Advocate Creative is a multimedia partner of The Tech Awards. As part of the Awards program laureates receive full rights to a short film about their work.

Make Every Project a Passion Project

For Advocate Creative, great storytelling starts with caring deeply about the subjects.

Since 2013, the audience at The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, has been swept away to some of the world’s most remote places. They’ve transversed the tightly packed slums of South Africa. They’ve traveled to family farms in India. They’ve heard the story of how a mother’s baby was saved in a villiage in Uganda thanks to the Embrace infant warmer.

Their guide on these journeys? Advocate Creative, the producers of the films that depict the impact of The Tech Awards laureates and through whom the audience learns the stories of these impressive changemakers.

2015 Laureate Impact Award winner: Embrace

Each year the laureates — honored for their work using technology to benefit humanity — receive a film from the Chicago-based firm that tells their story. It can be used to help them raise funds and spread the word about their work.

For anyone who has seen these films at The Tech Awards or online, it may be surprising to hear that Advocate Creative employs just a half-dozen people. Its videos are highly evocative and have won numerous awards, including 11 Communicator and Telly awards just for the films created for the 2015 Tech Awards laureates.

Joel Krogman, a filmmaker with Advocate Creative

And it’s not just awards that validate the impact of the videos. The laureates rave about the difference the videos have made for their organizations, allowing them to explain their often-complicated innovations in a brief yet engrossing way.

Adi Kadussi, director of marketing at PrePex, a 2015 Tech Awards laureate, says “[The film] has been such a success in telling our story, we use it all the time now. It was a unique gift, and we can’t compare it to anything else.”

2015 Sutter Health Award laureate: PrePex

Tricia Compas-Markman of DayOne Response says The Tech Awards “has done a lot to help us share our story. And a lot of that had to do with the video.”

Recently clips from DayOne Response’s video went viral, collecting more than 3 million views on Facebook. The video features Compas-Markman visiting San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to demonstrate her organization’s signature Waterbag by purifying water from the park’s lake — and then drinking a glass.

2015 Intel Environment Award laureate: DayOne Response

“We’re able to tell the stories of people who are making the world a better place,” said Joel Krogman, a filmmaker at Advocate Creative. “It’s our hope that our work allows these incredible organizations to do more through the stories we tell.”

Advocate Creative has a careful process of selecting clients, and making sure that the mission of a project fits its goal of a better world is crucial. After all, the filmmaking process sends these teams all over the world, and for a filmmaker whose 18-hour days start before dawn, passion can be an important source of energy.

Another key to the success of Advocate Creative’s storytelling has been to keep focused on their clients’ compelling stories. While many laureates use amazing technology to solve problems, a story can easily wander too deeply into technical territory.

“The author Simon Sinek has a phrase about this,” says Megan Kennedy, producer. “He says it’s about the why, not the what.”

2014 Microsoft Education Award laureate: Worldreader

This year’s Tech Awards gala features some of Advocate Creative’s most ambitious work, with nearly an hour of film, including a retrospective on the program’s 15-year history. This time their travels took them to the world’s most polluted city, Cerro de Pasco in Peru, and to rural India at the height of monsoon season, among other locations.

“Honestly, this is one of our favorite things to do,” says Krogman. “Working on The Tech Awards is such a unique project. We love working with The Tech.”


The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials will be held on Nov. 17, 2016. For more information visit: www.thetech.org/tech-awards-presented-applied-materials.