Pam Tarr, AICP Show Chairperson/President, Squeak Pictures

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What did you think was the overall caliber of the work you saw entered in this show?

At a time when fewer commercials are being produced for less money, you would think that the range of notable work by producers would be shallow. But we found the opposite - several of the spots we honored are among the best commercials ever produced. And the depth of our submissions was good - we had a wide range of good work to pull from.

Did the work this year reflect any larger industry zeitgeist? (eg. Did the economy show in the work? Has there been a move toward racier advertising?)

Clearly the economy has affected the kind of spots we produce, as not nearly as many bigger budget projects were produced. And none of the short-format work could compete with the production level of the BMW films. The emergence of longer-format advertising has set a solid foundation for change in our industry as advertisers focus more intently on delivering messages within a wider variety of entertainment vehicles. Ads that are entertaining - Terry Tate, the Volkswagen campaign, Nike, Adidas (to name a few) - are part of that broader spectrum.

Has the level of production gotten better in any one specific genre (music, effects, cinematography, etc.)? Did you notice any interesting trends in any particular areas of production?

As the creative opportunities in postproduction continue to grow and the line between production and post becomes even more blurred, there are few important spots that don't rely heavily on the seamless incorporation of great post. It becomes increasingly difficult to delineate excellence in Visual Effects vs. Animation and sometimes Graphics and even Visual Style . With this refocus, areas such as Tabletop are more challenged so we ended up not awarding anything in that category this year. I'm sure as these areas continue to morph and develop, categories will need to be redefined to reflect new creativity.

What did you learn from chairing the show?

The producers in our industry, who have built their companies to create inimitable advertising, take deserved pride in the work that they are doing and are committed to continuing that work. I think that determinedness surprised me. At a time when many could be depressed about the future of commercial production, our community is digging in with a fierce belief in the value of our work. I was also reminded by the judges and attendees' enthusiasm that this format of honoring work, both in presentation and in the ultimate honor of curating the work for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, has become the most sought-after and prestigious honor in the business.

What distinguished the winners in the show? What were judges looking for, and how clearly were these guidelines set at the outset of judging?

Although it is always tough to ignore the impact of great creative, it is refreshing to take a look at this work from a different angle than many shows as we look at the work primarily from a production perspective. There is so much brilliant work being done in production. But a great - or not great - idea can cloud a judge's ability to see the excellence in the specific category we are judging. So we make an extreme, and I think for the most part successful, effort to keep our judges focused on the work at hand and the specific artistic achievement of the very talented people who collaborate to bring these films to life.

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