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Francisco Condorelli on Why Craft Matters

Ciclope Festival Director speaks to LBB about why the global production industry needs to give itself a big pat on the back

Francisco Condorelli on Why Craft Matters


Francisco Condorelli is about to go home. He’s been in London for three months, holding meetings and drumming up support for Ciclope, an international advertising festival totally devoted to craft.  Now in its third year, the Buenos Aires-based event has grown substantially. Entries shot up by 30 per cent between 2010 and 2011 and Condorelli is expecting entries to grow by another 40 per cent this year. With the call for entries still open and three months to go until the opening night, he is heading back to Argentina to oversee the final organisational touches.
Condorelli decided to make craft the focus of Ciclope because despite the plethora of festivals that celebrate the best of adland, there was no international event devoted to the production process. “I felt there was a void,” he explains. “It’s quite crazy. The whole industry has some form of recognition, but the production element, which is so important to the finished product, had no acknowledgment at all.”
According to Condorelli, this lack of recognition could potentially be damaging to the advertising industry as a whole. “When producers don’t defend their work, quality suffers. You get clients from agencies who only think about quotes and budgets but not quality.”
However, while the production process may seem opaque to some of those working on the agency side of the industry, Condorelli argues that this issue can be easily remedied. As ever, the answer is communication. “They [clients and agencies] don’t understand the process, because they don’t have to. Their business is to sell shoes or cars, not to worry about craft. That’s why production and post-production companies need to involve the client in the process – and that’s why we involve clients in our festival. When they understand how much time, money and effort it takes to make great work, then agencies and producers can work better together.”
“Many production companies were scared about taking the agencies in and showing them the kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be like that,” he continues. “If you have two cups of coffee and one costs £3 and one costs 50p, I would want to know if they both use different coffee, sugar, and milk. Some people would say that both cups are exactly the same, but are they? The key is information.”
But in an age where technology has made it easier than ever for any punter with a camera to create film, does craft really matter? Condorelli argues that it does. 
“There are now thousands more would-befilmmakers. My uncle can make an ad, you know? But this creates an environment that demands more from filmmakers, they must have high standards. The only way for a brand to be ahead of the pack is if the commercials are well crafted,” he says. “A video of a cat shot on a telephone will get millions of views on YouTube but if you craft something in a sensitive manner, people will share it.”
While craft is the USP for Ciclope, another key feature of the festival is its international nature. In order to prevent the event becoming a niche affair there has been a conscious effort among the organisers to ensure a good mix of nationalities among the jurors and entries. What’s more, with a combination of well-known names like Stink’s Daniel Bergman and Traktor’s Richard Ulfvengren and speakers from booming markets, like Roopak Saluja of Bang Bang Films in Mumbai, Condorelli hopes that the festival will bring together established and emerging markets.
South American speakers and jurors also feature and while they do not dominate the schedule the festival will allow delegates to get to know the local industry. This year sees the launch of a Latin American version of the Young Director Award, created in collaboration with the CFP-E’s Francois Chilot. Moreover in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, all eyes have been on the London industry and Condorelli suspects that a similar interest in the Brazilian and Argentinian advertising scenes is likely to develop as the region prepares for Rio 2016. “There is a lot of activity happening already because of the Olympics and all of the production companies and agencies know that they need to find out what’s going on in that part of the world. I think that this is one of the reasons that people are attending Ciclope this year.”
As Condorelli heads back to Buenos Aires to oversee entries and organise content, he has a lot ahead of him before the festival opens on November 5… but that’s nothing compared to the work over the coming four years as interest in the Rio 2016 Olympics and the wider South American industry grows. For now he looks forward to seeing the work arriving from production companies all over the world and he hopes that, if nothing else, the festival will help establish a culture within production companies and post houses of celebration, enabling these areas of the industry to take pride in their achievements. Ciclope will, he believes, provide a stage for all those hardworking craftsmen and women to show off. 
“My job is basically dealing with people and I enjoy that,” he enthuses. “I meet people from different markets and I spend the whole year travelling. It’s exciting, because you see different cultures and perspectives… there’s a lot of passion in this industry.”
Ciclope Festival will take place between November 5th and 8th. For more information about the call for entries, go here.
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