Hope blooms for Burma

US studio Shilo has created a viral message in support of the Burmese people against the twin horrors of the recent cyclone and the continued oppression by its military leaders.

“We knew immediately after getting the script that we wanted to be involved, hands-down, no second guessing,” says Andre Stinger, director and co-founder of creative production company Shilo.

“Our reaction was genuine and heartfelt. It’s not difficult to feel this way after reading such a powerful script. We were immediately hyped on the concept and signed on to bring the script to life.”

And so began what Shilo believes to be its most important creative project yet. The result is a 90-second CG viral public-service message, in which hordes of bombers descend on Burma, only to release payloads of flowers and the message that the world supports the Burmese people.

The project was a true collaborative effort: its seeds were sown in a conversation between Carl Le Blond, Ogilvy Amsterdam’s executive creative director, John Jackson, head of social responsibility at MTV.

Shilo scooped the spot after Le Blond saw their short film The War. “Carl had written a script with some pretty articulate ideas of how the words might come to life,” explains Stinger.

“He basically provided us with an emotional expectation, and the way that could come to life he left up to us.” From the initial approach, Shilo kicked off by researching Burma’s history and current situation, and pulling together a library of footage and photography.

The deeper the team delved into the continuing oppression of the Burmese people by the country’s military junta (which has ruled Burma since 1962), the more attached they felt to the project.

The team focused their efforts on creating a viral that would speak to people worldwide. “We were really fortunate in that we were given full creative freedom,” says Stinger.

“When we got the script, we just ran with it. As you can imagine, it’s pretty rare to be given such range in creative contribution and it was a huge motivational force for us when we set out to make this piece.

"We knew it had to be amazing. Obviously, this put extra pressure on us but in the best possible way in that it inspired us to work above and beyond our expectations.”

The initial challenge wasn’t the extensive CG or previz, but the audio score, says Stinger. The team needed an arrangement that would capture the mood and deliver an emotive impact, but as the spot was a viral, it needed to be a piece that crossed international boundaries.

Shilo hit on two Chopin pieces, and the score helped mesh with the visual language that was being crafted. The spot also called for extensive, richly detailed matte paintings, which ended up being the stars of the spot, says Stinger.

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