Publicis Sapient and Oscar-Winning Director Ben Proudfoot Launch ‘Impact Films’
Publicis Sapient, a digital business transformation company, launched Impact Films, a new documentary film initiative, in partnership with Academy-Award winning director Ben Proudfoot (The Queen of Basketball) and his company Breakwater Studios on 7 October.
Through gripping storytelling, Impact Films, a three-part film series, brings to life the incredible power of digital business transformation by showcasing the positive impact digital has on major societal issues, told through the lens of a person whose life was positively impacted by technology. Led by Publicis Sapient’s Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Teresa Barreira, Impact Films is the latest effort within the company’s marketing plan to create a video-first content strategy.
Through Impact Films, Publicis Sapient is taking a truly differentiated approach in using documentary films to humanize digital business transformation. The company has created a dedicated investigative storytelling team with a mission to ferret out great stories from its work with clients and identify the best ways to showcase them. Unlike traditional branded content, which promotes products and services, Publicis Sapient commissioned director Ben Proudfoot to help uncover and bring to life compelling subjects and stories that show the positive impact digital can have on people’s lives.
The initiative is already generating major buzz and interest, with the first film in the series, Never Done, premiering at The New Yorker Festival on October 7, followed by inclusion in regional film festivals in the US, such as The Raleigh Film & Art Festival on October 9. Publicis Sapient is currently exploring several bids from distributors for the exclusive rights to represent Impact Films to leading streamers and networks.
“Our focus at Publicis Sapient is to use the transformative power of digital to help improve people’s lives,” said Publicis Sapient CEO Nigel Vaz. “By leveraging digital as a force for good for consumers, citizens, diverse groups of people and governments, companies that are on the path to make digital their core will benefit, too, from their transformation. Our goal is to leave mankind and our planet significantly better than we found it.”
“When we saw the remarkable and positive impact technology can have on the lives of our clients’ customers, we recognized that these stories were seldom told and deserved to be brought to the forefront in a differentiated way,” said Publicis Sapient’s Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Teresa Barreira. “We took a unique approach producing films that are non-branded content. In Ben Proudfoot, we found the ideal partner as he shares our mission to elevate the voices of individuals who benefit from the power of digital business transformation. Ben crafts intimate stories that are relatable. These are digital business transformation stories told through real filmmaking.”
“As a maker and advocate of short documentaries who sees enormous opportunities for aligned brands to enter the space of funding and commissioning work, partnering with Publicis Sapient to launch Impact Films is a perfect opportunity to tell stories that mean something to our storytellers, the brand, a broad audience, and to me as a filmmaker,” said Oscar-winning director Ben Proudfoot. “Just as digital has transformed and democratized cinema forever, so too will it continue to transform our culture and, more importantly, — if employed properly — help solve some of our greatest and most intractable challenges. I’m honored that Breakwater Studios was chosen to help tell a few of those stories, grateful for the brave trust of the Publicis Sapient team, and optimistic that these stories will help inspire a better world.”
The first film of the three-part Impact Films series, Never Done, tells the story of Kersten, a single mother from Charlotte, North Carolina, who had her life turned upside down by a lung disease diagnosis right before the pandemic, forcing her to quit her job. Unable to pay her rent, Kersten found herself one day away from eviction from her home that she shared with her two young daughters. Kersten and tens of thousands of families like hers throughout North Carolina were able to receive critical financial assistance and avoid homelessness thanks to a digital platform that Publicis Sapient built for its client, rental assistance agency DreamKey Partners, which delivered rental assistance funds quickly and at scale for Kersten and other people in need.
The second Impact Film in development will feature the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, shining the spotlight on a public defender who can now more effectively and efficiently access the resources needed to best represent his clients, accomplished through a digital platform created by Publicis Sapient for the office. The third title is still in early development.