Silver Spike

Demo Film


Product / ServiceIPHONE
CategoryA08. Achievement in Production
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 about the ambitions & challenges of production process.

Weeks before the shoot, the director and cinematographer were denied entry into China due to COVID-19 travel disruptions. Remote shooting was the only option. However, filming a 12-minute movie across two continents came with challenges. Imagine 131 shots, 15-hour time difference and the uncertainty of 4K video streaming smoothly. To address the scale of the production, we mirrored each of the director’s team member in LA with a counterpart in China to perform the necessary functions on ground – from directing to cinematography to make-up and rehearsal supervision. While the physical distance was inevitable, reducing the virtual distance proved critical. To recreate the experience of being on-ground, the team cast a life-size projection of the location onto the walls in their LA control room for the director to direct her cast and crew as though she’s physically interacting with them.


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