Cannes Lions: A Bold Choice for Health & Wellness Grand Prix


Montefiore Hospital / Corazon film

Before he embarked on his duties as the 2018 Cannes Lions Health & Wellness Jury President, InterbrandHealth Executive Creative Director R. John Fidelino identified what he was hoping to see in the hundreds of entries for creative work that he and his fellow jurors would be judging this year.

“For me, ‘great’ in healthcare can’t just be beautiful—or just raise awareness,” he stated about his benchmark for assessing entries in Health & Wellness, for the first time running concurrently with the broader Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and not before. “It’s work that inspires you to act. It empowers you to do something for your health.”

On Monday Fidelino announced a surprising winner for the Health and Wellness Grand Prix: Corazón, a 43-minute film by New York’s Montefiore Medical Center that debuted at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Tackling a tough subject, Corazón tells the story of a Dominican sex worker who receives a new heart. In essence a long-form organ donation PSA, the narrative film is based on a true story.

The long-form branded content project’s tagline, “Give Your Heart,” is a literal call to action urging people to register with Donate Life America in under 15 seconds, starting by pressing their phones to their hearts. The campaign, which launched in April, included Times Square billboards and a mobile-optimized website,

“Corazón” was the stand-out work that clearly met the jury’s five criteria for the Lions Health Grand Prix, according to Fidelino: “Raising the profile of health and wellness, exploring how to push the category forward, technical precision, responsibility, and fusing health and wellness into everyday lives.”

It also represented a bold creative commitment by the client, a healthcare system based in the Bronx, New York. “It shows that the client actually is able to improve or advance their reputation while calling attention to a sign health issue,” he added.

The film stars Cuban actor Ana de Armas as Elena Ramirez, a prostitute with a terminal heart condition. Her last hope is to make her way to New York City for surgery, finding a champion in Dr. Mario Garcia, played by Academy Award-nominated actor Demian Bichir.

De Armas, the rising 30-year-old Cuban star who shone in War Dogs and Blade Runner 2049, plays Elena, an increasingly frail woman who manages to get a medical visa, arriving in the Bronx and eventually getting a mechanical heart implanted. The first half of the film is shot on location in the Dominic Republic, where Elena was working any jobs she could, from service work to sex work, to support her sister and grandmother.

According to an article on the project, De Armas and Bichir were set to reenact the surgery, but two days before the scheduled shoot, a patient was admitted to Montefiore to undergo to exact same operation, and was open to being filmed. Dr Goldstein, the top mechanical heart surgeon, called Hillcoat with an unusual offer: did they want to film the real thing?

Corazon movie / Montefiore health system / New Yor

From the winning entry submission:

115,000 Americans are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Although 98% support organ donation, only 1 in 5 New Yorkers is a donor. Considering these statistics, how do you get young people to register as organ donors? You make them feel something—then make it easy to become part of the solution. Montefiore Hospital, founded in New York in 1884 on the belief that all human life is worth fighting for, saw an opportunity: move people to action through the power of film. By creating a compelling piece of entertainment, we connected a younger audience to the importance of organ donation, then made it easy for them to become part of the solution through interactive mobile technology.

After months of research with Montefiore Hospital, we discovered the true patient story of Elena Ramirez and developed a 48 minute cinematic film. By telling the compelling story of one woman, we seamlessly showed the audience the value of organ donation, and what Montefiore itself stands for. Corazón is more than just a film; it’s a complete effort to effect real change. An integrated campaign drove viewers to watch Corazón, and interactive mobile technology made it easy for viewers to give their hearts in just 15 seconds.

Impact: Within hours, all Tribeca Film Festival showings of Corazón sold out. The critical response has been extremely positive, celebrating the film’s ability to rally audiences behind the cause of organ donation. In the campaigns first week, 10 million watched Corazón – Give Your Heart content. Over 1,000 New Yorkers per day watched Corazón the film. Hundreds of New Yorkers gave their hearts, registering as new with Donate Life America. Since 1 donor can save up to 8 lives, the campaign has potentially saved thousands of lives already.

In just one week since campaign launch:
—Over 25 million people connected with Corazón – Give Your Heart in New York alone
—10 million people watched Corazón – Give Your Heart content
—10,000 New Yorkers saw Corazón the film
—Hundreds of hearts given so far, saving thousands of lives
—1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives.

Corazón brings to light the experience that sadly thousands of families face—the journey to a new heart as well as other organs. Elena like all mechanical heart recipients still needs a heart donation. We hope this film will inspire viewers to become organ donors and #GiveYourHeart,” stated David Fleming, Donate Life America President & CEO.

It also scored with the Lions Health judges for favoring accuracy and authenticity, also featuring an actual surgeon in the film. “It’s very authentic,” Fidelino commented. “Heath and wellness, as well as pharma, needs to be precise to be credible.”

View the Grand Prix winner here and the other entries here.