Why create an I Look Up architecture film?

“Our success in the film challenge was an incredible achievement for us, but to our surprise the film turned out to be a catalyst that triggered an incredible outpouring of support for our work this year.” – Brad Deal, 2016 Grand Prize Winner

Participating in the I Look Up film challenge means contributing to a greater public understanding of what architects do, and how important their work can be. From revitalizing a downtrodden neighborhood to making the spaces we move in more accessible, good design can make huge improvements and can change people’s lives.

Two days are never the same in the architecture profession — which means architects are full of stories to tell. There is a wealth of stories to share, and they need to be told. If that’s not reason enough to participate in the I Look Up Film Challenge, read on!

Behind-the-scenes of 2016 finalist film, The Guard

The impact of telling these stories can be huge.

Just ask 2016 Grand Prize Winner Brad Deal, AIA, NCARB, LEED, who had a year of great success and satisfaction following his team’s participation in the film challenge. After 10 years of professional experience in design and construction, Deal made the transition back to academics to run the design build program at Louisiana Tech. As part of the program, students partnered with Medcamps, summer camps for children with chronic illness and disabilities, to reinvigorate the property and improve the camp experience. Watch their winning film here.

The project is a product of their commitment to service and education, and greatly rewarding in itself, but it wasn’t until creating an I Look Up film that support for the project exploded.

Deal wrote us, that “In a single screening at a fundraiser last summer, our film helped MedCamps raise over $52,000 towards our 2017 project. That’s nearly 3 times our typical project budget pledged in just 10 minutes! We featured the film on a crowd funding page through our university to raise funds for new tools to replace our aging drills, welders and saws. $18,000 was donated from architecture alumni and supporters from across the country as well as about $12,000 in in-kind tool donations from local vendors and Stanley Black and Decker (parent company of Dewalt Tools).

From Grand Prize Winning Film, Arch 335: Rebuilding Medcamps

“The film also played a big part in our program winning ACSA’s prestigious Collaborative Practice Award this year. That achievement took us to the ACSA annual meeting in Detroit where we spoke about the work in more detail. All of this is in addition to the opportunities the AIA created for us to present our work at the New York Architecture and Design Film Festival, at SXSW Eco in Austin, and again at A’17 in Orlando.”

Make architect’s work accessible through video.

Not nearly enough people understand how important the work of architects can be. It’s time more people consider the impact our spaces have on us — and who’s behind the effort. Through a 3-minute film, these messages are easy for people to digest and share. This format is dominant in today’s visual culture, and it makes architecture accessible for a lot more people!

2015 and 2016 contestant, Jeff Durkin, explains that “most people don’t know the secret power it has to shape culture, improve the environment, and enhance people’s lives. By telling stories about design we can reveal the “secret power” by giving the architecture a voice.”

Behind-the-scenes with Jeff Durkin

Our judges have expressed similar feelings about the content produced for the challenge. 2016 judge, David Melancon, named an Adweek Brand Genius, expressed his amazement and appreciation for the content, saying that the films really “demonstrate what it means to be solve problems using architecture.”

This year’s judges include media leaders like John Montague (Moonlight) and accomplished architecture professionals, including Thomas Vonier, FAIA, the 2017 AIA President, Rosa T. Sheng, AIA, who has led a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects throughout her 20+ year career, and Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA, who is known as The Hip Hop Architect as he leads a national initiative exploring architecture and urban planning through the lens of hip hop culture.

So what are you waiting for?

Not sure you qualify? You probably do! We’re accepting films from architects, filmmakers, students, and anyone in between with a story to tell. In past year’s our favorite films have fallen under the themes of accessibility, sustainability, community revitalization, diversity and inclusion, preservation, empowering lives, and “look up”, but if you have another idea, all the better!

Good things are happening all across the country, and we have a chance to shine a light on these stories. When we do, we can not only uplift those communities, but the profession as a whole.

Register today at ilookup.org