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31st May 2012
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Title of film: The light is your friend
Director: Karen Cunningham
Production Company: Pop-Up Films
Karen Cunningham directs first job through her new film company for the Young Directors Award

June, the month of sunshine, mega-rosé hangovers and hyper-inflation along the Croisette at the advertising festival, is also the time for the cfp-e/shots Young Directors’ Award in Cannes. June 21st in fact and you’re invited, so do check the details below and we will see you there.

Each year the competition showcases and rewards some of the most talented young directors from across the globe and this year is no different. The YDA is the only international award which promotes truly new directors with films being from a director’s first four pieces of work.

The Young Directors Award was launched by the CFP-E 14 years ago to embrace the producer’s role of discovering, promoting and nurturing young talents. “Although we include a lot of spec spots and work from unsigned directors, the show is a reminder that the producer’s role is essential in developing tomorrow’s great directors,” says YDA president, Francois Chilot.

To both celebrate and publicise the event Karen Cunningham has directed the above spot through her new production company, Pop-Up Films, which perfectly captures the essence of the YDA and this year’s tag line, ‘Directing, it’s in your bones’, and below Cunningham talks to us about the film and her new company.

Your film for the Young Director’s Award is the first film produced with your new company Pop-Up Films. What’s the ethos behind Pop-up Films and what type of work will you be aiming for?

The idea behind Pop-up up is to be small and flexible, keeping our overheads to a minimum so that we have the creative freedom to direct projects that we want to do.

You have great experience at directing kids; will that be a specialism or will you be looking to work in a variety of genres?

The children label happened by default as the first film that I directed featured children. I was fortunate enough to win several awards for it, which brought in other scripts. I love people and observing the way they behave and being able to realize that in the scripts that I direct so I don’t mind how young or old they are as long as the idea is good. However, as anyone who knows me will know, I love fashion so I would love the opportunity to direct a fashion or performance piece with women that feels fresh and real and depicts women as they really are.

The YDA is a competition that you also won with your first directing work. Was making this spot for the competition a straight forward production?

It was a lovely idea written by Damien Bellon at BETC Paris and as always the challenge was finding the right cast who could bring the script to life.

So Pop-Up is a directing / producer partnership? And how did it come about?

Yes it is. Julia Fetterman came to me with the idea of setting up on our own as a director/executive producer partnership and she suggested that she would manage my career and produce the work while also providing a creative, flexible and fun environment for our clients. Having known Julia as both a colleague and friend for many years, this seemed like the perfect time to work together and Pop-up was born.

The YDA has a new venue for its show in Cannes this year at the Espace Miramar (at the corner of La Croisette/Rue Pasteur). It will be held on Thursday June 21 at 5pm, so you are welcome to come to the show and discover the next generation of directors.

Agency: BETC Paris
Creative: Damien Bellon
Production Co: Pop-Up Films
Director: Karen Cunningham
Producer: Julia Fetterman
Photography: Vincent Warin
Post Production: The Moving Picture Company
Editing House: Stitch Editing
Editor: Max Windows