The death of the manifesto, and other takeaways from the Film Lions

After reviewing more than 1,800 submissions, shortlisting 171 (just four of which were Canadian), and awarding 49 Lions (none of which were Canadian), Cannes Film jury president Bruno Bertelli, global chief creative officer of Publicis Worldwide, said he detected three distinct trends.

“One is definitely the death of big manifesto film,” he said. There is a much greater emphasis on product and product benefits. “And the tendency is really to focus on conversion. Most of the clients I work for, don’t have an awareness issue, but all of them [have a] conversion issue,” he said.

The jury awarded work that was “really really good at selling,” he added. “We wanted to prove that we’re still here and we’re very good at selling.”

The second big trend was the return of short format. Most of the Golds were :30s, and some of the judges’ favourite work was 15-second vertical video, said Bertelli. “Online film doesn’t mean like two- or three-minutes, actually short formats were much more effective.”

The third trend, one heard multiple times this week from other jury presidents, was the return of humour. “As you know, humour—when you are part of a jury that has to watch 2,000 pieces—it is quite essential to survive,” he joked. “But also it is a great tool to sell.”

The jury picked two Grand Prix winners, one of which, “Relax, It’s iPhone—RIP Leon” by Apple, met the three trends outlined by Bertelli: 30-seconds, humour, and a product feature.


The other Grand Prix was the opposite: A heartbreaking 90-second film about suicide prevention. Created by Adam&EveDDB for ITV and the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), “The Last Photo” shows scenes of people singing, laughing, dancing, joking with friends and family, but in each instance the clips are the last videos of people who took their own lives.

”Sometimes it’s just about the insight,” said Bertelli. “It’s editing existing material, but the insight is so powerful, so strong, that nothing else is needed… It’s a beautiful artistic piece of film.”

David Brown