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Kerstin Emhoff: The Last Year “Reinforces My Love of All the Great Producers in Our Business”


The Cannes Lions Film Craft Lions jury president and founder and CEO of Prettybird speaks to LBB’s Addison Capper about judging two years worth of work in one, how different lockdowns around the world impacted film craft differently and a general proudness for the film craft industry

Kerstin Emhoff: The Last Year “Reinforces My Love of All the Great Producers in Our Business”
Everything was impacted by the pandemic but, in our industry at least, perhaps nothing more so than film craft. By its very nature, the production of a film requires a crew to make everything that you do and don’t see in the final film happen. You need locations that need travelling to. Equipment, a cast, an ensemble of artists to work their magic in post production. Naturally, the type of work entered into the Film Craft Lions at this year’s Cannes Lions may look a little different to usual. UGC, for example, was hugely prevalent in the earliest days of the pandemic. What’s more, different countries all across the world dealt with and were impacted by Covid-19 more or less than others. 

LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with Film Craft jury president and Prettybird founder and CEO Kerstin Emhoff to find out how she is gearing herself and her jury up for the challenge.

LBB> After a year and a half of Covid-19, why does the business and creative world need award shows?

Kerstin> Ha! We love our awards right? I honestly feel that we are all craving award shows this year more than ever. Look at what we did last year.  It’s incredible. We never shut down.  The business and creative of advertising rallied in a way that was really inspiring. Award shows bring us together as an industry and I think that’s not only celebrating what we did, but collectively giving each other a hug. I’m so proud watching all of this work.  

LBB> You’ll be awarding 2020 and 2021 Lions – I know the years are being judged separately but it must be super illuminating to see the comparison between pre-Covid and Covid work. I know it’s still in the pre-judging phase, but have you noticed any trends or has it given you any new perspective on how the industry has changed?

Kerstin> Yes, I’ve been very surprised that the difference is not as noticeable as you would expect. Remember, this pandemic affected different countries in different ways at different times. In California we were seriously locked down for almost a year. We shot the first live action spot in the state in July of last year. It was incredibly difficult. Australia on the other hand, was shooting huge productions quite early on because of their containment measures. Europe opened and closed repeatedly but we were shooting there when the US was completely shut down. There was some very, very good work done last year and that reinforces my love of all the great producers in our business.  

LBB> Film craft was HUGELY influenced by the pandemic, with lots and lots of UGC, found footage, etc. from 2020. How will you be judging this work in the jury room? Does it require extra thought than just the case of it being a well made piece of film? 

Kerstin> You are forgetting that film craft is actually 13 categories! UGC content may be not winning in cinematography but editing, sound, music, there are so many categories where craft can shine. Also, you will see that there were some great spots done that we all needed to see as our world was shutting down. The creativity that went into comforting, reassuring, inspiring and connecting to a global audience of humans who had their world turned upside down is remarkable.  


LBB> A very good point regarding the categories! Covid-19 aside, what are the other big factors that have been influencing the film craft industry in your opinion?

Kerstin> I think the film craft industry is amazing right now. For Cannes Lions we see traditional advertising, branded content and music videos. You can’t get a better snapshot of the best work done in craft anywhere else. I’m very excited by the longer form premium content being made by brands, top agencies and production companies. We’ve grown a lot in understanding that audiences will watch work that is entertaining and well made even if it’s branded. 


LBB> This has been a year that has seen the industry chuck out all of the rule books, so in some ways, this year’s Cannes Lions is a launchpad for the future – how does that frame how you’ll be looking at the work? Does it give the juries an extra responsibility?

Kerstin> Hmmmm. I’m not sure how to answer this question. The industry did chuck out many of the rule books last year. We worked remote, we collaborated differently, we scaled down when we needed to, we focused on the health and wellbeing of our crews and employees when we rarely thought much about that in the past. How we create and produce things will definitely change in the future. I'm excited to see how that can make us all better and more efficient. That doesn’t change how we look at the work at all. We are looking for the best just as we would have every other year.

LBB> What advice will you be giving the jury?

Kerstin> I’ve already given the advice that my friend PJ Pereira gave to me. Look for what you love first. Then look at how the craft has made it better. We will not be awarding a bad idea with a good colour correct right? This will be our mantra.

LBB> Cannes is also a time of celebration. What will you be celebrating this year?

Kerstin> I’m celebrating the little things. Having dinner with friends. Travelling. Going to an actual meeting. Looking back at how far we’ve come from last March. We have a lot to be grateful for and proud of.

LBB> What do you hope to see at Cannes 2022? 

Kerstin> I’m so excited for Cannes 2022! I can’t tell you how many times someone said to me in the last year, “don’t you wish we were in Cannes right now?” For all the chaos, there are so many little things that make this festival so special. I’m proud to be in the first (hopefully only) online jury president group, but I’m really looking forward to being back in the Palais!

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PRETTYBIRD US, Wed, 09 Jun 2021 15:22:48 GMT