Watch Covers of The New Yorker Come to Life in These Short Films, Made in Partnership With Qualcomm

3 shorts will air during the New Yorker Festival

The films stem from smartphone-related covers of the magazine. New Yorker
Headshot of Sami Main

Three short films, debuting this weekend at the New Yorker Festival, give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at three New Yorker covers.

In partnership with Qualcomm, an innovative technology company that was crucial to creating smartphones, award-winning filmmakers created rich backstories for smartphone-related covers of the magazine. Running about five minutes each, these shorts are now available on the New Yorker’s YouTube channel.

From animated enchanted forests to a snapshot of a New York summer at a public pool, these films are three unique points of view into how technology shapes and fills our lives today.

In order to produce the films, the New Yorker worked with Qualcomm to create something that neither company had done before.

“We’ve had a long collaboration with Qualcomm and their agency, Neo@Ogilvy, to tell the larger story of Qualcomm’s spirit of innovation,” said Lisa Hughes, the New Yorker’s chief business officer.

Last year, the two companies partnered to create an augmented reality cover and ad experience for the magazine. This year, Qualcomm wanted to draw attention to its role in the smartphone revolution.

“They developed the technology that first connected phones to the internet, and we know that’s a true claim because our New Yorker fact checkers confirmed it!” said Hughes.

“Their philosophy completely aligned with ours,” said Liya Sharif, senior director of marketing for Qualcomm. “We want to work with publishers who come through with breakthrough ideas, and this concept was brilliant.”

Over 20,000 people attend the New Yorker Festival and Hughes describes the attendees as “smart, curious, and influential in their circles,” which makes them appealing to advertisers and partners like Qualcomm. The event itself is curated by the magazine’s editorial staff with forward-thinking guests like Chelsea Manning, Ava DuVernay and Riz Ahmed; the sponsors attached to it are equally innovative, and Hughes believes these films are the perfect example of that.

The magazine’s sponsors have been integrated natively throughout the festival and will become “branded content to use cross-platform after the Festival,” said Hughes. Land Rover, for example, is working with the festival in preview videos, a venue sponsorship and in-person experiences throughout the weekend.

Qualcomm’s partnership with the New Yorker is a risk that paid off for them. For Sharif, it was a risk to trust each other, but a worthwhile one.

“These films turned out better than we expected,” said Sharif, “and we hope viewers learn more about how our company truly changed the world thanks to these brilliant artists.”

Each of the films is “poignant, unexpected and delightful,” said Hughes.

For those not attending the festival, below are the short films:

@samimain Sami Main is social editor for Adweek, where she posts Adweek content onto social platforms and looks for creative ways to communicate what's new.