It’s a slightly different problem from those that we handle for other brands: How do we change the face of the Newport Beach Film Festival each year, while keeping its core identity the same? 2017 marks our ninth campaign for the event, which producers organize around a different theme each year.
When RPA started working with the NBFF in 2009, people still weren’t sure how seriously to take the fledgling Newport festival. Orange County is south of L.A., in the shadow of Hollywood, and doesn’t have the inherent far-away hipness of Park City or an East-Coast neighborhood like Tribeca. To help NBFF grow, we had to earn credibility with two separate groups: the filmmakers who contribute their work, and the audiences who watch it.
Rather than using the serious, austere tone of Tribeca, we leaned in to what makes NBFF unique. We embraced the unexpected, subversive, daring and, even silly. And we created promotional shorts with the ambition of being as intriguing and artful as the festival films themselves. In fact, in 2010, our promo, “Romance,” was deemed so risqué it could only appear before adult fare. Its audacious, yet playful, tone helped NBFF start to stake out an identity on the festival circuit.
Once we positioned the festival, we had to create new themes each year that stayed true to its spirit. These themes influence everything from promotional films and key art to out-of-home and print. “I liken this brand to a gemstone,” says RPA V.P. and Creative Director Scott McDonald. “We just shave another facet into it with each year that passes.”
As we discovered, when you have a project with an ambitious client, an exciting brand and lots of artistic freedom, everyone wants to chip in. While the campaigns are creative-driven, individuals from across the agency frequently lend their unique talents to the production. The history of NBFF at RPA is one of collaboration.
Our annual campaigns have helped generate press and success for the festival. McDonald remembers when its viewership was 30,000; it has doubled since then. Adweek recently lauded the agency for its years of great work on NBFF business. Best of all, we have a grateful, supportive client who celebrates our work year after year.
Below, you’ll find some of the short films produced through the incredible creative partnership between RPA and the Newport Beach Film Festival.
“It’s a labor of love, built on passion equity…no one phones it in. To get that level of quality from marquee partners year after year speaks to the reputation of these campaigns.”
–Megan McDonnell, RPA Account Director
2017 – "GO DEEPER"
This year’s campaign was an existential call to audiences to immerse themselves in a world of untold, artful stories.
2016 – "WE'RE BEING WATCHED"
Film has the power to summarize the national mood. In a year of fear and alarm, we created “We’re Being Watched.”
2015 – "KNOW NEW ART"
2014 – "BEDTIME STORY"
We celebrated the festival’s anniversary by asking: what does fifteen years at NBFF do to the human brain?
2013 – "DENTIST"
Little particles of light can inspire visceral reactions, as we proved with a short film that NBFF could screen only in a private tent, or before other adult fare. Viewer discretion is advised.
2012 – "MUSE"
To illustrate the history of the medium, we took some of the first film images ever produced and re-created them in modern-day style.
2011 – "FILM IS HARD"
This promotional film celebrates filmmakers by giving voice to one…who directs the film as you’re watching it.
2010 – "DRAMA"
2010 – “ROMANCE”
Viewer discretion is advised.