Singaporean filmmaker wins Cannes Lions award with team that created VR music video

SINGAPORE - Mr David Liu, a Singaporean film-maker who was part of the team that created an acclaimed virtual reality music video, has won one of the top prizes at the prestigious Cannes Lions awards.

The team won the Digital Craft Grand Prix award on Wednesday (June 20) for a video made for the The Aeronaut, a track by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. Corgan is a two-time Grammy winner, and the song is off his second solo album, Ogilala.

The music video features a hologram performance by Corgan, who is surrounded by surreal virtual environments.

This is believed to be the first Grand Prix Cannes Lions win for a VR project by a Singaporean.

The joint project was by Isobar, a Tokyo-based digital agency, New York-based Viacom NEXT, Viacom's production studio focused on building immersive experiences, as well as American VR artist Danny Bittman.

Mr Liu, who was the creative director of Virtual Reality at Viacom Next, directed the video and VR experience alongside Viacom Next vice president Rob Ruffler, according to virtual reality news site VR Scout.

He told The Straits Times that the video was a risky undertaking.

"Being at the forefront of a new medium is always terrifying. There are no rules and precedents... This has been a humbling, unexpected win that validates our vision of how music can be best experienced in virtual reality."

Digital Craft Jury President Jean Lin, who is also global chief CEO of Isobar, was quoted in ad industry magazine Ad Age, saying the jury was looking for a work that connected the digital craft with a story, instead of one that had "craft for craft's sake".

She said: "It's very difficult to reward a piece of work that can represent the totality of the diverse world of digital craft. From the start of judging, 'Aeronaut' stirred our emotions."

While the Grand Prix is the top award, three Gold Lions, eight Silver Lions and 15 Bronze Lions were also awarded for projects from all over the world.

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, held in Cannes, France, is considered the largest gathering of the advertising and creative communications industry. It recognises those working in industries such as creative communications and advertising.