Silver Spike

Demo Film


Product / ServiceIPHONE
CategoryA01. Direction
Idea Creation TBWA\MEDIA ARTS LAB Shanghai, CHINA
Media Placement OMD Shanghai, CHINA
Production ICONOCLAST Los Angeles, USA
Post Production MPC Shanghai, CHINA


Name Company Position
Katrien De Bauw TBWA\Media Arts Lab President
Brent Anderson TBWA\Media Arts Lab Global Chief Creative Officer
Greg Greenberg TBWA\Media Arts Lab Group Creative Director
Kara Yang TBWA\Media Arts Lab Managing Director
Brian Ma TBWA\Media Arts Lab Executive Creative Director
Alfred Wong TBWA\Media Arts Lab Executive Creative Director
Ewan Yap TBWA\Media Arts Lab Associate Creative Director
Amber Qian TBWA\Media Arts Lab Associate Creative Director
Selwyn Low TBWA\Media Arts Lab Associate Creative Director
Darren Leong TBWA\Media Arts Lab Associate Creative Director
Jam Li TBWA\Media Arts Lab Senior Copywriter
Carrol Shen TBWA\Media Arts Lab Senior Art Director
Phoebe Fan TBWA\Media Arts Lab Executive Producer
Hon Foong Woo TBWA\Media Arts Lab Broadcast Producer
Gobby Yan TBWA\Media Arts Lab Broadcast Producer
Alice Zou TBWA\Media Arts Lab Assistant Producer
Brian O'Rourke TBWA\Media Arts Lab Executive Director
Cristiana Ladki Williams TBWA\Media Arts Lab Executive Producer
Felicia How TBWA\Media Arts Lab Account Director
Scarlett Wang TBWA\Media Arts Lab Account Manager
Emily Gale TBWA\Media Arts Lab Group Account Director
Josh Marcy TBWA\Media Arts Lab Music Director
Kurt Cheng TBWA\Media Arts Lab Music Supervisor
Monica Karo OMD Chief Client Officer
Jezzebel Gu OMD Managing Director

Write a short summary of what happens in the film.

Entirely shot on iPhone, the 12-minute movie ‘Nian’ is an alternative take on a Chinese New Year folklore that traditionally portrays the titular character as a terrifying monster. In this version, a curious little girl confronts her fear of the unknown by seeking out the elusive, forest-dwelling Nian to find out if he was indeed as menacing as her parents often described – a ruse to discourage her from wandering off to the forest alone. Her curiosity was rewarded when she discovers the creature was misunderstood all along. Soon a beautiful friendship ensues.

Cultural / Context information for the jury

According to Chinese New Year folklore, Nian is a ferocious beast that is often said to terrorize villages and eat children. Little is known about the creature which makes it fearsome in people’s imagination for centuries. This fear of the unknown is an innate human insight carried through time which intensified in 2020, a year full of uncertainties. In our story, our protagonist acts on her curiosity by confronting her fear of the unknown in seeking out the truth about ‘Nian’, whose name also means ‘year’ in Chinese. As a symbolic gesture towards another challenging year, we reimagined his character as a beacon of goodness to spread positive cheer and encourage people to explore new horizons with courage.

Tell the jury anything relevant about the direction. Do not name the director.

The fear of the unknown is a central theme layered within different elements of the plot. The flexibility of shooting entirely on iPhone allowed the director to get intimate with our characters and the world around them to construct realistic visual and emotional manifestations of the theme. From the monster’s mistrust in humans and the sinister aura of his cave to the protagonist’s parents’ disapproval of her curiosity about the monster and their humble abode shrouded in dim lights – all coming together to form a consistent visual language that envelops the audience into developing empathy for the story and its characters.


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