Brut, an official media partner of the Cannes Film Festival, is breaking new ground by partnering with Emily Yang, a celebrated digital artist known as Pplpleasr, to release 75 Cannes-themed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on May 2. The proceeds will benefit the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
The values-driven digital startup, whose backers include James Murdoch and François-Henri Pinault, is building the operation, named “75 Producer Pass NFTs,” to help make the film industry more inclusive to young female creators.
“After teaming with the global video game franchise Fortnite to put Cannes in the metaverse, we’re excited to have the Cannes Film Festival brand activated for greater good and launch this pioneering NFT-fundraiser with Pplpleaser who share the same values as us,” said Guillaume Lacroix, who co-founded Brut with veteran producer Renaud le Van Kim in 2016.
Pplpleasr, a hugely popular multidisciplinary artist based in New York who has been involved in philanthropy, is creating the 75 NFT’s which will feature visuals tied to the Cannes Film Festival.
“Philanthropy is a big part of my work,” said Yang, who pointed out her NFTs have previously helped raise millions of dollars to support a wide array of initiatives, fighting against Asian American hate crime, as well as supporting small businesses and free journalism. She achieved international fame as an NFT artist after raising $1.3 million from an NFT cover of Fortune magazine which she created.
Having previously worked as a vfx artist on blockbusters such as “Batman v Superman” and “Wonder Woman,” Pplpleasr has delivered striking NFTs inspired by the art of Moebius, weaving elements from animated films, as well traditional Chinese and Japanese art.
The NFT’s will have fixed prices, ranging from 5 Ether ($14,699) to 6 Ether ($17,639) and 7 Ether ($20,579), the asset present on the trading platforms. Those who will purchase these NFTs will be invited by Brut to the Cannes festival. The full proceeds from the sales of the NFTs will be donated to Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Accelerator scholarship, which is the first program supporting female-identifying filmmakers and bolster the pipeline for young creatives.
“I’m thrilled that Brut and Pplpleasr are supporting the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Accelerator Program in such a creative and exciting way,” said Dr. Stacy Smith, founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and associate professor of communication.
“We know that Web3 will play a critical role in the future of storytelling and that women are already underrepresented in the field across the board, so being able to fuel the dreams and projects of up-and-coming female-identifying creators in conjunction with shining a light on women in the NFT-space is a double success in our eyes,” said Smith. She said that fewer than 2% of top-grossing film directors are women of color, yet films by women of color earn the highest critical reviews.
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative launched this new program which awards $25,000 scholarships to female-identifying filmmakers of color for expenses related to creating a student film during her senior year at a U.S. film school. Grant recipients will also be able to access inspiring industry leaders such as Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios; Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios; Jody Gerson, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group; Halle Berry, Academy Award-winning actor, producer and director; as well as Kathryn Bigelow, J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, among others.
“We’re just at the beginning at what NFTs can achieve in terms of empowering creator equity and how cinema can be financed with it,” said Lacroix. Brut will also host a House of Creators at Cannes and will bring about 100 creators from across the world to the Croisette.
Pplpleasr recently launched a new decentralized video and film platform called Shibuya with the ambition to use NFTs to crowdfund production of visual content including short films, movies and TV series.
The landing page for the May 2 fundraiser is https://www.shibuya.xyz/cannes-brut.