Brooklyn Film Festival Offers 'Lessons' for Discussing Its Films Without Offending Anyone
The Brooklyn Film Festival cheekily promises "Something to Offend Everyone" at its 25th edition, running IRL and online June 3-12.
Oh my, how will patrons ever discuss what they've seen on screen without unduly upsetting friends, family and colleagues? Never fear, agency MullenLowe New York and director Randy Krallman created spoof human-resources training videos, ostensibly to guide and nurture respectful, level-headed conversations. For some strange reason, misunderstandings and arguments abound across dozens of amusing clips.
In the launch film below, two white-collar-types chat in the office:
- Woman: Hello, friend, co-worker or acquaintance. I'd like to talk to you about a movie that I just saw at the Brooklyn Film Festival.
- Man: Isn't it true that they allow their filmmakers to express their creativity however they want?
- Woman: Yes.
- Man: Well then, I must warn you: I may become offended by any ideas that do not align with my own.
- Woman: Don't worry. I went to HowToTalkAboutBFF.com and learned how to share my newfound points of view appropriately.
- Man: Wait, you felt you needed training in order to not offend me? I kind of find that offensive.
BFF expands on such themes in choose-you-own-adventure-style vignettes, offering takes on book banning, global warming and the role of religion in society. The fully interactive experience is available at howtotalkaboutbff.com.
Fans can learn some important lessons. For example, social media isn't necessarily the best forum to debate explosive social issues. Who knew? They can win "course-completion" certificates and discounted festival tickets, too.
"Attendees are going to be exposed to lots of different ideas and points of view at the Brooklyn Film Festival," MullenLowe group creative directors Zack Menna and Rich Singer tell Muse. "And they're going to see a lot of stories that are going to stay with them for a long time. It's only natural that they'll want to talk about what they saw with the people in their lives. But how do you do that if the people in your life aren't as open-minded as you are? We took inspiration from HR videos because everyone's had to sit through them. It felt ripe for parody and something that we haven't seen exploited in advertising."
MullenLowe also created these striking, and kind of icky, out-of-home elements:
In the OOH, "we wanted to bring the concept to life in a way that was purely visual, embracing power and simplicity," say Menna and Singer. "We came up with a series of characters that would always be annoyed in some weird, fun way. We partnered with Foreal to define a style that wasn't anthropomorphic but still felt deeply human."
As with past BFF efforts that dealt with lockdown burnout and stories Hollywood chooses to ignore, this year's push taps into the cultural zeitgeist in cannily appealing fashion. Its satire hits the mark, making important points about free thought and reasoned discourse vs. closed minds and heated arguments.
"Every year, the festival presents films that explore certain societal issues that might be polarizing," the GCDs say. "Some just have a narrative that embraces a more nuanced look at aspects of human reality where not everything is black or white. Others offer a completely different perspective. For us, the important thing is how these films will challenge what we thought we knew, independent of our political beliefs. Whether you are to the right or left on the ideological spectrum, the festival won't leave you feeling indifferent. That's what art is supposed to do."
Client: Brooklyn Film Festival
Marco Ursino, Executive Director
Susan Mackell, Director of Development Alessandra Cronin, Production Manager
Agency: MullenLowe New York
Executive Creative Director: Ricard Valero
Group Creative Directors: Rich Singer and Zack Menna ACD, Copy: Alice Burton
Junior Art: Ayanna Wallace
Junior Copy: Christinna Oree
Head of Design: Joao Paz
Associate Design Director: Marcio Doti
Head of Strategy: Jonny Gadd
Brand Strategist: Hunter Kelly
Managing Director: Rebekah Pagis
Group Account Director: Greg Masiakos
SVP, Exec Dir of Integrated Production: Lisa Setten Senior Producer: Jacob Vogt
VP Assoc Director, Business Affairs: Maria Rougvie
VP Assoc Director, Business Affairs: Vanessa Fazio Creative Project Manager: Olivia Scala
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Randy Krallman
Executive Producers: Patrick Milling-Smith / Brian Carmody / Jaclyn Larson
Producer: Ian Blain
Director of Photography: Jeff Kim
Editor: Ben Suenaga
Color: Company 3
Colorist: Tim Masick
Color Producer: Kevin Breheny
Music, Sound Design, Mix: Yessian
Brian Yessian - Chief Creative Officer
Conform (film) Company: Method
Managing Director: Jesse Kurnit
HOP/EP: Tsiliana Jolson
Colorist: Tim Masick
Color Producer: Kevin Breheny
Flame Lead: Kieran Walsh, Margolit Steiner Jr. Flame: Mark Popham
Flame assist: Michael DeCaprio VFX Producer: Gwen Frey
Conform (microsite) Company: The Mill
Flame Lead: Patrick Dirks
Managing Director: Anastasia von Rahl Senior Producer: Dave Wein
Music Supervisor: Jonathan Hecht
Media Agency: MediaHub