Rahul Sachitanand
Feb 23, 2021

'Here today, gone tomorrow' wins Young Spikes film gold

Chiemi Manako, copywriter with Dentsu, and Hirotaka Endoh, director with Jamboree, tell us about their gold-winning film about overfishing.

'Here today, gone tomorrow' wins Young Spikes film gold

Three billion people rely on fish for their primary source of animal protein, but we are overfishing about half of all fisheries in the world. Climate change is causing oceans to heat up and acidify, shifting fish populations. This directly impacts the livelihoods of fishing communities when the source of their income shifts to another region.

We love our seafood—but how can we ensure that it continues to be featured in our dishes for many years to come? Young filmmakers and executives were challenged to think about devising together a film on this subject 

This was the challenge facing participants in the Young Spikes film competition in 2021. And, after looking at work from 60 teams, the judges decided that despite the high calibre of submissions, these pieces stood out for their quality of work and approach to the subject for Conservation International (CI). 

Award Film title Team 
Gold  Here today, gone tomorrow Chiemi, Manako and Hirotaka Endoh 
Silver  The usual seafood Sorrasak Thummakosol and Botthawan Theeratrakul
Bronze  Eyes or tongue? Keiko Hirashima and Toshiki Kobayashi
Special commendation An empty plate Keyon G and Peggy Lim 
Special commendation The dinner Joscelyn Heng and Steffi Lee 

CI envisions healthy oceans benefiting all life on Earth in perpetuity. Building on more than a decade of experience working with businesses, governments, and communities, the Center for Oceans connects local action and global impact through sound strategies, alliances, learning outcomes and proven tools.

The CI brand and the work it does is not immediately evident to the man-in-the-street. The organisation wanted to create a film to raise awareness of its work and support sustainable fishing. To stand out, the film should highlight CI’s work in ocean conservation and how we work in seascapes. 

After judging the entries, Chiemi Manako, copywriter, Dentsu and Hirotaka Endoh, director, Jamboree, bag gold for their film 'Here today, gone tomorrow'.

Chiemi Manako and Hirotaka Endoh

Like millions of other Japanese, ad industry executives Chiemi Manako, 26 and Hirotaka Endoh, 30, love seafood. However, they are the first to admit that despite their voracious appetite for aquatic life, they have barely considered concepts such as sustainable fishing, until very recently.

A belated introduction to these emerging concepts pushed the duo to enter—and as it emerges win gold in—the 2021 Young Spikes Film Competition category for 2020. To make a telling impact, their submission, 'Here today, gone tomorrow', uses a mysterious man stealing fish from children in different places, just as they are about to pick their favourite ones. The mysterious man, almost a grim reaper, is a placeholder for people who indiscriminately consume fish without thinking of long-term consequences.

“I am ashamed to admit that until this project, even though that I had heard of "sustainable seafood," I did not know what it was, nor did I take it seriously,” Manako, who looks up to filmmaker Tetsuya Nakajima and is a fan of the Burger King brand in Japan, told Campaign Asia-Pacific in an email interview. “I reflected on the fact that I was not aware that if we continue to consume fish at the current rate, there will be no fish left in the future.”

Endoh, who lists David Fincher, Brian De Palma, and Vince Gilligan as his creative inspirations, and enjoys the Volkswagen Golf 'Enjoy the Everyday' campaign, also says the shock of becoming aware of these new ideas pushed him to think of innovative ways to piece together this film. “It made me think deeply about the fact that what we have today is not necessarily for what we will tomorrow,” he says. “I also wondered if there was anything I could do to convey (this) to others in a way that would have an impact.”

For their film, the team decided to create a gap between the strange man and the audience by making him dress and behave strangely, and used strange sounding music, even as the fish that seemed within grabbing distance began to vanish.

The two studied previous Spikes work and decided to steer clear of clutter with their submission. “We needed an idea that was not descriptive and had visual impact that could be communicated across countries and languages,” says Manako. “Then I came up with the idea of depicting a future where there are no fish.”

Rather than pass the baton into the next generation, Endoh contends it is the responsibility of this one to make a difference. “I realised that the ones who are ruining children's future are my generation,” he says. “If we were the ones in trouble, we might end up getting what we deserve, but if we could imagine that our precious sons, daughters, and grandchildren would be in trouble, I thought that this film would surely trigger us to think about sustainable seafood.”

Besides this newly discovered awareness and concern about sustainable fishing, Manako and Endoh also used this opportunity to create their own body of work, without the strictures of clients and bosses hanging over their heads. “In my regular client work, I usually work under the supervision of my seniors,” says Manako. But, at Young Spikes, she also saw the opportunity to challenge herself to plan and produce a film and to improve her skills.

In addition, Endoh, has always been interested in international advertising competitions. “I had participated in several film competitions before, but this time it was an advertising competition, and since there are age restriction in the terms so I thought this is the time for me to take part.”

For these winners, making an impactful film is a combination of identifying a pressing local issue, but finding a way to make it appealing to a wider audience. “It is important to think about issues that generate sympathy from people who live in Japan, rather than trying to force it to fit in with the rest of the world,” Manako says.

And while advertising in Japan has a rather conservative image compared to other countries, Endoh believes younger creators are now ready to break the mould. “There are also many creators who want to make films that will be recognised worldwide (at events such as) such as Cannes and Spikes,” Endoh contends.

See all our Spikes Asia X Campaign coverage:

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