Cannes Lions Special Section

#CannesLions2017: “Africa's increasing role in global creative culture” - Nick Dutton

SA's craft and production industry proved itself at the annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Here, Nick Dutton of Mami Wata shares his views behind the scenes.
Dutton is cofounder of Mami Wata, a design-led company that produces premium surf apparel, equipment and accessories. With a background in agency life, having been in London for 15 years at Grey, BBDO and others, he moved back here to launch Mami Wata last year.

They’ve already proven successful beyond our shores, having picked up a Bronze Lion for direction in their work on Mami Wata’s ‘Woza’ by Pantera & Co Buenos Aires in the Cannes Lions’ Film Craft Lions. These celebrate onscreen artistry and exceptional film-making demonstrated through work in which technical skill and prowess in production elevates an idea or dramatically enhances its execution.

Screenshots from SA's three Bronze winners and the Grand Prix for Film Craft.
#CannesLions2017: Film Craft Lions winners!

The 64th annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity hosted the Film Craft Lions award ceremony on 23 June 2017, with three SA entries casting a Bronze glow...

23 Jun 2017

Impressive stuff. I pinned down Dutton for his views on SA’s performance at Cannes Lions 2017, the calibre of the SA craft and production scene and more…

BizcommunityShare your views on SA’s performance at Cannes Lions 2017 and how this ties in with our already impressive wins at D&AD and One Show earlier this year.

Mami Wata cofounder Nick Dutton.
Mami Wata cofounder Nick Dutton.
Africa’s role and impact on global creative culture is increasing, whether that’s in art, design, music, film-making or fashion.

South Africa is part of that story. The continent is becoming more confident and, critically, less impressed and influenced by what it sees elsewhere.

It’s to be cheered that it’s hitting more home runs in the world of commercial creativity, but thankfully it’s no surprise.

BizcommunityExplain your involvement in the Cannes campaigns that did SA proud.

The founders are all South Africans with creative backgrounds and have been fortunate to work around the globe on some of the world’s most creative and awarded brands. So it was natural for us to be an ‘in-house’ creative and production group. We developed the idea for the film, but there was never a specific script, just a sense of what we wanted the output to be. We thus need directors who could work organically and collaboratively, and Pato and Frankie from the Panteras were that.
We had a loose shot list, a map, eight days and a Hyundai van. The whole thing was a creative leap, it could have gone $#!t-shaped, but we worked hard and had some lucky bounces.
With the limits on budget we had to enlist help and favours where we could get them. It ended up being a global African production. Shot in Durban and Ponto do Ouro, Mozambique. Edited in Buenos Aires. Graded in London. Sound mix in Milan.

BizcommunityThat ties in with my next question, on the calibre of the SA craft and production scene – where do we shine and where do we need to buff and bulk up our muscle?

SA has world-class production and craft skills. That said, we specifically wanted an outside fresh perspective to capture that visceral sense of wonder that African adventure can give. Pato and Frankie had never been to Africa before, so they got off the plane in Durban and shot pretty much non-stop. They had a naïve fearlessness that got them into some pretty left-field and extreme situations. Previous knowledge and experience of shooting in Africa may have created limitations:

Seems coming in from the cold can lead to impressive results. Be sure to follow Mami Wata on the follow social media channels: Instagram | Facebook.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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