Icons+Innovators

David
Shane

Director, O Positive

shots Cannes 2024 Focus
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DAVID SHANE, PARTNER OF AND A DIRECTOR AT O POSITIVE, IS ONE OF THE INDUSTRY’S MOST CELEBRATED COMEDIC DIRECTORS, WITH A HOST OF AWARD-WINNING WORK TO HIS NAME.

As a DGA-nominated, Emmy and Cannes Gold Lion-winning writer/director, Shane has been called “the go-to name for black humour and nuanced performances” and a “master of short-form comedy directing.”

He began his career as a copywriter in New York before studying acting in LA. In 2014, Shane was the most awarded director at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, winning six Lions, including a gold for HBO GO’s Awkward Family Viewing campaign, which Time called “the most supremely uncomfortable ads of all time.”

Recent highlights include the 2024 Super Bowl spot for Paramount+ starring Sir Patrick Stewart, the Uber Eats campaign with Robert De Niro, and Apple’s Hollywood homage. Other standout campaigns include Bud Light’s Swear Jar, Currys/PC World with Jeff Goldblum, and work for AT&T, ESPN, HBO, and Volkswagen.

Shane’s short films, such as Second Thoughts and Play Date, have premiered at festivals like SXSW, Palm Springs, and Tribeca, where he was nominated for two best shorts awards. As an icon and innovator, he shares his thoughts on Cannes, great work he’s seen, and what awards mean.

What’s your favourite piece of work from the last 12 months?

I loved Craig Gillespie’s Waiting Room for Apple. Such a lovely and deft blend of clever camera language and nuanced performance.

How long have you been coming to Cannes, and what’s your fondest memory of the festival?

I've come to Cannes several times over the years, and everyone tells me I’ve had a great time.

Are awards important?

I think they’re super-important. Without them, there’d be no reason for awards shows.

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

Here’s a serious answer: I’d love to see acting be more than an afterthought.

Who or what has most influenced your career?

I know it's sounds cliched, but I'm gonna have to say my mom. She's that little voice in my head saying, “I'm not good enough”, and “I‘m not good at anything”, and sometimes she just yells the word “unfunny”, or makes a buzzer noise that tells me exactly how she feels. I love her and I know she loves me, even if she doesn't say it back.

What piece of work makes you think, ‘I wish I’d made that’?

Every ad by Kim Gehrig. And Totem, by Lila Avilés, made me completely rethink what a movie can be.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.

I killed David Shane in college and secretly took his place. I've never told anyone that.

Icons+Innovators

Over the course of this week we will be celebrating some of the people who are at the heart of advertising's creative landscape, those who - whether creatives, directors, producers or other craftspeople - have made a lasting impact on the business.

Alongside specially commissioned portraits, taken by photographer Julian Hanford, we will be asking our subjects about the work they most admire, both new and old, what Cannes means to them, and what they might change about the industry if they could.

This interview series was created with

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