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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Laugh, cry and admire the five best commercials of the year from the British Arrows Awards.

Like almost everything else, the annual British Arrows Awards screening at the Walker Art Center went virtual last year. And instead of focusing on one year, the program presented a carefully curated collection of award-winning clips from Arrows’ more than four years of history.

Strela is back in full force this year with a selection of 48 commercials that have made a huge impact. The 74-minute program runs through January 9 in person at Walker and is also available for virtual viewing.

Given that ads are more impossible to get rid of than ever, it might seem odd that people would pay to view them. But this is not your run-of-the-mill advertisement. Some feature Hollywood stars and huge budgets, others are just smart ideas, embodied to perfection. Expect to laugh, cry with joy, and gasp with horror. And for many, Strely metro is an annual holiday tradition. In 2019, Walker sold over 31,000 tickets for 95 personal views, which is similar to the number it attracted in previous seasons.

Here are five highlights of this year’s program. (And don’t worry, we won’t ruin awesome winning ads.)

Taika Waititi “Can’t Be Left Behind”

New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi has been active in the industry for over two decades, but only in recent years has gained widespread recognition through the co-production of What We Do in the Shadows (film and subsequent TV show) and Reservation Dogs, and also directed Thor: Ragnarok “and” Jojo Bunny “and has played Korg in a number of Marvel films. It turns out he also shot dozens of commercials, including this one for Pepsi Max. This is a silly story about two extremely thirsty astronauts who reunite the stars of “Ant-Man” Paul Rudd and Michael Pen. (Waititi later filmed a Christmas ad for Pepsi’s rival Coca-Cola.)

Daniel Salles and Paulo Garcia “Bitter Connection”

Filmed for the 1966 Oscar-winning song “Born Free,” this computer-generated animated video tells a touching story of a lion born and raised in captivity in seemingly ideal conditions. But halfway through, when we see a full-grown lion running towards the woman who raised him, we quickly realize that the animal’s life was not what it seemed. It was produced by the Born Free Foundation, a UK-based wildlife conservation and protection organization.

“Book of Dreams” by Stink Films

It is impossible not to smile at this stunning ad from the British retailer Argos. A father looks through Argos’ Christmas catalog and sees his little daughter circling around a miniature drum kit. Through the magic of the holidays, Dad finds himself playing a drum kit, and his humble home turns into an arena full of screaming fans and teddy bears diving from the stage. At one point, his daughter joins in drumming to the Simple Minds classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. The daughter is played by eleven-year-old British musician Nandi Bushell. In August, she rose to fame after joining the Foo Fighters on stage and playing drums on Everlong’s incendiary take. Impressed Dave Grohl called her “the coolest drummer in the world” and did not lie.

Wayne McClummy’s “Not Everything Decides”

Amazon had success with this which aired during the Super Bowl. They hired actors Harrison Ford and Forest Whitaker, astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly, and Broad City stars Abby Jacobson and Ilana Glazer for a music video that pokes fun at Amazon’s virtual assistant Alex. Oh, and they also licensed Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen for the final joke. It’s full of surprises, including a cute barking dog that manages to steal the scene from the guy who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

Spike Jonze “I think I should, mmm”

Idris Elba, People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Lived 2018, co-stars with British comedian Lolly Adefop in a music video designed to showcase how easy it is to create a website with Squarespace. It quickly turns into a fun roast of Idris Elba from Adefope. Oscar-winning director Spike Jones has always been known for his visual flair and comic tone, whether in his feature films (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Beasts, She) or music videos (Buddy Holly, Weather. “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, “Flashing Lights” by Kanye West) or commercials (Ikea, Nike, Levi’s).

British Arrows Awards 2021

  • When: December 3 – Jan nine
  • Where: Walker Arts Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls.
  • Tickets: $ 15 ($ 12 for Walker members, students, and senior citizens). Each ticket includes free access to the gallery and a 20 percent discount at the Walker Shop.
  • More information: 612-375-7600 or walkerart.org
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