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Cannes Young Lion Winning Film

Eoin Tierney, copywriter at Boys+Girls talks about winning the Cannes Young Lions Film competition and the making of the final cinema ad.

Last week marked the launch of our Cannes Young Lion-winning film – and the end of almost eleven months of work.

I first teamed up with Paul Kinsella, an art director in The Public House, back in February 2019, to enter the IAPI Cannes Young Lion competition in the film category. The brief was for INAR, a charity tackling the problem of racism in Ireland, which is incredibly somehow on the rise. They’d developed the iReport app, an innovative way to report racism whenever people see it.

When we broke down the brief, what jumped out was that racism is an invisible problem in Irish society: 5 out of 6 racist incidents go reported. This gave us our idea: by reporting racism, you make the invisible become visible.

The brief called for a cinema ad, which presents a different set of constraints to a normal TV ad. We had an enormous screen and booming speakers at our disposal, not to mention a captive audience in a dark room, and wanted to play with the sensory nature of cinema for our film. So we confronted the audience with a blank screen, then played the accounts of real-life victims of racist abuse over it, to show the invisible problem of racism. The film then built to a wall of viral racist videos, to give the full picture of racism in Irish society.

We were delighted to learn we’d been shortlisted, then felt like imposters when we found out we won. Once we got back from Cannes after representing Ireland in the Cannes Young Lions international competition in the film category (clang!), the making of our film really started to heat up.

Paul and Eoin at Cannes with other Cannes Young Lion Ireland winners.

We asked Richie Smyth to come on as director. Richie was amazing at building relationships with the victims of racism in order to capture their stories. It was vital that we used real found footage for the wall of racist videos, and Max Brady, along with her team at Pull the Trigger, were instrumental in clearing the clips – not an easy task!

Paul and Eoin at the Cannes Young Lion Winners Showcase presenting their winning film.

See the final film here:

We learnt an enormous amount over the course of making our film, and everyone was incredibly giving of their time. In particular we want to thank Laurence, Sarah, Kris, Mark, Rory, Udi and Patrick at Boys+Girls for their help; Max, Richie, and everyone at Pull the Trigger; Screen Scene, Windmill Lane, IAPI, Wide Eye Media, and not forgetting our charity INAR for trusting in our idea. 

Eoin Tierney is a Copywriter at Boys+Girls.