Puma's "After Hours Athlete," a poignant, moody spot featuring night owls in the throes of evening fun and created out of Droga 5, New York, earned the Film Craft Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The film jury crowned the winner not for one particular aspect of its production, but for the sum of its expertly executed parts.
What it is: The commercial, directed by Smuggler's Ringan Ledwidge, celebrates a new kind of athlete and features vignettes of young people experiencing the thrill of victory and agony of defeat of "after-hours" sports, from bowling and foosball to pool and karaoke. The spot, devoid of the typical jukebox track that would accompany such activities, features instead an uplifting, symphonic score created by Woodwork Music's Phil Kay, with voice-over by Urge Overkill vocalist/guitarist Nash Kato, that together give a nostalgic tinge to each scene. The commercial also features photography by Ben Seresin, editing by Spotwelders' Rich Orrick, sound design by Elias Arts and postproduction out of The Mill.
Why it won: Jury President Keith Rose explained: "It's effortlessly done yet carries a lot of impact and emotion. It wasn't one particular craft. It was made up of a flawless number of parts that became a total. It wasn't run by maybe one big technique that became the overall winner. This was incredible casting, great lighting, great editing, great soundtrack, really good voice-over. The sum of the parts became the total. It's just the ultimate filmmaking craft done at its simplest best."
Controversy, or clear winner? Mr. Rose said the decision to award Puma was unanimous.
Other standouts: Other Gold Lion winners were Nike's "Write the Future" from Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innarritu and produced out of Independent Films, London, and Anonymous Content; Heineken's "The Entrance," directed by Sonny London's Fredrik Bond, also from Wieden, Amsterdam; Chrysler's "Born of Fire" Super Bowl spot, by Wieden, Portland, Ore., directed by Serial Pictures' Sam Bayer; Drill Tokyo's "Xylophone" for NTT Docomo, directed by Seiichi Ishikawa and produced out of Engine Plus/Drawing and Manual Tokyo; Loducca Sao Paulo's "Balloon" spot for MTV, directed by Duldicio Caldeira out of Paranoid Brazil; "Above Everything Else" for Silestone, a direct-client piece created by Alex Roman, Madrid; and "Train," an Indian Railways corporate film created out of Ogilvy Mumbai and directed by Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films.
Total Lions: 12 Gold Lions went to the above eight spots; 17 Silver and 24 Bronze were also awarded.
The jury: Mr. Rose, director and founding partner of South Africa's Velocity Films, led a 10-person jury made up of a mix of production and creative executives, including Landia director Andy Fogwill, of Argentina; Indian director Prasoon Pandey of Corcoise Films; Naoki Ito, co-founder and creative director of Tokyo and New York agency Party; and Brian Carmody, co-founder and managing partner of Smuggler, whose company produced the Grand Prix winner (Carmody did not participate in the vote for the award).
Trends observed: Gone are the days of blatant big production value. "I think there is postproduction value evident in all the work, it's just not as obviously in your face as it was before," Mr. Rose said. "It's kind of buried and hidden. And production values seem to have gone into the craft of the filmmaking. One particular spot, [for] Chrysler, launched during the Super Bowl, was very devoid of any kind of postproduction, and again, it's the ultimate craftsman's piece." Mr. Rose also noted that the "biggest change is that the 30-second format seems to be dead and gone." Shorter spots were scarce, while the jury saw an abundance of longer pieces, some even lasting 30 to 40 minutes.