Vuitton to Sponsor Film Award

Road movies are taking a luxury turn.

PARIS — Road movies are taking a luxury turn.

This story first appeared in the September 1, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Louis Vuitton said Monday it would bestow $25,000 prizes to the two student filmmakers who make the best two-minute works on the theme of “life as a journey.”

“It’s a way of getting in touch with all these young talents and seeing what they have inside of them,” said Vuitton’s communications director Antoine Arnault, who is heading to Venice Thursday to unveil the project during the film festival there.

At his side will be filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, who will head the selection jury and screen “My Blueberry Days,” a two-minute film made from rushes from his 2007 feature “My Blueberry Nights,” as an example to inspire entrants.

Students from prestigious film schools are being invited to compete for the “Journey Awards.” One will be decided by the jury and another by the public, who can see the competing films on a dedicated Web site. The first winners will be chosen in November.

Arnault described the project as a “noncommercial” venture, and Vuitton bags should not figure in any of the mini movies.

However, the prizes fit into recent communication efforts to reinforce Vuitton’s travel heritage, including a “core values” ad campaign featuring famous personalities like Mikhail Gorbachev and Sean Connery on their personal journeys and a cinematic television and cinema ad — with only fleeting glimpses of leather goods and a soundtrack of stirring guitar music — that debuted last year.

Arnault said that particular commercial “made us think there was more to discover around the concept of travel.”

And while none of the student films are destined for the airwaves, “maybe one day we’ll work with one of them,” he mused.