CINDY NEWS: What’s so Special?
What’s so special about the Special CINDY Awards? First, we must explain a little about the CINDY Awards in general.
The Cinema in Industry (CINDY) Awards began two years after the founding of the Industry Film Production Association in Los Angeles. This fledgling professional association, primarily made up of aerospace filmmakers in Southern California, wanted something to elevate their status within the larger film production industry. What better way than to introduce a film festival judged by their peers? In 1959, the first CINDY Awards specifically designed for the non-theatrical market were presented.
Non-theatrical is a broad arena of production work that trains and explains as well as entertains. It can be found in a wide variety of applications from museum exhibits and training environments to consumer product rollouts and business meetings. Many successful Hollywood directors and cinematographers began their careers in the non-theatrical market, and it seemed only fitting that The CINDY Awards should honor them at the very beginning of their careers.
In the early days, many future Hollywood legends would start their careers by working in the industrial film arena. Renowned directors George Stevens, John Ford, William Wyler, and John Huston found themselves taking a break from features in Hollywood to make 16mm training and public relations films supporting the war effort during WWII. Later, Robert Altman would begin his career in Kansas City at The Calvin Companies, one of the largest “industrial” film producers of the 1950’s. He worked first as a cameraman and later as a director, making training and educational films. At least two of the projects he worked on received some of the earliest CINDY Awards.
The 1960’s brought advances not only in 16mm film, but filmstrips, audio, Super-8 sound cartridges, and slide media as well. By the 1970’s, video arrived on the scene and video cameras became smaller. In the 1980’s, multi-image presentations were in wide use, video was exploding, and the first interactive programming was born. In the following 25 years, the rate of change ramped up even more. The curve measuring the means for gathering, editing, and delivering media went totally vertical. Today, the survivors left standing are the ones who adapted and changed. One of these is the CINDY Awards.
The success of the CINDY’s is simple. Although the platforms and technology for gathering, mixing, and delivering media are always changing, the talent to properly blend words, sounds, and imagery into persuasive audience messages always will remain constant and paramount. Today, the CINDY Awards accept a variety of programming from various delivery platforms in a wide-range of subject matter categories. The dividing line between non-theatrical and everything else no longer exists. Entertainment is presented both in the theater and direct to your home. Training and educational content is available across the web and from the cloud. All are available anytime, on any device, including your old-fashioned television set. And it’s all delivered in crisp and colorful HD.
In addition to the regular CINDY Awards, we have instituted several Special Award categories. The reason these awards are so “special” is they recognize those select productions that exhibit an extremely high degree of proficiency in a particular skill or in the choice of the subject matter. Overall, the entire program may not rate receiving a CINDY gold award with a 10 on the judging scale, but it may contain a production element that, in itself, is a standout and warrants its own 10-plus rating.
Because of the need for more talent to create content in this vast media-producing universe, it has become even more critical to focus on these specialists and the skillsets required in very specific areas. The Markee 2.0 Production Music Award is the latest to join our five existing Special CINDY Awards. This award honors a producer who effectively utilizes stock library production music to further enhance the production and also honors a particular library source providing the music that helped in capturing the award. Markee 2.0’s support in presenting this new award emphasizes the importance they and the CINDY Awards place on these contract producers and the vital role the production music community plays in supporting their efforts.
In 2014, the very first Stock Production Music Use award went to Warner/Chappell Production Music. The agency was The Vault and their client/sponsor CBS. The :30 TV promo entitled Starts Here introduces a new season of Thursday Night Football. The Warner/Chappell winning track This Night is Ours is from their Non-Stop Producers Series catalog.
The Vault is a full-service creative advertising, production, and post-production agency based in New York. The Vault crew included Creative Director Jon Paley, Executive Producer Sally Kapsalis, Account Director Josh Weissglass, Producer Stephanie Mueller, and Editor Miles Trahan. Warner/Chappell Production Music is a worldwide leader within the production and custom music industry with 35 years of experience and success.
In addition to Markee 2.0’s lengthy past coverage of broadcast commercials and theatrical production work, they also have covered the non-theatrical side of the media business. Many markets outside of Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York have been featured. Unlike the “Big Three,” where there is little crossover in the role you play in a particular production, both technical personnel and talent in smaller markets may work in a commercial, feature, or training piece all in the same month. These folks start out their careers as “generalists” not “specialists.”
The Special CINDY Awards program began in the late 1980’s with our John Cleese Comedy Award. The Cleese Award is named for one of the originators of the Monty Python series, who—in addition to his theatrical work—was also involved in the production of a variety of very successful business training films utilizing his particular style of humor. The award celebrates the use of humor in conveying the intended message.
Humor is a difficult element to make a part of an effective piece. To use humor well, you must know your audience and what they deem to be funny. Humor is only effective if done extremely well. Good humor attracts and holds the attention of the viewer while badly done humor can easily lose the viewer and doom the entire production. Writing, editing, direction, the skills of the actors or voice over characters, all may contribute to a successful John Cleese Special Award winner.
Our 2014 John Cleese Comedy Award recipient is a perfect example. Superfan is a :30 spot created for Netflix, by Ignition Creative, that stars Ricky Gervais. In the spot, Gervais (himself a star of the Netflix original series Derek,) makes unexpected guest appearances as though he were a character on such Netflix shows as Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards and Lillehammer. “You know when you’re watching your favorite Netflix show,” Gervais addresses the viewer, “after five straight episodes, you want to be in it!”
The Robert Townsend Social Issues Award was established in the 1990’s. It’s named for the producer of a number of television series and films, including the landmark feature Hollywood Shuffle. Cleveland-native Robert Townsend always has been interested in social change. The Townsend Award recognizes a single production or program series focusing on a specific social issue. The emotional impact the program has on the viewer is paramount for it to be deserving of the Townsend Award.
Last year’s winner was March on Washington, a museum installation video at the Center for Civil and Human Rights/Atlanta. Produced by Batwin + Robin Productions Inc. located in New York City, the wide-screen show is a tribute to a celebratory moment in the American civil rights movement. Through the elegant use of soundtrack, stock footage, and stills, the viewer is transported back 50 years to a landmark moment in American history.
Our Wolfgang Bayer Cinematography Award honors the work of the cinematographer. The job of the cinematographer is to capture images that move the audience, pushing them forward to accept the message and to take the action that is intended.
Perhaps second only to small children, wildlife cinematographer Bayer worked with some of the most difficult of actors—animals. Based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., for many decades, Wolfgang Bayer was a prolific wildlife cinematographer who produced many award winning educational films. A vast amount of his archival footage was instrumental in the initial establishment of the Animal Planet brand.
The Western New York Public Broadcasting Association received the Special CINDY for cinematography in 2014. The WNED-TV PBS affiliate’s video, If Our Water Could Talk, explores the restoration of the area’s regional waterways to make them viable again for recreational use. The powerful message of this video is conveyed even more effectively through its exceptional camera work.
To find out about the other Special CINDY Awards, more CINDY history, and how to enter our next event in September, visit www.cindys.com.