2023 is a special year for the Cannes Lions festival; we're celebrating our 70th edition. 

Originating in 1954, the initial Lion was forged to acknowledge world-class creativity in TV and cinema advertising. Now, 70 years later, the Lions honour a broad spectrum of creative disciplines from all around the globe, recognising everything from craftsmanship to creative business transformation.

This year, we've introduced the Entertainment Lions for Gaming, which notably highlights the increasing collaboration between brands and the gaming industry. It also shows a growing confidence in creativity outside of traditional channels.

The festival has always celebrated those who walk through walls to realise their vision.

We also saw a significant increase in entries across other non-traditional mediums and emerging areas. Only in its third year, the Creative Business Transformation Lions saw a 59% increase; it’s a real signal that creativity is a driving force behind successful businesses going through times of transition. The Creative Commerce Lions also increased 25% year-on-year, and Creative Strategy Lions’ entries rose by 35%. These shifts in the work being entered offer some powerful insight into the industry landscape, and how trends in creativity will continue to evolve.

The 70th edition is an opportunity to look back to the festival’s heritage, and towards the future in tandem. But it’s really about celebrating our community: the makers, the creatives, the thinkers, and doers and most importantly, the industry’s emerging talent.

Our theme this year is ‘in the making’. We know that getting to world-class creative work is hard and takes so much to deliver. The festival has always celebrated those who walk through walls to realise their vision. But we also want to recognise that people learn from the hurdles, the struggles, the blunders and the breakthroughs - creativity comes through challenge, and overcoming adversity - that’s where greatness resides.

Cannes Lions – In the Making

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Above: Creativity in the Making, Cannes Lions' new film celebrating the many hands behind the camera.

Looking forward, we’ve got to invest in emerging talent to ensure the industry’s future success. We know that as a global platform, it’s our responsibility to increase access and broaden the playing field and routes to entry, by providing young people with access to the industry, and opportunities to experience world-class creativity.

This year, we have invited over 200 individuals, including underrepresented members of our community, to experience all that the Festival has to offer. We’ve also launched the LIONS Scholarship, offering a group of young people from around the world a fully-funded place on the Cannes Lions Brand Marketers and Creative Academies, that provide opportunities to underrepresented talent.

We’ve got to invest in emerging talent to ensure the industry’s future success.

In the Cannes Lions School, rising talent across all career levels will be gaining the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make a step-change in their careers. The Young Lions competitions are the heartbeat of the Cannes Lions School and they embody a true celebration of creativity across the world, where young professionals have the opportunity to showcase their talent and achievements.

We’re also honouring the makers with the new Creative Maker of the Year award to celebrate the broad mix of creative makers who bring ideas to life. In its first year, the award is going to legendary filmmaker, screenwriter, actor and producer, Spike Lee. Lee really embodies the spirit of this award, as a maker that strives to make creative stories and show the world what they can only see in their imaginations.

Above: Spike Lee, winner of the inaugural Creative Maker of the Year award.

Over the decades, creativity has evolved beyond recognition and the festival transformed alongside it. Technology and data play an ever-greater role in the creative process, and AI is set to transform the industry at speeds few can follow with clarity. But human creativity can't be replicated or replaced.

AI is set to transform the industry at speeds few can follow with clarity, but human creativity can't be replicated or replaced.

Across the seminar stages, in the jury rooms, in workshops and awards shows, we’re looking forward to bringing everyone ‘in the making’ together in Cannes. While we want to honour what has come before, we are also prepared to address some of our most pressing current issues. Our content agenda is designed to help our community create conditions conducive to creative success. Of course, exploring the winning work across the week presents a glimpse into the future and celebrates the people behind creativity’s continual evolution.

We'll see you there.