This Film Festival’s Bleak, Intense Look Into the Future Will Leave You Feeling Frayed

'Quota' is a sci-fi mini-masterpiece

Memories of home haunt the hard-working miners of Newport Beach Film Festival's new short. Newport Beach Film Festival
Headshot of T.L. Stanley

As sure as the jacaranda trees bloom every spring in Southern California, the Newport Beach Film Festival launches a quirky, cinematic work of art to promote its weeklong event.

This year is no exception, with a beautiful and brutal 3-minute spot that looks like it could’ve been lifted directly from the mind of Ridley Scott. Instead, it’s the creation of director Jillian Martin, production company and agency Garage Team Mazda in its first campaign for the festival.

“Quota: Who Made the Cut” centers on two beaten-down miners in space suits dangling by ropes from a massive, alien edifice, mining for crystal with hand drills and bad attitudes.

Are they the future’s exploited working class? Prisoners? They may be both. They’re certainly in competition with one another to find a mother lode of the precious substance and earn their way back home.

Their only respite from the bleak, oppressive scenario are VR memories from home now and again, which don’t so much provide the rest they need as remind them of the life they’re missing. Those vivid images they see in their fitful waking sleep—a lover with whip cream on a taut belly, for one—are both a tease and an incentive.

No wonder things get violent.

The ad team had “free range on the creative,” according to Todd Quartararo, the festival’s co-founder and director of marketing, whose execs plucked “Quota” from a handful of contending concepts. Its final shot alludes to just how tough it is to land a slot in a film festival. But there’s likely less blood.

“We believe the quality of our branding should be equal to the exceptional production and creative values our filmmakers bring to the festival,” Quartararo said.

The Orange County-based festival, kicking off April 26, has a longstanding rep for its good taste in commercials, formerly produced by agency RPA. Last year’s “Go Deeper,” mixed live-action and stop-motion elements (and lots of skeletons) to follow a message in a bottle, and previous mini-movies have drawn from horror tropes and bedtime stories.

“We set the bar high,” Quartararo said, with “Quota” “far surpassing our expectations.” The short will screen before each of the 350 films on this year’s festival lineup.


Director: Jillian Martin
Executive Producer: Jim Evans
Producers: Larry Edwards, Christophe Faubert, Denny Kennedy
Editor: Erwin Fraterman

Untitled Inc.
General Manager: Larry Edwards
Head of Production: Geoff Campbell
Director of Photography: Robert Dalsey
Assistant Director: Peter Etzweiller
Art Director: Melissa Broker
Writers: Jillian Martin, Robert Dalsey
Camera Operator: David Brickley
Data Manager: Jordan Evans
Wardrobe: Jen Eagen
Wardrobe / Makeup: Elizabeth Meredith
Wardrobe Assistant: CiCi Hoggard
Effects: Zack Edwards
Drone Pilot: Collin Burgess

Riggers: Joe Makouske, Jonathen Zambella Spencer McBride, Ben Corso
Production Assistants: Lauren Gagnon, Sam Berry, Tyler Ryan
Talent: Nate Scholz, Aion Boyd
Site Representative / Still Photography: Kyle Voles
Special thanks to Phedon Papamichael

Garage Team Mazda
Chief Executive Officer: Michael Buttlar
Chief Creative Officer: Erich Funke
SVP Creative Director / Writer: Melissa Webber
ACD / Art Director: Zak Masaki
Writer- Jason Tucker
Senior Producer: Jeff Perino
Management Supervisor, Account: Cory Sampson
Account Coordinator: Brooke Hawley

jumP Editorial
Executive Producer: Betsy Beale
Flame Artist: Thom Reimerink
Assistant Editor: Michael Wolfe
Assistant Editor: Kristin Yawata

Method Studios
Lead Flame Artist: Emily Irvine
Flame Artist: Louis Schachte
Senior Producer: Julia Paskert
Art Director: Norris Houk
Motion Graphics Artist: Orey Spear
Head of Production: Ananda Reavis
Executive Producer: Cara Lehr

Company 3
Senior Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
Senior Colorist: Stephen Nakamura
Executive Producer: Ashley McKim
Senior Producer: Katie Andrews

Juice Studios
Mixer: Scott Burns
Producer: Vanessa Carey
Executive Producer: Dawn Redmann

Yessian Music & Sound Design
Creative Director / Composer: Andy Grush
Sound Designers: Jeff Dittenber, Mike Baluha
Executive Producer: David Gold
Senior Producer: Katie Overcash
Music Supervisor: Lars Makie
Head of Production / Partner: Michael Yessian
CCO / Partner: Brian Yessian

Casting: Face In The Crowd Casting
Casting Director: Maryclaire Sweeters

Camtec | Global Effects | Strato | BLM | Nama Guides | Filmtools | Galpin | Quixote | Alan Gordon Enterprises | Bobby Digital

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@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.