Cannes You Believe It?!
Who would’ve thought an Italian actor could pull off such a convincing French accent? In 2017, I was fortunate to be part of an ad campaign that was the top awarded comedy at the Cannes Lions, taking home three Golds and two Silvers.
This breakthrough campaign was directed by Alex Grossman and developed by Ogilvy & Mather Singapore to promote French cinema to Singaporean audiences. Playing the character of a French director, I pitched 3 films to Hollywood professionals who didn’t know they were existing French masterpieces. To see how it played out, watch the videos below.
French films tend to be character-driven, nuanced, and atmospheric–in other words, completely antithetical to Hollywood blockbusters. In one video for the campaign, I pitch a heartbreaking love story about a couple in their late 80s. “My aim is to tell the truth about dying," I tell a producer, as I describe the plot of 2012 Palme d’Or winner, Amour. "No offense to you," he replies, "but it's just not going to sell." Later, I try to bring an actress onboard to play the female lead. She looks at me with a mix of pity and concern as she gently confesses, “I don’t wanna do it, and you know what? I don’t think you should do it either.”
Needless to say, the video was a hysterical testament to what makes French film so special. Anne-Garance Primel, Executive Director of Alliance Française de Singapour, said, “We feel it conveys French cinema’s depth of scriptwriting in a fresh and humorous way. The intention is not to be, obviously, in competition with Hollywood, but to broaden audience’s horizons. We’re eager to see how this film will help to promote French cinema in Singapore and abroad and attract larger, more diverse audiences.”
I’m incredibly proud of the entire team, and especially my friend, Alex, for coming up with such an inventive and hilarious way to promote the unique value of French film. It was an honor to be part of such a successful campaign for a truly worthwhile cause. Alex, félicitations mon ami!