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Young Lions film-makers create ‘fresh’ work in 24 hours

by | Jun 24, 2019

Proving that great creativity can sometimes be fueled by tight deadlines, the three finalists in the Cannes Young Lions Film contest impressed with innovative – and varied – approaches

The Young Lions film contest is always one of the most eagerly-anticipated in a series of competitions aimed at creatives who are under 30, because the results require the least explanation. If any of the films dreamt up in just 24 hours by the 38 competing teams leave viewers wondering what’s going on, they’re probably not working – and a raft of explanatory notes isn’t going to cut it. As predicted, there were some great entries this year – and some big laughs, too…

Young Lions Film Competition

The brief (provided by WWF):

“We need to develop a film that will clearly explain the current state of our planet, the nature of crisis and climate catastrophe, but that gives hope that nature can and will restore itself if people take action now. We want to create a message that would cut through on a very simple, human level to make the case for action. We want to encourage public discussion to put pressure on leaders for positive change.”

There’s more to it than that, as you’ll see in the full Film brief if you want a proper look.

The judges for this contest were: Fran Luckin, Chief Creative Officer at Grey, Hanna Stenwell, Copywriter at NORD DDB, and Sebastian Arrechedera, Creative Chairman at AC mcgarrybowen Mexico City.

Bronze: Team Canada

“It’s time for us to respond to our planet,” said Team Canada. “We’re the last generation that can.” Their film was built around images associated with climate change, each of which had a small red ‘notification’ alert on it. The idea – that we need to “respond” to this – was intriguing, and the video was well-made, shareable and likely to resonate with a young audience.

Team members: Michael Romaniuk from Zulu Alpha Kilo and Thomas Zukowski at TrackDDB

Silver: Team Italy

A remarkable approach from the Italians saw them come at the brief from a completely new angle.

Recognising that common climate change issues like deforestation and global warming were easy to dismiss by many, they honed in on something else that was threatened by climate change: beer. “Drought and heat caused by climate change are killing barley, a key ingredient of beer,” their ad told us. “If we don’t take action… beer will be extinct.”

The jury praised this work for taking an unexpected angle with their work, linking beer and the WWF was not an obvious route.

Team members: Riccardo Stazione and Giulia Ricciardi, both from D’Adda, Lorenzini, Vigorelli, BBDO

Gold: Team Ukraine

The biggest laugh of the Young Lions competitions so far (in a good way!) came from Team Ukraine, whose film showed a dancing loon of man getting jiggy with trees, bushes, rocks and any other bit of nature that he could find. He was sold as “Nature Lover”, and followed by footage of a more sedate man billed as “True Nature Lover” who was lying on a bench and tapping a web address (voicefortheplanet.org) into his laptop.

Simple, powerful and really, really funny. Another surprising angle on the brief.

Team members: Vitalii Kapustian and Illia Yankovsky, both of BBDO Ukraine.

Chief Creative Officer at Grey, Hanna Stenwell, Copywriter at NORD DDB observed about all the film work that getting the right combination is like making a great meal – you need all the ingredients from sound, to pace, to the images and the words to come together as one.

This jury also echoed others when they said that a Cannes Lions Entry, Young Lion or any other, should literally punch you in the face!


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