Women in Film: How to Win a Film Lion

By Nathania Gilson As a young filmmaker, I am often looking for advice and inspiration from every possible source, and trying to find new and viable ways in which to broadcast my work to an audience that will appreciate and connect with the work that I spend a large part of my life creating.

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is different to the official Film Festival in that it is focussed on communications, being responsible for bringing to light some of the most innovative forms of print, radio, film, multimedia and interactive campaigns across the globe such as the ‘Wilderness Downtown’ project made in collaboration with the Arcade Fire and Google, Nike’s ‘Write the Future’ campaign, and the loveable Old Spice commercials from 2010.

Considered the biggest communications event of the year, more than 28,000 entries from around the world are showcased and judged in competition for various categories that change every year in accordance to the ever-evolving nature of the industry.

People who have visited and lead seminars during the festival include names such as Mark Zuckerberg, Yoko Ono, James Murdoch and Patti Smith.

The Cannes Lions are admirable in that they are committed to recognizing and nurturing young talent in the industry: students, young creatives, emerging talent, directors. They strive to inspire, educate and develop the talent that the industry is essentially built on.

So how exactly does one get themselves involved in this wonderful festival?

I recently came across this terrific video from a past president at the Cannes Film Lions Jury, Mark Tutssel on how high to set your standards if you’ve got your eyes set on the Grand Prix for the Film category. He gives some excellent advice on how to set your standards high and encourages us to think outside the box to get noticed:

Although Mark gives advice here within the context of films being produced to represent and communicate the ideas and values of brands, I think a lot of his advice can be applied to other areas of film practise, and this insight into what the judges are actually looking for is invaluable.

For more information on the Cannes Lions festival, please visit the official website. If you’re interested in travelling to the event, there are discounted rates for people under 30 or students who are currently enrolled in full-time study which are definitely worth looking into. Get inspired by past entries or judges, have a look at what categories you can enter and how, and learn more about the festival and what they do.

Remember: festivals are a great initiative to create work to a deadline and try out an idea you’ve had tucked away in a corner of your brain for a while, but that shouldn’t deter you from giving it a go in your spare time with a group of supportive friends on a spare weekend or day off in the name of fun and trying something different. The irony of genius and good ideas is that they happen, more often than not, when you least expect them to.

Have fun, stay inspired and dream big!

Nathania Gilson is a young filmmaker living in Melbourne, Australia. She has spent the last three years working on a number of short films, music videos and documentaries. Her side projects involve curating content for independent publications, adventuring and maintaining the ability to function on minimal sleep. She is excited about the future.