Brooklyn Film Festival Ads Help You 'Relearn How to Be Human' After Months in Isolation

TBWA\Chiat\Day NY turns movie clips into spots

After all these weeks in isolation, some interactions we once took for granted now seem kind of strange.

For example, when you affectionately embrace someone you haven't seen in a while—that's called a hug. In case you've forgotten what a hug looks like, the clip below from TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, promoting the upcoming Brooklyn Film Festival, shows you how it's done:

How to Hug

Whoa, physical contact!

That spot features footage from Ivana Todorović's When I'm at Home, one of the films screening at the BFF, which will be held exclusively online from May 29 to June 7.

In a poignant nod to the times, the agency embraced lockdown-related production constraints and excerpted scenes from festival entries, creating ads that ostensibly help viewers "Relearn How to Be Human"—which is the campaign's theme—as they emerge from confinement.

Do you recall turning off your phone and chatting with others … say, a whole group of people, unmasked, face-to-face, in the open air? Here's a primer based on Blocks by Bridget Moloney:

Chatting Without Your Phone

"As many Americans shelter in place, a lot of human interactions can only be lived through films," agency executive creative director Ricard Valero tells Muse. "The idea is deeply rooted in the reality we're all living, but not necessarily something we're talking about. Instead of focusing on our current limitations, we wanted to highlight the moments we would be returning to. Moments we enjoy."

Such moments can include dining out among strangers and eating food prepared by someone else. That may sound like a delicious fantasy, but this clip, incorporating a scene from Rachel Harrison Gordon's Broken Bird, offers service with a smile:

The Restaurant & You

Tip generously, they could use it.

To create the nine spots breaking this week across TV and digital, the team watched all 140 BFF shortlisted films. "We had no idea what each one held, so we kept a very open mind," Valero recalls. "We looked for inspiring moments and scenes before writing scripts around our favorite situations."

Ultimately, they chose "scenes that had a strong human energy, that included diverse situations," he says. "A rich variety of cinematography was important: different sensibilities, different grains, different levels of craft."

Craving the "human energy" of live sports? Paul Hairston's Lions in the Corner informs a hard-hitting refresher course in the sweet science:

How to Be a Sports Fan

In addition to showcasing the depth and breadth of what the 23rd BFF has to offer, this year's spots feel "less precious, more raw" than typical film-festival promos, Valero says. (Though TBWA\C\D's recent riffs on women in Hollywood, the Great Depression and gimps—yes, gimps!—proved popular.)

Given current events, however, the team believes 2020's campaign packs universal appeal. "The target audience is simple: It's all of us," Valero says, "every one of us who have been home for months, and who may love a different kind of story told in a new, interesting way."

Watch the rest of the commercials below:

How to Do the Beach
Grooming Ritual
Singing in Public
The In-Person Meeting: Or the Art of Being Aligned
How to Have Dinner Parties

Also, check out some print work below:


TBWA\Chiat\Day NY
Chris Beresford-Hill, Chief Creative Officer
Ricard Valero, Executive Creative Director
Al Merry, Executive Creative Director
Ashley Veltre, Associate Creative Director
Holden Rasche, Associate Creative Director
Chris Rowson, Executive Creative Director
Robyn Makinson, Senior Designer
Alex Lumain, Senior Designer
Laura Vancil, Copywriter
Belen Aragon, Associate Art Director
John Doris, Head of Integrated Production
Chris Klein, Executive Producer
Sarah Haroldson, Integrated Producer
Pietra Cangialosi, Producer
Ekaterina Danilova, Front-End Developer/Animator
Thalia Tsouros, Director of Integrated Business Affairs
Anne Camille-Charpié, Business Affairs Manager
Nancy Reyes, President
Bruna Bechelli, Business Lead
Danielle Granderson, Business Director
Chris Butler, Business Manager
James Sowden, Chief Strategy Officer
Katelyn Saks, Senior Strategist
Bodi Karsono, Senior Strategist
Carlin Dixon, Strategist

Brooklyn Film Festival
Marco Ursino, Executive Director
Susan E. Mackell, Director of Development
Galen Bremer, Production Manager
Brian Geldin, PR Manager
Allyson Morgan, Digital Media Manager

Bridget Moloney, Director "Blocks"
Alex Bliss, Director "Journal"
Paul Hairston, Director "Lions in the Corner"
Daiva Zalnieriunas, Director "Coucou"
Jun Wang, Director "The Journey of Murder"
Ivana Todorović, Director "When I'm at Home"
Haley Geffen, Director "Hey Girl"
Garry Stewart, Director "The Circadian Cycle"
Rachel Harrison Gordon, Director "Broken Bird"

Editorial \\ MackCut
Editor: Nick Divers
Editor: Kenneth Muñoz
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
Flame Artist: Jim Hayhow

Music: Human
Executive Producer: James Dean Wells
Creative Lead: Andrew Bloch & Sloan Alexander
Composer: Gordon Minette

Audio Post: Post Human
Chief Engineer: Sloan Alexander
Assistant Engineer: Robert Suchecki

Color Grade: The Mill
Colorist: Fergus McCall
Executive Producer: Rochelle Brown
Senior Producer: Megan Rumph
Color Assists: Elias Nousiopoulos and Andrew Ceen

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