Cannes Lions announced Richard Curtis will receive the Cannes LionHeart Award in recognition of his continued and significant involvement in charitable initiatives that include Comic Relief, Red Nose Day and the Make Poverty History campaign.
Most recently, in his role as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Advocate, Curtis founded Project Everyone which, along with the United Nations, helped to launch and promote the Global Goals, a series of ambitious targets to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and combat climate change by 2030. Project Everyone exists to encourage action, awareness and accountability for the Goals so that they stand the best chance of being achieved. Terry Savage, Chairman, Cannes Lions, cited this specifically as being “the true embodiment of the Cannes LionHeart Award”.
Curtis is Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of Comic Relief, which he started after visiting Ethiopia during the 1985 famine. In 1988, Comic Relief launched its Red Nose Day fundraising initiative which has gone on to raise more than £1 billion for projects in the UK and around the world. Curtis is also a founding member of Make Poverty History. As part of the campaign he wrote three times Emmy winning television drama, The Girl in the Café, as well as writing TV movie Mary and Martha, which has been shown in 50 countries and is now used as a campaigning tool by many organisations committed to ending malaria.
Commenting on the award, Curtis said:
When I attended Cannes Lions a couple of years ago I was struck by this shared belief between all of us there that creativity has the power to change the world. I’m a strong believer that you have to create things, to make things happen. I know first-hand that films, television and writing all have the ability to make people empathise with others – and drive people towards social action. I hope the Cannes LionHeart continues to encourage people to use their creativity and their access to challenge people’s hearts and minds to focus on solving the greatest challenges to the world today.
Introduced in 2014, the Cannes LionHeart is an honorary award, presented to an individual who has innovatively harnessed commercial brand power to make a significant and positive difference to people or the planet. Jose Papa, Managing Director, Cannes Lions, said:
Over more than 25 years, Richard Curtis has created a series of powerful, recognized brands that are significant in their humanitarian achievements, changing the lives of thousands of people across the world. As an organisation we believe that creativity is a force for good and this is palpable in Richard’s endeavors.