iStock Awards $20,000 to Aspiring Filmmakers as Part of First-Ever Creative Competition, “One-Minute Films: Resiliency”
Creativity… it’s not just a skill or a problem-solving tool, but a means toward moving forward when things are at their most challenging. 2020 is the perfect example (if there ever was one), of a creative’s time to persevere and shine. In the wake of COVID-19, quarantine constraints and social distancing requirements worldwide, filmmakers, videographers and documentarians—no matter their career stage, or whether they were amateur or professional, student or otherwise—were forced to dig deep and get extra creative, in their quest to continue to create moving works of storytelling. To put it simply, orchestrating and executing a shoot became incredibly challenging and nearly impossible to do so safely
Enter the world of creative stock video and imagery as a creativity-forward solution, given that iStock is home to 135 million assets and counting—and a leader in affordable visual communications for the creative, entrepreneurial, student, and SMB communities.
That’s why we launched our first-ever creative competition, “One-Minute Films: Resiliency,” posing a challenge to creatives and filmmakers across the globe to craft a 60-second film exploring the concept of creative resiliency, however they chose to interpret it. The catch? No original video allowed. Instead, submissions needed to rely upon iStock footage exclusively. The inspiration? Help creatives, create. The prize? Much-needed financial support totaling US$20,000, with first place taking $7,000, second place winning $5,000, and eight runners up earning $1,000 each—and all ten snagging a year-long premium iStock subscription as well.
To say I was pleased to see the myriad of ways these talented individuals interpreted the theme—with finalists located across the globe from California to Uganda, Illinois to Italy, and the United Kingdom to Japan—would be an understatement. For me, as one of iStock’s co-founders, I am consistently impressed by the breadth of creativity that exists within our would. Not only that, but it’s thrilling to know that our imagery and video solutions power incredible creativity of all kinds and enable creatives to continue to practice their craft despite current events and global challenges.
With that in mind, I’m happy to introduce our first-place winner, Daniel Roberts, and our second-place winner, Daniel Balakov, so they can share a bit about their creative process and reflect on what winning the first-ever iStock competition has meant to them.
Daniel Roberts, Los Angeles, California—First Place for “Breathless”
Daniel Roberts’ video on iStock’s YouTube channel
About the project: “I’ve always felt that resiliency is born from struggle—to be resilient is to be strong even when everything feels impossible. It’s like being very deep underwater, but still kicking up for air. ‘Breathless’ tells the story of one such moment underwater and offers a glimpse of what resilience can be. And for me, family is what keeps me going—even if it’s just the idea of family. There’s a bond that holds us together like a raft. My family grew very close during COVID-19 and I think that our shared resilience has been on my mind.”
About his process: “Scrolling through the iStock library gave me a lot of inspiration. You could tell any story you wanted. I saved all the most powerful imagery and when I sat back to look at them, I realized a story was right there in the imagery. All I needed to do was add some narration. I added the voiceover and my friend Matthew Bleggi composed and recorded the music. Arden Sarner, sound genius, further embellished the sound.”
About the win: “Winning the first-ever iStock competition has been surreal, and it puts myself and my creative partners, sound designer Arden Sarner and producer Nancy Boyd, one step closer toward making our collective dream come true—that of making a feature film—in which we hope to tell a much larger story about resiliency.”
Daniel Balakov, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria—Second Place for “Smile”
Daniel Balakov’s video on iStock’s YouTube channel
About the project: “Preoccupied with the negative emotions caused by the events happening around us, we often forget about the child inside us—the child that needs both care and love. That’s what I sought to suggest through my film, the idea that no matter what is happening in our world and in our lives, that our inner children need love above all else… and it’s our responsibility to help them smile!”
About his process: “As a photographer and independent filmmaker, I am inspired by beautiful lighting and by well-made, authentic, and aesthetically pleasing films, and hope to enter the world of short films in the future. For me, it’s important, necessary, and useful to express eternal truths and positive ideas through my visual stories—and to translate them in a way that every viewer out there can understand them. As I see it, visual stories shape our inner worlds, and that is partly the reason why I consider it my mission to create inspiring visual works.”
About the win: “I was drawn to the intellectual challenge of creating a film using my own ideas, but with iStock video. I’ve built all of the films I’ve made so far by myself, from the storyboard to the final post-processing, so the iStock competition challenged me in a new way, and I really liked that and hope to do more.”