EVCOM Screen Awards 2017: A new order?

Moving Image sifts through the EVCOM Screen Awards winners

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What do the 2017 EVCOM Screen Awards winners tell us about shifts in the corporate film and branded content business?

The switch to BAFTA as the venue for the ceremony was part of a deliberate focus by EVCOM on the quality of the films themselves. The venue sat well with an audience who were right at home in a place that is dedicated to promoting high quality film. Quality is what makes these films stand out in the tidal wave of video online.

The Edge lead the shortlist

It was a vintage year for diversity among gold winners. It’s a competition that The Edge Picture Company have always excelled at as their films use drama and documentary to such brilliant effect. They headed the shortlist with 11 nominations, ahead of Contra (8) and Pretzel and Peggy (7), so it looked like it could be business as usual.

But the Screen Awards ceremony had surprises in store. No fewer than 16 producers won gold spread across 21 categories, and only Contra (three), Affixxius Films (two), Media Zoo (two) and Zinc Media (two) won more than one. Last year there were more production companies shortlisted but the concentration of golds was greater – eight went to The Edge.

So who won on the night?

We’ve measured who topped the rankings three ways. Evaluating winners by the quality of the awards they won, regardless of the number, puts Affixxius Films in top spot with the coveted platinum to add to their golds, one silver and a bronze. Media Zoo (two golds and a silver), HSBC (two silvers and a gold) and Zinc Media (two golds, one silver and two bronzes) also performed strongly against formidable competition.

Using the second metric, The Edge had no less than 10 projects for 10 different commissioners in the shortlist, way ahead of Contra and Pretzel and Peggy who had four each. While The Edge didn’t get all the golds they hoped for, most producers do well to get more than one project in the EVCOM shortlist. And of course The Edge won the most awards in total. When it comes to winning trophies, The Edge are still the agency to beat.

So this doesn’t necessarily represent a new world order for the corporate film industry – but there are serious challengers. Contra built on last year’s two golds and we can expect to see them develop further. Pretzel and Peggy have a growing pool of talent as well as a strong project roster, while Affixius Films have shown a London location is not required to make outstanding content. Meanwhile there’s a longer list of accomplished producers who will continue to push the boundaries, just look at the full list of winners to see their names.

Let’s hear it for regular stuff

Finally, most producers don’t make content for multiple award wins. The regular stuff, hitting deadlines and engaging with target audiences, is much more important than winning. So a silver or a bronze can be a huge achievement for projects that don’t have the budget or need for drama.

Moving Image reports on all major awards schemes for brand film. Sign up to the newsletter to keep up to date.

For an excellent analysis of the creative approaches taken by winners, see Patrick Russell’s blog for the BFI.

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