It may have rained for the previous few days in Cannes, but the sun came out for the premiere of the first Lexus Short Films series in collaboration with The Weinstein Company on Sunday 19th May.
Gracing the VIP carpet for the late afternoon event at the charmingly old-school Olympia movie theatre was an array of Hollywood’s finest acting talent, from suave Brit Clive Owen and Bong girl Naomie Harris to Star Trek‘s Zoe Saldana. Also in attendance were director legend Tim Burton and Harvey Weinstein — co-founder of Miramax Films — and also executive producer on dozens of blockbuster movies from 1994’s Pulp Fiction to the multi-Oscar-winning 2011 film The Artist.
Based around the simple but deliberately broad theme of ‘Life is Amazing’, five new directors were approached by Lexus and The Weinstein Company to make a short film for the Cannes Film Festival. As Lexus Europe director Paul Van der Burgh explained: “We wanted a dialogue with a broader audience and chose to involve Lexus in design and the arts as a key way to do that.”
The stunning results range from Spanish film maker Cristina Molino’s intense musing on love and memory to Mitsuyo Miyazaki’s part real-world and part-Manga animation story of two Japanese kids in a post-Tsunami scenario coping with water shortages and gangsters. None of the directors were tasked with featuring a Lexus — or indeed a car of any sort — although the Lexus LF-LC concept does make an unexpected appearance in Miyazaki’s short film, before morphing into a flying Manga car to aid the kids’ escape.
After the back-to-back screenings, the directors, actors and senior Lexus management made a costume change for the ultra-exclusive after-party at Baoli Beach for more movie, car and fashion conversation, plus a little dancing and light refreshment. It was just as refreshing to hear how appreciative the Hollywood big-hitters were about the involvement of Lexus in this project.
When asked if the Lexus Short Film series could be genuinely credible with the movie world, actress Zoe Saldana was fulsome in her praise: “Absolutely. These companies are in a financial position where their notoriety is worldwide, so to lend their voices to support art is very powerful.” Director Tim Burton was equally honest: “In this day and age when things can get very corporate it’s great to meet people that are so passionate about film.” The last word should perhaps go to one of the new directors whom you’ll hopefully get to hear more about in the future as a result of her Lexus patronage. “I was completely free,” says Cristina Molino. “Lexus said we like your work. We want you to write something and we want you to make amazing movies. It was great.”
After their Cannes premier, the five Lexus Short Films will be released online on www.lexusshortfilms.com. One film will be released per week from Tuesday 28th May, starting with Cristina Molino’s Beyond Memories, followed by Echoes by Special Problems (4th June), Swimming in Air by Justin Tipping (11th June), Pupil by Chan Chung Ki (18th June), and finishing with A Better Tomorrow directed by Mitsuyo Miyazaki on 25th June. Don’t expect any of them to feel like a car commercial, but do look forward to some thought-provoking and visually arresting short films.