A mundane video project for a commercial flooring client led advertising agency Brunner's Atlanta office to create an award-winning, documentary short. The film's unlikely subject is a design-focused non-profit program, Publicolor, New York, for at-risk inner city youths.
The original assignment was to create a 3-minute video to explain how client Tandus Centiva's flooring sales help fund Publicolor. (Other Publicolor funding comes from fiber manufacturer Antron and commercial design firm Suzanne Tick, Inc.) The cause marketing video was intended for internal use only, and was budgeted and executed, by Brunner's in-house production team, at about $70K.
Once on-site in Brooklyn, N.Y., the Atlanta-based creatives filming the video's interviews--with Publicolor president Ruth Lande Shuman and with the program's beneficiaries--were deeply affected.
The summer program uses design as a platform to impart study and life skills to troubled students. That touched home for Brunner creative director Matt Blackburn:?"Personally, art saved my life. I?was not on a good path as a young man. Hearing [Ruth Lande Shuman] describe how the little, iterative steps involved in making art, and seeing them build, can turn a troubled kid's self-confidence around, it just rang so true. I?knew we had to get this story out in a bigger way."
The creative team got the agency's go-ahead to invest about $100K in man-hours--eclipsing what the agency received for the entire paying assignment--to create a 10-minute documentary short, showing the lives touched by this unusual public service program. "Publicolor, A Documentary Film" was named "Best Documentary Short" at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards. It is also up for awards at Marché du Film, Cannes; the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards; and The Roma, CinemaDoc (not yet judged).
CD?Blackburn's hope is that the documentary "changes one life." He?also knows, "that's not up to the film." He was humbled by one of the teachers' determination in a task where success is never guaranteed. "She was so viscerally aware of how there's only so much she can do... Ultimately, it's up to the kid to find their inspiration. And that's how we left our film. It's open-ended."
Tandus Centiva, Dalton, Ga., is the U.S. commercial flooring division of Paris, France-based Tarkett (EPA:?TKTT). tandus-centiva.com
Publicolor, New York, is a long-term youth development program that engages high-risk students through a continuum of design programs that mentor them for success. publicolor.org
Brunner is a full-service integrated marketing firm agency with offices in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Clients include Bob Evans, Cub Cadet, YellaWood, ShurTech (Duck Brand), Ply Gem Holdings, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Huffy, GNC, Care USA, Mars, Philips Healthcare, and Eaton Vehicle Group. brunnerworks.com