Jillian Martin.

Jillian Martin.

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.