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By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

June 22, 2022 | 3 min read

An emotionally-charged film spotlighting the ways in which the pandemic has robbed young people of foundational life experiences won big at Cannes Lions yesterday.

Among more than 1,700 entries in the category, the Film Craft Lions Grand Prix, awarded for the best onscreen work, has been won by Serviceplan Germany Munich for a film created for discount supermarket chain Penny in November. The award represents the first Film Craft Lions Grand Prix win for Germany at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The three-and-a-half-minute spot, directed by Marcus Ibanez, cinematically expresses a mother’s grief at the lost experiences her son has suffered at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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In the film, entitled ‘The Wish,’ viewers see the son join his mother in the kitchen for a late-night snack. “Can’t sleep either?,” he asks her. “No,” she replies. When he asks what she wants for Christmas, a look of masked heartache crosses her face. “I wish you wouldn’t hang out at home all the time,” she says. “That you’d sneak out at night…and we wouldn’t know where you were. I wish your dad would have to pick you up because you drank way too much.”

As she goes on, explaining how desperately she wishes he would let his schoolwork fall to the wayside, tell his crush that he loves her, throw a party, get his heart broken and live his life more fully, the viewer gets glimpses of what this would-be life might look like. The scenes are charged with an underlying sadness, as the pandemic has stolen these foundational teenage experiences from him and for many young people like him.

Closing text on the screen reads, “During the pandemic, you’ve missed out on many experiences. We want to give you back a piece of your youth…” So the retailer launched a program to give away 5,000 one-of-a-kind experiences to young people impacted by the pandemic.

The campaign was an instant hit. Within a week of its launch, it garnered 4m organic views on YouTube. That number has now reached more than 17.4m. “The film really struck a chord with viewers in Germany and around the world, because of the way it so sensitively treats the effect the Covid-19 pandemic had on young people,” Serviceplan Group’s global chief creative officer Alexander Schill said in March when the spot snagged a handful of awards from the Deutsche Werbefimakademie. “This is proof that great craft and a sensitive narrative can transcend advertising and stir the emotions.”

The Film Craft Lions jury is confident in its decision. Jury president and cofounder and global chief executive at Smuggler USA Patrick Milling-Smith said Tuesday, "We awarded the Grand Prix to a film that is almost a throwback to classic filmmaking and had to be so perfectly crafted on every level to truly resonate and work. In the wrong hands a film like this could have been lost to over sentimentality, or victim to a few false notes, but it is in fact perfectly complete and the obvious work of a filmmaker in utter command of his craft."

The Cannes Lions Festival is back after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. It will run through June 24.

Check out all the big winners at Cannes this year.

Creativity Agency

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