In the run-up to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016, we've asked a variety of venerable agency heads to dissect and discuss the awards categories, giving their considered overview of how the categories and competition has changed, as well as plucking their top picks for prizes from the creative crowd.

What’s your definition of what this category means in 2016?

Contrary to popular belief, film is not dead; it’s just evolving like any other media, finding new ways. I think it’s still hard to beat film when it comes to eliciting a strong emotional response from the audience. So let’s find and reward the innovators of 2015-16 – those who find a new way to make film convincing and powerful, in an emotionally honest way.


What makes a great Film entry in your opinion? What’s your favourite Film campaign from the past 12 months and why do you think it was effective?

A great film – like a great feature film – is one that stays with you. One that makes you think and hits you with something real while you watch it. And, in this day and age, it’s one you don’t want to skip or block. It’s hard to say what I really liked in the last 12 months. I liked, in general, some of the Under Armour work, some of the IKEA work from Mother London and the Heinz commercial with the wiener dogs. Different kinds of emotions, I guess.



How creatively successful do you think work eligible for the Film category has been over the past 12 months and why?

The Film category has been OK. Successful but, probably, not hugely innovative or daring. I think there are reasons why this is happening. A lot of budget and effort is put towards moments like the Super Bowl or Christmas in the UK.

The result is a lot of films that try to do the same thing, that go for the “low-hanging emotional fruit”: explosions, celebs and big laughs on one end; babies, old people, and tearjerkers on the other.

And, in the meantime, some brands who constantly used to deliver amazing work, like Nike or Honda or Guinness, seem to have slowed down a little.


If you were on the jury what would you be looking for and taking into consideration this year in the Film category?

How original, innovative and emotionally honest you are. How daring you are in terms of storytelling but also in terms of the truthfulness of the message.


How do you think the Film category has changed over the past few years?

Not much to be honest. There’s a lot more branded content and long formats – which is good and bad (bad if you have to sit through a two-hour-long user-generated movie) and a lot of pieces that are considered film but are, in fact, filmed stunts. Also, budgets have generally become smaller so you see fewer blockbusters and stuff with mega special effects. Which I think is a good thing.



How should film content work with other platforms in order to remain relevant, and is there still a place for traditional film content as standalone pieces?

I think film will always be relevant and will always be part of the mix – a lot of digital and social media platforms depend on film and spread film. Film always creeps in at the end. Now you can put longer length commercials on Instagram so… there you go.


What sort of work are you anticipating to see at the Palais this year?

Lots of work with people crying. Ok, just joking. But I think there will be a flood of very earnest and serious stuff, work that tackles social issues. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound cynical, and I am very happy that brands pay more and more attention to social issues, that they want to do things “for the good”, but I’m not so sure that they all have to do it the same way, or go for the same stories.

Also, I see a lot of work that feels quite exploitative and emotionally dishonest: it seems like some agencies are using tears and sparse piano music to win awards.


How do you see the future of the Film category?

The buzzword was ‘branded content’ for a few years, now it seems to be ‘VR’. I’m not sure either of those two have been completely cracked yet. It would be great to see more good branded content coming to life and it is very exciting to see where VR can go.

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