The horrifying repercussions of drinking and driving bluntly tumble from the screen in an emotive film for the New Mexico Department of Transportation written and directed by Smoke & Mirrors New York’s Sean Broughton.
Broughton designed the spot specifically to deal with New Mexico’s plague of drinking and driving with children in the vehicle. The gripping story begins with a man in a prison cell, tottering on a chair, head in hands, clinging to sanity. A ghostly, bludgeoned child appears before him, leans close to his face, and whispers, “Daddy,” causing him to tumble backwards, screaming. The narrative then unwinds in reverse, spiraling from the little girl’s lifeless body laying among the twisted wreckage of a catastrophic auto accident to the pair first jumping into the truck to the man downing endless cocktails at a party.
Broughton worked closely with NM police and emergency crews to create a realistic and terrifying scene that could be shown during peak U.S. TV viewing hours.
“The challenge was to shock this group of adults into realizing their actions have real-life consequences,” says Broughton. “It frightens me that these people are out there thinking it’s ok to drink and drive with children in the car and risk killing whole families. The pain of losing a child has such deep-running consequences for so many people; it must stop.”
Demien Barba skillfully lit every scene in a hectic one-day shoot. “Demien was brilliant,” noted Broughton. “He’s a joy to have on any shoot, but with this tight turnaround, his indispensible genius really came through.” Broughton collaborated closely with the creative team at VWK on all aspects of the spot. “Both Danny Lewin and Lonnie Anderson brought so much support to the project; you really felt beholden to their trust and undying passion,” Broughton stated.
The spot began airing in November 2009, with a longer version destined to play on the Internet.
About Smoke & Mirrors
New York and London-based design, animation and VFX studio, Smoke & Mirrors was founded by COO Sean Broughton (NY), Penny Verbe (UK) and Mark Wildig (UK). A creative and artist-driven company synonymous with vision and originality since its inception, Smoke & Mirrors has consistently succeeded because of its collaborative approach and ability to build lasting creative relationships with directors, producers, agencies and clients alike. Production in the New York office is lead by Broughton, MD Jo Morgan, and Head of Production Sue Romweber. Diverse projects range from work on the Harry Potter and Bond film series, to commercial campaigns for Mercedes, Burger King, Miller Lite and Sirius.
Client: New Mexico DOT
Spots Title: Some Things Can’t Be Reversed
Air Date: November 2009
Art Director: Daniel Lewin
Copywriter: Sean Broughton
CD: Lonnie Anderson
Producer: Willie Ford
Agency Principal: Richard Kuhn
AE: Webb Johnson
Prod Company: Smoke & Mirrors NY / Black Sheep Productions
Director: Sean Broughton
DOP: Demien Barba
Editor: Crandall Miller
Producer: Melissa Maxwell
Executive Producer: Corina Dennison
Grading: Smoke & Mirrors NY
Colorist: Ben Eagleton
Post/Effects: Smoke & Mirrors NY
CCO: Sean Broughton
Lead VFX/Flame Artist: Sean Broughton
Designer/Animator: Steve Parish, Mike Donovan, Wei Louie
VFX Producer: Paul O’Beirne
Sound Design: Audio Engine
Sound Designer: David Wolfe
Shoot Location: Albuquerque, NM