interview with director jillian martin, Written for Adweek's 2018 Creative 100 issue.
The Newport Beach Film Festival’s marquee trailers are known for being instantly memorable, and this year’s promo, a gritty sci-fi vignette by director Jillian Martin, was no exception. “Quota: Who Made the Cut” centers on two weary miners in a dark future world who are relentlessly prodded to harvest a depressingly hefty quantity of crystal each day. It’s punishing work performed while tethered to the side of a mountain, and before long a violent rivalry ensues that leaves the viewer—and one of the miners—dangling. The tagline: “See who made the cut.”
“The original inspiration kind of came from being in the Grand Canyon a week prior and observing the otherworldly natural elements of the canyons,” says Martin. “We worked backwards from the tagline and knew we wanted a battle to the death.” Martin cowrote the trailer from a nine-page script with Robert Dalsey; she then pruned it into a short with creative director Melissa Webber and senior producer Jeff Perino at Garage Team Mazda.
“Quota” was a departure for Martin, whose credits include inspiring spots like HP’s “Reinvent Mindsets: Dads and Daughters” and “What Moves You?” for Degree Women. But then again, she’s used to sharp turns. In college, Martin was all set to be an art teacher when a visit to a film set illuminated a new world of possibilities. Within a week, she uprooted herself and moved to Winter Park, Fla., to attend film school. “I still think it was the best thing I ever did,” she says.