November 12th, 2014

Now in its 5th year, the 2014 Ciclope Festival continues to grow as the only international festival fully dedicated to the craft in moving image. Over 700 attendees convened in Berlin for two-days packed full of networking events, and inspiring talks headlined by Academy Award nominated director Roman Coppola. The Ciclope awards ceremony closed the festival by honoring the very best executions of the year, including three gold awards for Mill projects: Nike 'Hypervenom' (VFX), Wayne the Stegosaurus (Motion Graphics) & The Fableists ‘Epic Thread’ (2D).

The annual creative festival serves as a platform for directors, creatives, producers and clients to share knowledge and be inspired by top artistic talent in the industry. The event attracts key industry names both on stage and on the jury from the UK, US, Australia, Germany and wider Europe, including acclaimed director Ringan Ledwidge of Rattling Stick, Partizan founder Georges Bermann, JWT New York ECD Sarah Barclay, Founding Partner and COO Europe at B-Reel Johannes Ahlund, and many more.


The conference talks and events held throughout the two-day festival focused on inspiring attendees, celebrating the value of craft, and discussing the impact of emerging trends and technologies on the industry.

Live Interview with Roman Coppola

The festival was headlined by Academy Award nominated director, and Founder & Owner of The Director's Bureau Roman Coppola. The distinguished director spoke of his early video projects, which included working with artists such as Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim and Phoenix. He focused on the idea that music videos should be a celebration of festive ideas and stories, and not just tailor to song lyrics. The audience was given a glimpse into the creative workings of Coppola’s early work, including his first ever video pitch to 70s rockers Kiss in their hotel room.

Coppola shared how he is inspired by his collaborations with such greats as Wes Anderson and working with his cousin Jason Schwartzman, including the trailer he created for The New Yorker App with Schwartzman.

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These days he is inundated with offers and ideas on a day to day basis, leading him to develop a points system to aid him in choosing which projects to get involved with. The aim is to only work on jobs with a score of six or higher. His methods include: adding points for creative merit and ability to contribute significantly to the script, subtracting points if the project shoots outside of his approved city list or consists of a weak creative idea.

Roman Coppola's points system for choosing projects @ciclopefestival #MillLDN

A photo posted by millchannel (@millchannel) on

Concept Design with Mill+

Mill+ art director Jimmy Kiddell also took to the stage to discuss concept design with director Markus Walter of Academy Films on a panel moderated by Pablo Bach of Liga 01. The panel explaineded how early stage concept design is a quick and flexible way for creatives to figure out  the visual language of a film and to help clients visualize ideas pre-production.

Jimmy shared, "Concept art is a tool for creating visual anchor points. It's often the case that a creative meeting generates lots of discussion and agreement, yet each person leaves the meeting with different images in their head. Concept art then allows those discussion points to be explored, shared and then anchored down so that everyone commits to the same target."

The panel also discussed issues like handling jobs with the right level of sensitivity. For example, The Mill had to ensure a balance between scientific visuals and more appealing, illustrated language, but still credible for the subject matter when visualising cancer cells for Cancer Research UK's 'One Day'.

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The Blurred Lines of Branded Content

'The Blurred Lines of Branded Content' was moderated by Steve Davies, Chief Executive at the Advertising Producers Association in the UK, and featured a panel of pioneering producers exploring the convergence -or not- of TV commercials and branded content.

The panel discussed the new formats of content being produced by brands beyond the television screen, including PRADA's short film "CASTELLO CAVALCANTI" by Wes Anderson starring Jason Schwartzman. Davies summed up the panel - and the essence of the festival - with the comment, "There is not good film without a good idea, but a good idea without excellence in the art of craft does not make a great film."

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The Ciclope Awards curates a collection of the very best of the year in more than 20 categories divided into five sections: Live Action, Animation, Sound, Digital and Special Section. With over 800 submissions this year to evaluate based on aspects related to the art and technique of their category, the jury selected 50+ entries for the coveted Ciclope Award.

The Mill and Mill+ team picked up three gold awards:

Nike "Hypervenom", a fast paced tribute to Brazil's deceptively quick footed Neymar Jr, took a gold in Visual Effects.

Mill+'s "Epic Thread" for The Fableists, the colourful story of one girl's quest to discover the origins of her t-shirt's loose thread, was honoured with a gold in 2D Animation. [Go Behind the Work with  Mill+ animation directors.]

Mill+'s "Wayne the Stegosaurus", a sweet visual narrative about a lovable dinosaur with a very, very tiny brain, received a gold for Motion Graphics. [Go Behind the Work with co-director Aran Quinn]

Congratulations to all the winners, it was a great night in Berlin!