Cannes Corporates entry: what you need to know

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We’ve looked before at how well UK producers compete in international brand video awards. With the Cannes Corporate and Media TV awards open for entry, it’s a good time to see how Brits compete on the Cote d’Azur.

Cannes Festival Director Alexander Kammel is in no doubt. ‘Participants from the UK are highly represented at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards,’ he told us. ‘Not just in the production categories, but also in the overall awards.’

The stats tell their own story. In recent years, between 15% and 20% of UK entries have been winners. Production Company of the Year was won by The Edge Picture Company in 2016 and RD Content in 2019, while the Grand Prix for best film went to Media Zoo/Santander for ‘Losing Mr Renton’ in 2018 and Malcolm Green/Maersk for ‘Heart of Trade‘ in 2017.

‘Productions from the UK differentiate from other submissions especially in terms of narrative storytelling. They use fiction film techniques to coat the whole story in memorable images that sell their message,’ added Alexander Kammel. This is especially true with series like The Inside Man by Twist & Shout, which turns training into box set entertainment.

So how do you win one?  

Last year’s Grand Prix winner was ‘The Blue Way next exit‘, a big budget film by Cinecore of Stuttgart for Drees & Sommer that also picked up two Gold and two Black Dolphins.

It’s an impressive film with high production values that resonate with Drees & Sommer’s 50th anniversary. But you don’t need a huge budget to win a Grand Prix.

The power of an idea with impeccable execution can win over judges. ‘Losing Mr Renton’ could not be simpler: audio is a recording of a phone call, underlaid with original documentary video. But its power silenced around 350 boisterous film professionals at the Cannes ceremony in an all too rare screening.

Production standards of most entries is high, wherever they come from, so strong storytelling matters if you want to stand out. Your characters and narrative need to be authentic and compelling to shine among 800-1,000 entries, an average of about 20 per category.

Entering – a quick guide

In terms of content, UK entrants favour internal comms/HR/learning/safety. Brand values films and digital campaigns have proliferated in recent years.

UK producers mostly enter A. Corporate Films and Videos  and C. Corporate Online Media. There are new categories this year so you’ll find one that suits among the 24 options in the two groups.

If you’ve done sponsored broadcast documentaries, it’s worth considering category B. Documentaries and Reports (TV, Online, Cinema). Films posted or aired since 1st January 2019 qualify for entry in all categories, a generous time frame.

The Grand Prix is awarded the White Dolphin while production company of the year gets the Blue Dolphin. Gold, Silver and Finalist Certificates are awarded in the film categories. Black Dolphins go to Production Arts & Crafts winners.

Whatever the colour, they all look good on the awards shelf in your office.