SMNY and Mother Protect the Human with Amnesty International

Director Kim Gehrig of Academy Films and New York-based Smoke & Mirrors New York (SMNY) Creative Director Sean Broughton create a compelling 1:30 tale for Amnesty International via Mother.

With Michael Stipe’s arresting song, Until the Day is Done, playing throughout the spot, we are left simultaneously bewildered and proud. Bewildered at the astonishing violence in our world, and proud of the selfless among us attempting to hinder its relentless surge. Seven racially diverse individuals are superimposed onto scenes of violence wherein they appear to stand between aggressors and their targets; releasing prisoners, removing nooses off necks and withdrawing weapons from children. The heroes are placed in the heart of nations that are war-torn and plagued with cruelty, in order to attest our own capacity to protect human rights.

SMNY’s Sean Broughton acknowledges, “This was an opportunity to do some real good, so pulling out all the stops was the only way to go. When the time came, I met with Director Kim Gehrig in London to work out how every scene and element should be shot. The seven scenes were split up amongst the three post companies involved in the project SMNY, Rushes and Framestore. We had to complete the work in record time, but the ego-less efforts made by all was a joy to be a part of.”

“Interaction was a key aspect of the film, so each ‘hero’ was shot against green screen, with the distance traveled, terrain, camera heights and angles calculated prior to shoot. Lighting was matched to the pre-selected background scenes and everything was shot with locked off camera in HD to allow for movement later in post. Kim wanted to make sure the heroes stood out, so it was an old VHS machine that finished the catalogue of work executed in each scene. The hero character was played off to the old tape format and then matted back in.”

Ed Sayers from Mother adds, “There are many ways to approach any post task and in this case we gained the eclectic opinions of all this top worldwide post talent and when anyone talked, everyone listened. So the film received the benefit of all that experience and the joy of all that talent. It couldn’t
have been done in the time without this total and ego-less cooperation, not to mention a client who allowed everyone to crack on and come back and truly wow them with a very powerful film.”

About SMNY:
New York and London-based design, animation and VFX studio, Smoke & Mirrors was founded by Creative Director/VFX Artist Sean Broughton (NY), Penny Verbe (UK) and Mark Wildig (UK). Production in the New York office is lead by Managing Director Jo Morgan and Executive Producer Celest Gilbert. Diverse projects range from work on the Harry Potter and Bond film series, to commercials campaigns for Mercedes, Burger King, Miller Lite and Sirius. Recent music vid clips include Feists 1 2 3 4, and I Feel It All.

The Creds:
Client: Amnesty International
Title: You Are Powerful
Air Date: December 2008

Agency: Mother
Producer: Ed Sayer

Prod Company: Academy Films
DOP: Mattias Montero
Director: Kim Gehrig
Producer: Lucy Gossage

Post/Effects: Smoke & Mirrors – NY/London
CD: Sean Broughton/SMNY
Flame Artist: Marios Theodosi/London
Managing Director: Jo Morgan/SMNY
EP: Celest Gilbert/SMNY
Producer(s): Belinda Grew, Paul Schleicher/London
Producer: Lauren Shawe/SMNY

Post/Effects: Rushes/Framestore

Editorial: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest

Audio Post: Factory
Mixer: Ben Firth

Music: Until the Day is Done
Artist: Michael Stipe

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