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Delegates Experience: Anusha Wijeyaratne

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Since 2005 Sri Lanka has had a consistent and growing presence at the festival. Industry leaders as well as aspiring young professionals have had the opportunity to attend the Cannes Lions festival. This is what they had to say about their experience:

Cannes: A Pilgrim’s Tale

It was my father who encouraged me to become a copywriter. So, to be standing on the steps of the Palais des Festivals on his fifth death anniversary, was bitter-sweet. My pilgrimage to Cannes was as much for him, as it was for me. I call it a pilgrimage because for any red-blooded advertising person, the Lions is a chance to pay homage to that sacred, powerful, awe-inspiring phenomenon; the Big Idea.

The happy band of pilgrims from Sri Lanka numbered five. All Cannes virgins. Cannes virgins (and the Japanese delegates) are easy to spot. They’re the ones sitting in the front row of every seminar, every screening, and every judges’ de-brief, while the Cannes studs nonchalantly sun themselves on the Carlton Terrace, sipping Kir Royales. (On agency account, of course.)

But it didn’t take long for the Lankans to get with the programme. Soon, we were rubbing shoulders with the big boys (Pandey, Davis, Droga) down at The Gutter Bar. Networking at all the best parties, on all the best yachts. Hell, Sri Lanka even made the Radio shortlist. Bébé, by the end of those seven days, we were swinging.

I wasn’t going home with a Lion. I hadn’t even entered. But as I watched the reflection of the closing fireworks over the French Riviera, I thought, this is my Grand Prix, Peace, Dad

Anusha Wijeyaratne

Anusha Wijeyaratne
Senior Creative Director