Fight winter fatigue with the British Arrow Awards


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TRADITION. This year will be the Walker Art Center’s 35th year of showing the British Arrow Awards. A popular, crowd-pleasing program, it features unique and creative British commercials.

With winter setting upon the Twin Cities, it’s the perfect time to explore some indoor activities. The Walker Art Center is known locally for its annual showing of the British Arrow awards, a film award show for British commercials. The topic might sound niche or surprisingly specific, but it’s one of the best emotion-filled 90 minutes you can get for $12 in Minneapolis.

The Walker has been annually showing the Arrow Awards for 35 years with their unique partnership with the organization that runs the awards. Many attend the showing as an annual tradition, it’s one of the Walker’s most popular events. This year, the awards consist of three categories: bronze, silver and gold. The commercials in each category are selected as the most creative impactful work coming from advertising agencies in the UK, and perhaps many commercials are better referred to as “short films.” The types of commercials range from short 20-second one-liners, to mini-documentaries on topics like pigeon flying of surprising length. The variety provides a nice anecdote to many other film festivals consisting of feature-length films.

The visuals in all of the commercials are truly stunning. Particularly one commercial (the commercial of the year, in fact) is from Apple, featuring a man walking to work. But, what makes it engaging is that as he listens to music, the world around him begins to bend and shape with his own actions. The man essentially bends his world around him with his own weight. The technical feat of producing such a film is exquisite.

Many of the commercials fall into the category of PSA’s, calling attention to societal issues in the U.K. and international community. The issues range in topic from politics to mental health and beyond. The storytelling in many of these commercials is touching, offering a succinct yet powerful societal critique to the viewer.

If you have an afternoon to spare, the Arrow awards are a touching, hilarious and thought-provoking way to rid yourself of the early winter boredom. The Walker is offering both in-person and virtual online options to watch the awards that have been extended through Jan. 16.