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Brand Storytelling Theater Q&A with Rick Parkhill

Reilly Parkhill, Contributing Editor,

Brand Storytelling 2022 is set to introduce the Brand Storytelling theater, a unique showcase of brand-funded films large and small, for which screening submissions are being accepted now through October 1, 2021. During this submission window, we asked Brand Storytelling Co-Founder and Director Rick Parkhill to expound on some additional details, info, and his feelings on the addition of the Brand Storytelling theater to next year’s flagship Brand Storytelling event:

What inspired the change of the event to move towards a brand funded film showcase?

Over the past few years, more and more brands have wanted to share their films with their peers and media, production and content studios that gather for Brand Storytelling each January in Park City. The screenings have emerged as the most valued part of the attendee experience. We were fortunate to premier the J&J Film “5B” in 2019 that later went on to be admitted to the Cannes Film Festival and won a Cannes Entertainment Lions Grand Prix. Other feature films we have been proud to screen include the MacGillivray Freeman produced iMax films “Into America’s Wild” and “America’s Musical Journey” (funded by Brand USA, United Airlines, and Expedia), “Here Am I, Send Me” by Cisco, and “Bonds of Trust” by IBM. We have also screened several short films and series, including “History of Memory” by HP, “Plight of the Honey Bees” by Nestle, “Gather What’s Good with Chef Roy Choi” for Field Roast and many more. This has been the highest rated content offered on the Brand Storytelling stage.

Can you tell us more about the Selection Committee and what their role is in the event?

In the past, brand attendees have reached out to us when they had a film they wanted to share. There was no submission process with the exception to call us and tell us about the film and see if we would share it. This year, in anticipation of many brands wanting to share films, we decided to open a submission window and invite a group of brand storytelling luminaries to serve as committee members to curate a slate of films to be featured over three days in Park City. The films that are selected will represent the very best in brand filmmaking as chosen by this diverse group of brands, directors, producers and agencies. We are VERY proud of the group that has come together to take on this project of reviewing and selecting films. Having your film selected by this esteemed committee will certainly be an honor!

If a film isn’t ready by the October 1 submission deadline, can entrants still submit a summary or trailer to the Selection Committee?

Yes! In the past, the first time any of us saw the films screened in Park City was at the time of the screening. We admitted films to the event just based on what the brand, director or agency told us about them. This year, films can be submitted as a descriptive narrative with a description of the film, the director, talent, etc. The selection committee will definitely consider films that are still in production. If chosen, final cuts are due by December 17, 2021.

How do you think the focus on films will change the Brand Storytelling event?

It’s going to create a more “festivalesque” feeling where filmmakers, storytellers, media and production companies have the opportunity to introduce their work, share it with a live and virtual audience and take Q&A. Each film will serve as a Brand Storytelling case study, demonstrating that brands are turning to creating quality content that audiences will seek rather than interrupting what they have found.

Tell us more about the Official Announcement on October 19.

The selected films will be announced by the committee via livestream at 12pm PST on October 19. The slate of “Official Selections for Brand Storytelling 2022” will be posted to, listed in a full-page ad in Variety and be the topic of a wide-reaching PR campaign designed to bring attention to the quality and quantity of great filmmaking being funded by brands. And of course, brands and their partners will enjoy the prestige of displaying the “Brand Storytelling Official Selection” laurel and having their films watched by a global audience of peers and partners.


Do you have a brand film you'd like to showcase at Brand Storytelling 2022? Submit your film today for the chance to become an official selection for the Brand Storytelling Theater. Submissions close 10/1/2021.



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