Turning the Table on Elliott Kuss


May 1, 2024

Turning the Table on Elliott Kuss

2024 Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards judge Elliott Kuss, Art Director at FKA in Edmonton Alberta, shares with Applied Art's recent work he and his team's created for the Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF). In this Q&A Kuss delves into the process of crafting a campaign for a client whose work deeply resonates with both him and his team.

Edmonton International Film Festival 2023 Campaign

One of my favourite clients I work with is the Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF). It is an Oscar®-qualifying festival that showcases the best upcoming short and feature-length films from around the world.

The 2023 edition of EIFF saw the screening of more than 100 films at venues throughout Edmonton. Our team created a campaign to let film lovers know that this year’s event was the ultimate movie marathon. The marathon theme gave EIFF the language they were looking for to communicate what the festival experience would be like in 2023.

Collaborating with Edmonton-based photographer Adam Borman, we encapsulated the movie marathon theme with our gloriously playful campaign hero image.

Success was seeing people on social media and news outlets engaging with the theme by co-opting the marathon language to speak about their experiences at the festival.

To drive home the marathon theme, we worked with the client to create an activation in which EIFF became the official cup sponsor of the annual Edmonton Marathon. Additionally, they took over a hydration station at the busiest spot along the race route. Seeing EIFF-branded cups at every hydration station of the marathon and in the hands of every athlete participating in the race was an unforgettable experience.


What were the success stats or indicators?

These combined efforts resulted in a significant lift in awareness, ticket sales, and attendance for EIFF in 2023. This gives them strong momentum moving into the festival's 38th year in 2024.

Why is this particular project a fave?

Working with EIFF is always a bright spot in my year. It is an organization run by some truly thoughtful people consistently looking to push their creative. From the posters to the marathon activation, neither the client nor our team lost enthusiasm. This is why this project will go down as one of the most rewarding that I have worked on in my career. It also doesn’t hurt that I am a massive movie fan who watched over 400 movies in 2023 and unpacked my thoughts and feelings about all of them on my weekly podcast Bad Dad Rad Dad. Suffice it to say, imploring more people to come out and experience EIFF’s ultimate movie marathon is a cause I will never hesitate to get behind.

Can you give us your opinion on what you think made this project a success?

The enthusiasm and trust of everyone involved in the project, while we chased ideas and found opportunities to push the work in directions we’ve previously never explored with the client, was immensely rewarding.

That sentiment extended further when we saw attendees, news outlets, and filmmakers using the “It’s a marathon” language we developed for EIFF. Additionally, making the marathon activation a reality gave everyone a strong sense of community while seeing EIFF be so prevalent at one of Edmonton’s biggest events was unreal.

Finally, getting to see the fruits of our labour by attending the festival, seeing some incredible films, and hearing from the client that attendance was significantly up from 2022 was the perfect button to another successful collaboration with the Edmonton International Film Festival.



Completed while at FKA;
Art Director: Elliott Kuss
Creative Director: Craig Markou
Copywriter: Pavan Meshram
Motion Designer: Mark Watson
Accounts/Strategist: Keandra Lucki
Service Delivery Manager: Larissa Funk

Congratulations on this great campaign team, FKA!