The Kancil Creative Festival: Advertising has limits but creativity does not

The Kancil Creative Festival is finally here! Organised by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Malaysia, the theme of the Kancil Creative Festival is ‘Celebrating humanity in creativity, technology, and culture’. The two-day festival which will be held in Ruang KL will explore how people from different backgrounds in the field of creativity go about telling stories, writing music, building robots, making ads, creating art, producing content, and expressing poetry, while finding common ground in their shared humanity.

MARKETING Magazine meets up with Alvin Teoh (pic), the Creative Council Chairman of Kancil Creative Festival 2018.

1. Can you provide us with the context behind the Kancil Creative Festival?
For the longest time, the Kancils has been an exclusive affair for the ad industry. We saw creativity through our own lenses and celebrated our own achievements. There is nothing wrong in that itself or course, for some of the greatest creative minds come from this industry. But herein lies a little problem; we are viewing creativity within the confines of adland. Advertising has limitations but creativity does not. Beyond these borders, we’ll meet many ‘foreigners’ who exercise their own forms of creativity and there’s so much we can learn from one another. So that’s the thought that led to the idea of a festival where documentary makers, poets, artists, journalists, tech peeps, film makers, photographers, activists and politicians can come under one roof with the ad industry and marketers to talk about the stuff they do, to share ideas and stories and inspire one another to look beyond themselves.

2. What impact do you hope to make with this event?
I just want creative people from different industries and background to talk. To explore the idea of collaboration. We each hold a piece of a jigsaw puzzle to humanity and I want people to see what happens when we assemble these pieces together. From all this, I hope to perhaps refresh the ad industry. I know it sounds ambitious as hell. But to get people to break with habits, that’s not a bad thing. After all, creativity is the defeat of habit. So the impact I hope to make is one of constant questioning – what if we tried this? What happens when we mix things up? I’m sure this spirit of curiosity that comes from meeting different people with different disciplines will open the floodgates of creativity even more. And not the sort of creativity that serves itself. But one that does something wonderful to those who come into contact with it. Those are the sort of work that lasts.

3. Tell us more about the festival theme of “Celebrating Humanity in Creativity, Technology, and Culture”
Central to all we do is the human person. That’s a given. We are only as relevant as how we are perceived and received by people. And in order to do that, we must first be respectful and sensitive to the human condition and his or her experience as one walking on this epic journey called life. When we put all these different and diverse speakers together under one roof, it may seem we are all polar opposites. But that’s not true because as the saying goes, we are more common that we think. And we’re all just seeing different variations of the same truth. And that truth is humanity. Whatever it is that we do, we are all trying to create meaningful things for ourselves as well as for others. That is the core of all we do. And that’s what we’re celebrating.

4. What are the key festival highlights?
There’s a whole bunch of stuff happening. There are speakers who’s seen the darkest side of humanity yet finds an unquenchable light in people. There are others who’s shot such intimate documentaries that is so raw and intense, it stays with you for a long, long time. Then, there are those who go beyond the trend of worshiping data and instead, creates them from intuition, proving that flesh and blood data is still as relevant as ever. And speaking of flesh and blood, there’s another speaker who’s spent years peeling away the layers of culture to help us see our own souls in people that seem so far away from who we are.

I can go on but the point I want to make is this; the people invited to share their work and passions here are those who have, in their own unique ways big and small, presented a little glimpse of who we are as people. Their work compels one to think and feel and in advertising, people won’t act unless you know how to get them to do that. While it is only natural to say the highlight of the festival are the speakers and exhibitors and the experiential events there, for me, the highlight is the stuff that happens in people’s heads after these 2 days. Besides the speakers, among the other festival highlights are:

The 666 Young Director’s Workshop – Young aspiring directors can submit scripts for a 6-minute film to be judged, and 6 winners will get their scripts produced by one of the 6 production house that will help guide and produce their work for free
Grab x Young Kancil Awards – A collaboration with Grab, teams of 3 people under 2 years of working experience are tasked to create an Instagram campaign bringing the narrative of the brand to life via the stories of the driver they are assigned to.Exhibitions, Mini-Workshops, Dialogue Sessions and Immersive Experiences by stellar personalities such as:

  • Stella So
  • Kafayat Quadri
  • David Lok
  • Kenny Moh
  • Motio Fixio
  • Hyrul Anuar
  • Tintoy Chuo
  • Kitar GE14

5. Where are the Kancils headed? Creatively, where does Malaysia stand?
I am no prophet, but I am hoping the Kancils is headed to a good place. I am hoping the Kancils is going through some sort of a self-realisation, that it is growing up and evolving. After all, the soul of the Kancils are the people in the creative industry. And if we get this right, the Kancils may one day be a couple of things; a regional award show and an inclusive platform for creative people to come together to trade ideas, collaborate and inspire one another.

And where do we stand creatively? I guess it depends on how creativity is measured. If it’s measured against award shows that are still plagued by scams, I don’t mind losing out. But if it’s measured against the sort of work that reflects the change in society and has the power to influence it, we still have some ways to go but that journey has begun. And like a post on social media, I am feeling optimistic.

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