The potentially transformative nature of documentary filmmaking is expressed here through the translation of a reel of film into the olive branch with which the UN has become synonymous. The somewhat anachronistic symbol of the film reel is employed, because the public still intuits it as relating to the filmmaking process, even as this medium shifts toward a digital means of production. A reel of film is grounded in the physical world; the embodied world of experience. Likewise, it serves as a graphic link to both the globe and the olive branches of the UN logo.
Whereas the interlinked olive branches of the UN logo carry the inherent symbolism of the laurel wreath – an assumption of victory – this logo uses a single branch, a kind of incomplete wreath, indicating the recognition that “victory”, in this case achieving the eight UN Millennium Development Goals, should not necessarily be assumed as a foregone conclusion.
The logo is asymmetrical, rather than using the dominant symmetry of the UN logo, implying movement but remaining balanced. The projected globe of the UN logo was used as an ordering grid, the longitudinal divisions also mirroring the eight UN Millennium Development Goals. The emphasis is on universality – consciously not implying an importance of one issue over another. Helvetica was chosen as the typeface for the festival title, to bring in ideas of transparency and clarity. This being said, the design attempts to create graphic ambiguity in the olive branch, which can also be read not only as half of a laurel wreath, but also as a shaft of grain, or a quill.
Overall the attempt was made to design a logo that can maintain its graphic appeal over many years, working in harmony with the UN logo while maintaining its own unique identity.