|Impressions of New York Festivals
The Festivals (or, fully, "New York Festivals, Film and Video") are organized as follows: there are about ten categories, each containing several nominations. This year, more than 2,000 projects were sent in from 64 countries. We submitted our work to one of the most difficult categories: "PR, Corporate Image". We made it to the finals, among five participants in our nomination.
One could form a judgment on the level and the nature of films while viewing the projects participating in the finals for various categories. Here are some observations.
The first thing to catch one's eye is the hugely prevailing share of "socially-oriented" projects. Films about a hospice for hopeless cases, elephantiasis patients in Africa, children's leg prostheses, a chronicle of a dying drug addict… No doubt, all these reflect actual lives of actual people, and cannot fail to move. But six out of 17 films of that sort being selected for finals and for viewing is, in my opinion, an evident concession to political correctness. All six films were awarded medals in their respective categories ("Education", "Corporate PR", "Medicine", etc.). Often a film like this would be a report on humanitarian activity by a bank or some other entity. That is why such projects can also be considered "corporate films".
Other films really belonged to the presentation genre. Sales-films for Porsche and Mercedes SLR cars stood out by their tremendously high price. In point of fact, these were just up-to-ten-minute-long commercials. All very beautiful, all very predictable. "Wr-r-r-o-o-om" - flies away the car, along the road and behind the hills, and a lonely leaf falls on the ground. The camera flies into the air intake, all through the engine, and out via the exhaust pipe. It is, to be sure, no new word in graphics, but very well done.
There was an entertaining Chevrolet film. Beautiful photography; the car is described by a renowned photography. He speaks of it as if it were a capricious movie star.
One film was really brilliant: it was a presentation of Volvo excavators, entitled "Titans of the Earth". Very much in style of BBC Wildlife programs, but starring excavators instead of dinosaurs. A "male" excavator goes for a walk, digs the ground looking for food, has a fight with another excavator, meets a "female" excavator. Then they mate - the climax moment - the "male" drives his caterpillars over the "female" from behind, she sets her head/bucket against the ground, then the "male" starts swinging smoothly back and forth. The audience was ecstatic. Then the two excavators were building their nest together: some sort of a small trench with a low wall around it. The sounds they made also were dinosaur-like; they growled. All of this was video shooting, no graphics. In total, not a single word uttered on technical parameters, but it becomes quite evident how many are different things these machines can do, how dexterously and precisely they move, and how reliable they are (during the fight, the "males" would strike rather hard blows with their buckets). Wonderful. As a result, a silver award in our own "PR: Corporate Image" nomination. The golden one was given to a "social" film.
Another interesting film was made on diver's watches. It was a "sales" category film. A lot of interesting photography: fishes, divers themselves, bubbles… At moments, the camera would "fly inside" the watches, making us feel as if we were on the clock dial. The second hand passes above; and overhead, through the sapphire glass, one can see the flares, the blue water, the little fishes. A very high-quality digital graphics.
Another finalist was a mysterious film from Finland. It goes on for some five minutes, showing various world famous events alternating with some people's home snapshots. Now and then (apparently, in order to make it less boring; but boring it was all the same), the video would transform into a "pseudo-cartoon", then switch back to video. One could only guess what was the matter. it turned out to be an image film of a Finnish newspaper, title unpronounceable.
In summary, if we are to leave "socially valuable" films out of consideration, it turns out that the Festivals appreciate the following: Interesting Ideas, Interesting Stories, High-Quality Graphics, and High-Quality Photography. In this order.
It is remarkable that not a single film (apart from ours) had a significant informational component. Films would not inform of anything; instead, they tried to entertain, to surprise, to provoke emotions about the product in question. It was a difficult task, and, in my opinion, not many finalists could successfully accomplish it.
CEO, Mercator Group
Projects of the following Studios were mentioned in this article: Gehrisch & Krack, Smile Audiovisual, Futurecom Intercative, Unisys Corporation, Klaus Kuster Werbeagentur, Mercator.
New York Festivals, the world's largest contest for professionals in the field of advertisement, marketing, PR, and TV journalism, has been carried out for 44 years. The number of New York Festivals permanent participants increases every year; currently, projects from 64 countries have been submitted for competition.
The New York Festivals board of judges includes recognized leaders of advertisement business. The Festivals competition is considered by professionals to be not only one of the most prestigious, but also the most unbiased one in the domain of judging.
In 2004, only one project from Russia was selected for the finals.
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