In its 4th year, Panafest, a film festival and cultural celebration produced by the Panamanian International Film Festival in Los Angeles is scheduled for October 27th and 28th in Downtown Los Angeles. The visionaries behind the event include two long time members of the Latino advertising community. As content and storytelling move to the forefront of the industry, we asked them both to share some thoughts on how these two creative worlds intersect.
First, some background:
Yaniv Waisman is the founder of Los Angeles based Crexels, an award-winning production company that has produced hundreds of longform and short form infomercials, commercials, web and corporate videos. With an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in Film and Video, his advertising life is complemented by a passion for independent film. This led to his decision to create Los Cortos, a non-profit designed to discover and promote Latino filmmakers creating short films.
Movie goers will recognize Carlos Carrasco as Popeye from Blood In Blood Out and as Gigantor from Speed. These are just a few of the iconic roles he has played on the big screen over the years. He voiced countless spots and was the Spanish language voice of Jack in the Box for over a decade. Carlos is also a theater and film director and was Executive Director for HOLA, the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors during a critical point in the non-profits formation.
Q: What can film learn from advertising and what can advertising learn from film?
YW: I encourage filmmakers to learn marketing skills from the ad industry. They can make any film they want to – but have to keep in mind that some films are going to be more marketable than others. Also, they need to see that their short film is in fact their business card. So even in terms of their own brand, they should think about creating something that showcases what they want to be known for.
The film industry lesson for ad agencies and marketers is budget related. An independent filmmaker can do amazing things with really minimal budgets. It starts with a great story. It also helps to have a network. As they say, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. I really don’t ever see my role and censoring any film
CC: In my experience, advertising people don’t tend to know a lot about directing actors and, in general, they don’t seem to care. There is so much that happens in the casting process that makes it clear how unimportant an actor’s process is. When I do get to work with people with experience, directors who know how to talk to actors, everybody wins.
Filmmakers could learn a lot from advertising creatives when it comes to pacing. Advertising people have to edit and make specific choices. They need to cut, cut, cut because they need to tell stories in a matter of seconds. I used to produce the AHAA Ad Age Creative awards, and I really respected the winning work. It taught me a lot about the power of pacing.
Q: Why should clients and agencies consider Film or Film Festivals a way to connect with consumers? Particularly millennials?
YW: There are lots of ways for brands to benefit from indie films —everything from sponsoring festivals to running film contests with brand related themes, to engaging with young filmmakers who are hungry to tell a story. Few creative opportunities are more efficient than connecting with filmmakers early in their careers.
Part of the reason I created Los Cortos.com is because I saw an opportunity in the marketplace to connect story tellers and afford them a platform to make their stories heard. There are so many amazing short films being produced, so many storytellers who need guidance and a hub or platform of sorts to bring the films into the world. Los Cortos can serve as that connective tissue. To date, the platform has over 200 films and over 5,000 monthly page views.
CC: Latino film festivals have a particular benefit. They offer an exciting opportunity to demonstrate support for stories that are still left out of “mainstream” media. The Latino experience is vast and millennials and other young, affluent consumers are hungry for sophisticated culturally relevant content from the US and the Americas. Frankly, there are plenty of non-Latinos interested as well.
Carrasco and Waisman are working together and independently to do what Hollywood and the “mainstream” media have yet to accomplish. They are committed to contributing to the creation and distribution of stories created by Latinos about an infinite number of topics and for Latinos and those who care deeply about the Latino point-of-view.