informed, thrilled and entertained through the smartphones we all carry around with us in our pockets, and their 9:16 frame means these windows onto the world are vertical. With this changing aesthetic in mind, Nespresso launched Nespresso Talents 2016, a contest that asked emerging filmmakers to “Explore your extraordinary” by thinking vertically; use the 9:16 frame to create a short film that rethinks composition and storytelling in a personal and unique way.

The response was fantastic. “We created Nespresso Talents 2016 as part of our ongoing support of cinematography and dynamic storytelling,” said Alfonso Gonzalez, Nespresso’s Chief Customer Officer. “At the close of the contest, we received over 380 entries from 41 countries, with a wealth of extraordinary and gifted work, which really challenged the norms of storytelling.”

From these 380 entries, a showcase of 20 films was chosen, with some of the films breaking new ground in vertical filmmaking and others bringing a fresh perspective to familiar genres. After much deliberation, a jury of influential filmmakers – comprising Gaëlle Denis, Eva Weber and Erik Schmitt, as well as Nespresso CCO Gonzalez – have selected three filmmakers, who brought their films to Cannes for a private screening parallel to the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. As well as the trip to Cannes, the selected filmmakers each received 6,000€, which they’ll hopefully use to continue exploring their considerable filmmaking talent.

Answering Nespresso Talents 2016’s brief to “Explore your extraordinary”, the selected films take ordinary moments from life and turn them into poetic stories with strong emotional resonances. What’s perhaps most pleasing about the jury’s selection is the diversity: they are three very different, dynamic films, each exploring how we view and understand cinema, and the new spaces, compositions and aesthetics that filming vertically offers.

Meet the selected filmmakers and their films

Decollo Verticale by Italo Draperi

Turin-based filmmaker Italo Draperi creates a witty and wise tale about an exhausted chicken farmer who’s henpecked by his exacting wife, who’s desperately in need of a holiday and would be happy to “kill all those hens and start a new life.” We follow the farmer through the drudgery of work, naggings at home, a health & safety disaster on the farm, and one surprising romantic gesture. Delightfully, the put-upon farmer never says a word. It’s a film of gentle rhythms and sly ironies, and throughout Draperi shows a sharp eye for surprising vertical compositions. “The vertical format is sometimes ignored because it looks like a mistake or an ‘amateur’ thing,” says Draperi, “but it is exactly from these kinds of “mistakes” that new points of view are born.”

An Ordinary Life by Lidia Sheinin

One of The Skinny’s favourites, we’re introduced to St Petersburg-born filmmaker Lidia Sheinin’s ‘ordinary’ family, but they prove anything but. Sheinin’s study of everyday Russian life is really a paean to her 99-year-old grandmother, who had dreams of being a dancer but had to build a nuclear ice-breaker for Stalin instead. This is a little gem, filled with inventive uses of the vertical frame and held together by a dryly sardonic narration. “When thinking about telling the story in vertical format, I strongly felt that each shot has to have a built-in justification for being vertical – both in its meaning and form,” said Sheinin. “Why is this particular shot vertical? Why is the whole story vertical? Having to ask these questions pushed me to think of every single frame in a much more attentive way, which was a great challenge and joy at the same time.” You can spot this attention to detail in every perfectly composed composition; Sheinin is clearly from the Wes Anderson school of fastidious framing.

Scars by Fran Najera

The most personal and deeply moving of the shortlisted films, Scars is a poetic essay from Spanish filmmaker Fran Najera exploring his relationship with his own reflection, and a face he’s kept covered in a thick beard for two decades. “I love to create stories and explain them with images,” says Najera. The film's power comes from the filmmaker’s almost expressionistic framing of his face as he shaves off the beard that has acted as a shield to the world since an accident when he was 16. “Through life we suffer and we get hurt and that creates emotional scars,” he says. “To accept them and observe them make us stronger in our experience.”

Draperi, Sheinin and Najera were announced as the selected filmmakers yesterday in Cannes and their films screened at a private screening during the Cannes Film Festival.

For more information on the selected films visit the Nespresso Talents website. You can watch The Skinny’s six favourites from the Nespresso Talents 2016 contest here.