McGarryBowen CCO to talk “Bloody Mess” in Cannes

Tomorrow morning at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, McGarryBowen chief creative officer Ned Crowley will launch a new event format with a presentation titled, “A Bloody Mess — How Advertising Saved My Movie and My Sanity.”

Crowley will describe the four-month sabbatical that he took from his professional advertising job and devoted to completing a feature film on a small budget in early 2015.

According to McGarryBowen, who is hosting Crowley’s appearance, he chose a time of “tumultuous agency change and business upheaval” to make the foray into filmmaking.

The film that Crowley eventually wrote and directed, Middle Man, went on to win a case full of awards, including the Grand Prix at the Seattle Film Festival. It was released in select AMC theaters this week.

Starring Jim O’Heir of Parks and Recreation fame, Middle Man is the story of a middle-aged accountant (O’Heir) who trades ordinary life to pursue his dream of becoming a stand up comedian in Las Vegas. Along the way, he winds up getting tangled in an unexpected desert murder spree.

Seattle Times critic Tom Keogh wrote that the film “proves to be far darker than the sum of its parts” and “beneath the roller-coaster madness here is an earthbound terror that art is meant to reveal.” He gave the movie three out of four stars.

Besides describing the business obstacles that he confronted while making Middle Man, Crowley will explain how his 25 years of advertising experience ultimately “helped save his sanity and his film.”

To learn more about Crowley’s presentation and view a webcast of the event, click here.