Today is the last day to submit entries to the Creative Review Annual 2014 - our showcase of the finest visual communications work of the year.
The Annual is CR’s major awards scheme and highlights the best work in advertising, design, illustration and digital from the past 12 months.
Entries are judged by a panel of industry experts and winning submissions will be featured in a special double issue, published in May.
At 230 pages, last year’s issue was CR’s biggest ever and featured projects from Asia, Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. Winners included Spin, Magpie, Hat-Trick, AKQA, BBH, Google Creative Lab and R/GA to name just a few.
Tom Hingston has directed the video for David Bowie’s latest track, I’d Rather Be High. The four-minute film features more than 100 clips of archived wartime footage and typographic details throughout…
It's the first music video Tom Hingston has directed and the fourth Bowie promo production company Black Dog Films has worked on this year. It has a strong anti-war message, says Hingston, and juxtaposes scenes of conflict and escapism.
The video opens with scenes of soldiers marching, their guns pointing skywards, before cutting to footage of young men and women dancing as words such as 'gossip' and 'drink' flash up on the screen. As the film progresses, cuts become quicker and these scenes of joy, interspersed with shots of Bowie singing, become almost dizzying. The men and women pictures are laughing, joking and dancing but their happiness is short-lived - in between, we see war planes flying overhead, men running into battle and in one scene, a young couple dancing in gas masks.
“We wanted it to feel like a found relic, discovered, as if from another time,” says Hingston. “In early conversations, Mr Bowie and I discussed exploring archival footage that brought to life another side of war - footage that featured soldiers celebrating; young servicemen and women, in moments of jubilation and euphoria - drinking, dancing and partying…these moments of total euphoria, juxtaposed with extreme violence, serve as a powerful reminder of the futility of war," he explains.
Keen to pay tribute to those who shot the original footage, Hingston says the film is "a testament to all of those fearless cameramen who captured those moments...in my mind, this film is the work of over 100 filmmakers."
Along with a team of researchers, he spent six weeks trawling the internet, film libraries and television archives to find material for the video. “It was a pretty extensive research period – we searched all sorts of archives to find some real gems, often watching 45-minute films to find just four or five perfect seconds,” he adds.
The quick edits, flashes and after effects are designed to create a sense of “cognitive dissonance," says Hingston, where memories are present "but not wholly visible.”
“Constant flares and flashes, take the viewer into a place that is neither past, nor fully present - disoriented, yet hopefully compelled to understand more about the plight of those they are watching," he adds.
The typographic detail references old newsreel footage, which often opened with a piece of type. “Rather than every line, we chose to reference a few key words – it helps to punctuate the visuals," says Hingston.
It's an impressive debut from Hingston and one that offers a compelling but troubling look at 20th century history.
Credits Director: Tom Hingston Producer: Jacob Swan Hyam Exec producer: Svana Gisla Production: Black Dog Films Editors: Amanda James @ Final Cut And Owen Oppenheimer @ The Quarry Production and clearing assistant: Stephanie Werrell-Smyth Archive researchers: Sara Garcia Andersson, Matt Bowron, Jess Waterhouse Grading/VFX: Markus Lehtonen & Yusuke Murakami @Tom Hingston Studio Additional online: Electric Theatre Collective Conform: Unit Post
The Creative Review Annual is our showcase of the finest work of the year in visual communications. There's still time to enter: the deadline for this year's competition is December 10
Spin/Unit Editions' Lubalin book was Best in Book winner in last year's CR Annual
The Creative Review Annual is our major awards scheme, highlighting stand-out work from around the world. Each year, our panel of industry experts chooses the work that they feel represents the best of the year across advertising, design, digital and music videos, for publication in our special double issue of Creative Review in May.
4Creative was our Advertising Agency of the Year for 2013
Last year, among the studios and agencies featured were AKQA, BBH, Spin, Magpie, Party, R/GA, Google Creative Lab, DDB, Wieden + Kennedy, Hat-Trick, Turner Duckworth, KesselsKramer, Pentagram and Why Not Associates to name just a few.
Featured work came from the UK, US, Brazil, Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Canada, Australia, China and France.
Work is ordered not by category but according to the month in which it was launched
Our judges this year are:
Lesley Allan Client director, Radley Yeldar
Garry Blackburn Creative partner, Rose
Ben Christie Creative partner and founder, Magpie Studio David Eveleigh-Evans Principal, Method
Matt Gooden Executive creative director, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
Caz Hildebrand Creative partner, Here
Louisa James Senior digital strategist, Jamie Oliver
David Kolbusz Deputy ECD, BBH
Marc Kremers Digital creative director, Future Corp
Jim Thornton Creative director, VCCP
Claire Warner Creative director, Browns
Full details on how to enter your work into th CR Annual here
The cover of last year's CR Annual was created by Morag Myerscough whose work featured heavily inside
Dance companies are increasingly recognising that film can be an excellent way of promoting their work to new audiences. The National Ballet of Canada has just released this new film via YouTube, which features dancer Heather Ogden showing off her skills against a dramatic backdrop....
The three-minute film is set to the unexpected soundtrack of Leonard Cohen performing the song Avalanche, and instead of Ogden being dressed in traditional ballet garb, she wears striking red. The film is directed by Ben Shirinian and choreographed by Guillaume Côté, who starred as the principal dancer in a previous short film for the National Ballet of Canada, also directed by Shirinian and shown below, that was a huge online success last year.
Both films are intended to reflect the intense emotions that dancers feel when going on stage. Whereas the original Lost In Motion short attempted to express the isolation that dancers can feel before going out to dance, and was a pared-back film focusing on Côté's performance, Lost In Motion II is a more lavish affair, showing Ogden dancing dramatically on a cliff edge.
“It’s about showcasing a universal take on where any artist retreats to in their mind when they expose themselves and their work,” says Shirinian on the concept behind the film. “I wanted to create a setting that truly embodied and visually represented feelings of vulnerability, loneliness, danger, and beauty all at once. Guillaume and I came up with the physical environment of a lonely, eroding cliff top in the sky surrounded by looming, full, dark, clouds and prominent wind, rain, thunder and lighting, to represent the inner turmoil and feelings experienced by an artist.”
The National Ballet of Canada is not the only dance company that has been experimenting with dance on film recently. To commemorate the recent 9/11 anniversary, New York City Ballet released New Beginnings, shown below, a film shot at sunrise on the 57th floor of 4WTC in lower Manhattan.
This interest in using film to promote dance could perhaps be traced back to the blockbuster movie Black Swan, which used ballet as an integral way of expressing the drama, and craziness, of the film's storyline. In that movie, director Darren Aronofsky and choreographer Benjamin Millepied used close-up camera angles to take viewers right next to the dancers and show off the extreme athleticism that is at the heart of their work. It all seemed quite a long way from the yearly visit to the ballet to see The Nutcracker at Christmastime.
Appropriately enough then, Millepied has in fact also given The Nutcracker a bit of a modern makeover in a recent ad for Bailey's that was directed by Ringan Ledwidge and created by BBH London. Shown below, it again uses the camera to take us right into the action, and even gives the Nutcracker story an unexpected twist at the end to make it more appropriate for the brand.
As this recent Guardian article pointed out, dance seems to be having something of a moment in advertising. Millepied has also just signed to Rattling Stick production company (with his multi-media company Amoveo working with Rattling Stuff, the production company's content division), so through him it seems likely that we might see more dance popping up in work for brands.
These shorts for the ballet companies seem to have a slightly different agenda, however: to show that far from being an elitist medium only available to those who can afford the often-expensive tickets, ballet and modern dance have something to offer everyone. Judging by the YouTube viewing figures for these films, this message is getting through.
Credits for Lost In Motion II: Director: Ben Shirinian Choreographer: Guillaume Côté Dancer: Heather Ogden Production company: Krystal Levy Pictures, AnyMotion VFX: Crush Produced in association with Bravo!FACT and The National Ballet of Canada
The December issue of Creative Review shares a spine with our Photography Annual 2013. In addition to 80 pages of the best photographic work produced in the past year, we have features on the enduring appeal of ad characters, Richard Turley and Bloomberg Businessweek, Hatch Show Print, and profiles of filmmaker Andrew Telling and photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten...
The December issue of Creative Review is available to buy direct from us here. Better yet, subscribe to make sure that you never miss out on a copy – you'll save money, too. Details here.
At 204 pages, the combined December issue/Photography Annual is one of our biggest to date. And being a special issue, it's available with three different covers, each featuring an image from one of our Annual Best in Book winners.
Shown above is Amira, shot by Spencer Murphy as part of a campaign for Save the Children; while below are the other versions featuring Ya Yun, photographed by Tim Flach; and Nala from Julia Fullerton-Batten's Blind project.
Here are a couple of spreads from the Photography Annual side:
Julia Fullerton-Batten's Best in Book spread
Pip's series The Freerunner
And Jonas Jungblut's image, King Monkey and the Infinite Sunshine
In the regular issue we take a look at Anthony Burrill's new pull-out-poster book, I Like It. What Is It?
Eliza Williams gets her head around the hi-jinks that bookmaker Paddy Power and its ad agency have been producing...
... and she also looks at the enduring appealing of 'characters' in advertising, from Martians to monkeys.
Mark Sinclair talks to Richard Turley, creative director of Bloomberg Businessweek, about his team's radical design of the US magazine – and how they regular 'breaks' Helvetica in the process.
Cover Lesson looks at some of the theories on creating the perfect mag cover which emerged from The Modern Magazine conference – featuring BBW, The Gentlewoman, Eye, Apartamento and more.
Rachel Steven talks to Andrew Telling, a filmmaker and composer who makes documentaries and writes scores for brands and visual artists.
And Antonia Wilson meets photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten, creator of images that blend fact and fiction to beautiful effect.
In Crit, Rick Poynor looks at a new book on The Art of Collage...
... while Mark Sinclair reports back from The Modern Magazine conference.
Gordon Comstock applauds the work – and portfolio presentation skills – of creative team, Jacob & Jim.
While Paul Belford looks at a surreal – not to mention deadly – campaign for B&H from 1985; and Daniel Benneworth-Gray stresses the importance of designing to music and how the two disciplines share underlying languages of repetition, colour and shape.
Finally, in this month's subscriber-only Monograph, we feature some of the results of a collaboration between CIA illustrators, agency AMV BBDO and the V&A Museum of Childhood – where illustrators were paired with children, aged between three and 12, to interpret their vision of tomorrow.
The December issue of Creative Review is available to buy direct from us here. Better yet, subscribe to make sure that you never miss out on a copy – you'll save money too. Details here.
In a wildly controversial move, we are eschewing our usual Ad of the Week feature this week, in favour of a Music Video of the Week. The chosen promo is Pharrell Williams' interactive website for the track Happy, which serves as a kind of 24-hour music video clock...
The website is at 24hoursofhappy.com and is created by French directing team We Are From LA and produced by Iconoclast. On visiting the site, you join the clock at whatever the local time is. You can then check out different times of day and different scenes, all set to the sounds of Happy, which continues playing seamlessly throughout. Shot in different settings around the world, the footage features people dancing to the track: Pharrell pops up on the hour every hour, and there are cameos from other famous folks including Tyler, The Creator, Magic Johnson and Jamie Foxx.
The website allows you to share particular moments with friends via Facebook or Twitter. This is a useful feature as, let's face it, not even the most ardent Pharrell fan is likely to watch the full 24 hours in its entirety. At least not while still liking the song.
With this site, and the new Bob Dylan video for Like A Rolling Stone, it's been a great week for innovation in music videos, hence our decision to favour a promo rather than an ad this week. Fear not though, normal Ad of the Week service will resume next Friday.
We tend to think of interactive music videos as a clever way to lure audiences into listening to a new track. But as this excellent new promo for Bob Dylan's classic song Like A Rolling Stone shows, they can be a great showcase for old music too...
Like A Rolling Stone didn't have a music video to promote it when it first came out in 1965, so this serves as its first promo, and its release coincides with the launch of Dylan's The Complete Album Collection Volume 1, a boxed set of 35 studio titles.
The video, which can be watched here, is set up like a mini TV screen, with users invited to flick through the channels using their computer's up and down keys. The shows featured are littered with stars of US reality TV or gameshows – Drew Carey from The Price Is Right is up there, alongside Jonathan and Drew Scott of Property Brothers and the characters from Pawn Stars on the History Channel. The twist is that while they all look like they are taking part in their normal shows, they are in fact mouthing along to the lyrics of Like A Rolling Stone, not matter how incongruous the setting. The trailer below gives you a hint of how it looks:
The video features 16 different channels, so the experience of watching it varies with every viewing. The charm of the project lies both in the surprising appearances by the TV stars and in its seamless production, with viewers able to shift between the channels with none of the usual buffering or slowness that can often hamper the experience of playing with interactive videos. The video is directed by Vania Heymann and is hosted by Interlude, a new patented technology platform; in many ways it serves as a showcase for the platform's capabilities.
Interlude partnered with Pulse Films and Walter Pictures to create the films, and the plan is to keep adding to the content so that the video continues to change over the coming weeks. To play with the full video, go to bobdylan.com.
Tired of watching Christmas ads? Then watch these great new music videos instead.
Our first video of this round-up is for All I Know by Washed Out. Directed by Daniel Kragh Jabobsen, it's a road trip film, following two young men, one of whom is trying to get over a bad break up. The duo record their adventures on a handy cam, before things take an unexpected turn. Production company: Bloack Dog Films.
Next up is Shane Meadows' film for Jake Bugg track Slumville Surprise, which is a crime caper based around a guy, played brilliantly by Bugg, stealing an engagement ring for his girlfriend. Comedy mayhem ensues. Production company: Warp Films.
Andrew Thomas Huang, who recently picked up the Best New Director gong at the UK MVAs, directed this excellent video for Atoms For Peace track Before Your Very Eyes. The video mixes live footage with stop frame and CG techniques to show Thom Yorke as you've never seen him before. Production company: Colonel Blimp.
Mill+ director Carl Addy created this video for Wheel by We Are Shining by creating hundreds of gif sequences from stills and video material that represents the band's "influences and inspirations". The result is a bonkers psychedelic trip of a promo.
For the new video for Fatboy Slim, Riva Starr & Beardyman track Eat Sleep Rave Repeat (remixed by Calvin Harris), director Mark Waites (of Mother ad agency fame) set up an endurance dance marathon at a location in east London and filmed the results. Production company: Good Egg.
Party in Japan has directed this promo for Life Is Music by Sour. The video features 189 spinning discs, which are animated to create the video using the 'Phenakistoscope effect'. Each of the discs are now for sale at lifeismusic.jp (each one is unique). The production budget of the video was crowdfunded using the sites Green Funding in Japan and Kickstarter in the US.
We finish with a video that features rough-and-ready drawn animation, but looks brilliant. It is directed by Ewen Farr and is for Quelle Chris track Super Fuck – as the name of the song suggests, it is also a teensy bit rude.
New band Woman's Hour has been working with artist Oliver Chanarin to create a distinctive look across the band's artwork and videos...
Woman's Hour, who are originally from Kendal, but now based in London, consists of brother and sister Fiona Jane and Will Burgess, alongside drummer Josh Hunnisett and bassist Nick Graves. Fiona has worked with Chanarin (and also Adam Broomberg, Chanarin's regular collaborator) to develop the band's look, which they describe as being inspired by "a mutual love of didactic images".
"Images that explain things," they say, "how to resuscitate a dying man, or put a chain on your chihuahua, or fall over without hurting yourself. These are images made with a certain purpose, but they can be very beautiful too. Accidently beautiful, which is what we like about them."
"All the artwork derives from instruction manuals," they continue. "The image that you see on the cover of Darkest Place [shown top] is taken from a first aid manual that we bought in a book market. It shows a young man with a hand reaching into the frame and pressing down on his neck. It looks aggressive, but in fact the image is demonstrating how to stop bleeding from a main artery. this kind of ambiguity is intrinsic to the overall style of the band's artwork. We definitely want to create something that is recognisable as belonging to Woman's Hour, but it's something that is evolving with each new release."
Chanarin and Bloomberg are known for their use of found photography and imagery in their art projects, and some of the images used in Woman's Hour's art come directly from the duo's archives. "The falling man on the cover of the To The End 7" (above) came from a Czech police manual we found in Prague over a decade ago," says Chanarin. "Our recent publication Holy Bible includes over 500 vernacular images from the Archive of Modern Conflict; and we also made a book called People in Trouble Laughing Pushed to the Ground that incorporates archival images from the Troubles in Northern Ireland. So the visual language that you see with Woman's Hour is closely related to our practice. Adam and I collaborated with the band on their new video. It's all in the family."
The video, for Darkest Place, is shown above. Chanarin describes it as a homage to the 1971 performance Pryings by Vito Acconci (which can be viewed online here). "In our remake of this seminal piece of performance art, Fiona attempts to sing the lyrics of Darkest Place while having her eyes prised open," he says. "It's horrible to watch, simultaneously violent and strangely tender."
More info on Woman's Hour can be found on the band's Facebook page, here. More on Oliver Chanarin and Adam Bloomberg's work is at choppedliver.info.
If MTV's annual music video awards show is a celebration of the promo as a vehicle for star power, the UK MVAs are all about honoring it as an art form, as the winners at last night's award ceremony amply proved.
The ceremony was held in London's South Bank, and saw industry figures fly in from all over the world to find out who had picked up this year's coveted gongs. While other music video awards tend to focus on the musicians, the UK MVAs give due recognition to the directors, production companies, producers and commissioners who create the films. The event is consequently an industry must, and the night had an enjoyably competitive air as host Adam Buxton unveiled this year's winners.
Director Khalil Joseph picked up the big award of the night, the Music Video of the Year, for his haunting film Until The Quiet Comes for Flying Lotus, shown above. The video, which was produced by What Matters Most and commissioned by Warp Films, also picked up the Best Alternative Video – International award.
The certain winners for audience enthusiasm on the night were a group of production company folks from France, mainly from Division Paris and Iconoclast, who loudly greeted any nomination from their directors with whoops and cheers. By halfway through, we at CR, who were sat near them, had pretty much become French ourselves, such was the power of their excitement. And this was no bad thing, as many awards were gathered by the French contingent, including Best Dance Video – International won by directors Fleur & Manu from Division Paris for their video for Pursuit by Gesaffelstein, shown above. The video also won in the visual effects category.
Other French winners included:
Best Pop Video – UK by Alex Courtès (Division Paris) for Willy Moon, Yeah Yeah.
Best Rock/Indie Video – International by Megaforce (Iconoclast) for Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Sacrilege. This video also picked up the best editing gong.
Best Alternative Video – Budget by Fleur & Manu (Division Paris) for Connan Mockasin's Faking Jazz Together.
Best Styling in a Video by Division Paris for Earthquake by DJ Fresh vs. Diplo (feat. Dominque Young Unique), directed by Jonas & Francois.
Other standout winners for CR on the night included:
Josh Cole's video for Not Giving In by Rudimental (feat. John Newman and Alex Clare) won the Best Dance Video – UK award. CR has covered Josh Cole's photography and film a lot over the years, most recently in May. This video is produced by OB Management and Rokkit.
Bison's video for London Grammar's Wasting My Young Years won Best Alternative Video – UK. Production company is A+, Academy.
Ian & Cooper won Best Urban Video – UK for Back To Me by Joel Compass. Production company: Prettybird.
Zaiba Jabbar won Best Pop Video – Budget for Who Am I? by Tiny Dancer. Production company: Partizan.
Ola Martin Fjeld won Best Dance Video – Budget for Call Me by Pixel. Production company: Filmfaktisk.
Stevie Russell won Best Rock/Indie Video – Budget for All I Want by Kodaline. Production company: Tidal.
Lamar + Nik won Best Urban Video – Budget for their video for Magnolia by Lushlife.
Canada won the Best Art Direction and Design award for Trying To Be Cool for Phoenix. Production company: Partizan, Canada.
Tom Jobbins won Best Animation for his video for We Can Be Ghosts Now by Hiatus (ft. Shura). Production company: Film Club @ Th1ng.
The inaugural Best Interactive Video award went to Amsterdam-based design studio Moniker for their brilliant video Do Not Touch, created for the song Kilo by Light Light. You can play with the video here.
As well as the awards for videos, the UK MVAs gave out a clutch of gongs for individual contributions to the industry over the last year. These include Best Director to Megaforce; Best New Director to Andrew Thomas Huang; Best Producer to Liz Kessler; and Best Commissioner to Dan Curwin.
Finally, there was the annual Icon Award, which provided one of the 'wow' moments of the night. The recipient this year was Julien Temple, recognised for his huge contribution across music video, film and documentary. Temple not only received an email from David Bowie that was read out on the night, but also a live appearance by Ray Davies, who gave the award to the director, describing him as his "old cohort and conspirator". Temple himself, while clearly pleased at the honour, remarked "I like to think I'm an iconoclast, it's a bit of a bummer being an icon". He also suggested that one of his videos, for heavy metal band Accept, which featured in a round-up of clips of his work shown at the event, had provided inspiration for Miley Cyrus's notorious Wrecking Ball video, directed by Terry Richardson. We've included it below, we'll let you decide...
What is clear from this year's list of winners is that it's been another very strong year in promos. Music videos often seem surrounded by bad news stories, particularly of ever-shrinking budgets. But the skill and artistry on show in the winners (and nominees) at this year's awards, plus the evident passion shown by the audience, demonstrates that promos continue to be one of the most creative and influential art forms we have – long may this continue.
To view a list of all of this year's UK MVA winners, and find out more about the awards, go to ukmva.com.