MTV has partnered with the Burma Arts Board to produce Burma Viral, using footage of warplanes bombing Burma with flowers as a dramatic call-to-action. Viewers are invited to visit noneofusarefree.org, where they can send messages of support to the people of Burma in honor of their continuing struggles against the notorious practices of their oppressive military government, learn more about the devastating effects caused by the recent cyclone, and find ways to contribute to relief efforts.
The film is being shown on participating MTV networks worldwide, via video-sharing websites around the globe, and in New York’s Times Square, where it was screened for a day on MTV’s 25-by-40 foot HD Jumbotron near 44th Street.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube
The Burma Viral campaign was developed at Ogilvy & Mather Amsterdam, executive creative director Carl Le Blond and agency producer Brenda Bentz van den Berg, with MTV director of social responsibility John Jackson, and Suki Dusanj, founder of the Burma Arts Board.
Filming and post production was directed by directors Jose Gomez and Andre Stringer at Shilo with executive producer (UK) Mark Hanrahan, Stringer’s fellow lead artists Tamir Sapir and David Hill, matte painting artists Mathieu Reynault and Rodeo FX, Marco Giampaolo, Cassidy Gearhart and Noah Conopask, 3D animators Henning Koczy, Richard Cayton, Ohad Bracha, Bren Wilson, Eugen Sasu and Kiel Figgens, 3D artists Christina Ku, Richard Kim, Warren Heimall, Craig Kohlemeyer and Scott Denton, compositors David Hill, Tamir Sapir, Cassidy Gearhart, Noah Conopask and Stieg Retlin, miniature designer Willi Patton, editor Nathan Caswell, sound designer Dante Nou, producer Lindsay Bodanza, and coordinator Danielle Smith.
Shilo has produced a book, We Make It Good, featuring creative design work done by the company.
The soundtrack was performed and mastered by the artists at Good Sounds, Amsterdam.
Behind the Scenes
“As Cyclone Nargis tore across Burma, the world witnessed one of the worst natural disasters in history,” said Suki Dusanj. “Since then, the world has watched the military Junta block aid from reaching those who need it so desperately. It is our hope that this Burma Viral will circulate around the world and into Burma, and bring about the changes necessary to make the aid and rescue efforts effective – and to allow the Burmese people the freedom to enjoy the civil liberties they deserve.”
“This spot somehow talks directly to the emotions we feel about the current humanitarian crisis in Burma,” said John Jackson. “We know that people desperately need help and we also know it is not reaching them. The narrative conjures up a task force that brings a powerful message of support to the people of Burma, and an urgent appeal to donate to the international relief effort.”
Continuing, Jackson explained, “As the hours and days pass, the need grows greater and so too will the aid that is required. A humanitarian disaster is slowly turning into a catastrophe. If at times like this we can use the particular skills we have to help, then the creative power of Shilo and Ogilvy have been brought together at full force to get funds to those that need it. MTV are proud to be part of this collaboration.”
“Since long before this disaster occurred, the people of Burma have been oppressed: They have not been free to express themselves,” said Shilo co-founder, creative director and director André Stringer. “Speaking on behalf of a group of individuals who make art everyday for our livelihoods, we place a tremendous value on personal expression. So when Carl contacted us, shared his script and asked if we wanted to direct it, we jumped at the chance. We immediately realized that this project could help to make a difference for a nation of more than 55 million people being denied the rights we take for granted – and that it would be the most important piece of work we’ve ever created.
“After the cyclone hit,” Stringer went on, “we realized we could make some slight changes to the film and the campaign site, and possibly have an even greater positive impact on the people of Burma at a time when their needs are even more desperate.”
Since the film’s imagery would have been impractical to obtain via live-action cinematography, Shilo chose a very multi-media approach. The visual content was created by Shilo’s artists using Autodesk Maya for 3D, QUBE for managing renders, Mental Ray for rendering, Adobe Photoshop for texturing, Adobe After Effects for compositing, and Final Cut Pro for editing. Reflecting a great amount of audio research, concepting and exploration by Shilo’s team,
“The crux of the film’s story is based in juxtaposition and surprise: An ominous set-up gives way to hope. The flowers are the perfect icon for that,” Stringer said. “My favorite shot involves a really close-up shot of a flower fluttering in front of the camera, where the camera has a lot of shake on it. Seeing that scene made me realize that the flowers had already become characters for us, like they were paratroopers falling on D-Day. Some look really lyrical, beautiful and fluid, and some of them dive with intensity. To me, it’s really cool to be able to take something like a flower and let it become a paratrooper – or a performer that can poetically deliver a powerful message, as these do.”
Jose Gomez, who along with Stringer is co-founder, creative director and director for Shilo, shared his own perspective on this project. “An important goal for each of us, in every project we take on, is getting people to think,” he said. “This project is the ultimate example of that. As directors, we generally regard ourselves as provocateurs, but in this case, we’re actually activists, hoping that those who see this film will help us to make positive differences for the people of Burma.”