Amnesty International Death to the Death Penalty

Amnesty International in France is turning up the heat on the death penalty, with this television commercial directed by Pleix, a community of visual effects artists, designers and musicians based in Paris. Heat applied to a series of wax tableaus melts a firing squad, a gallows, a swordsman, an electric chair, leaving just the emblem of Amnesty International, a burning candle. Each of these four executions represent an area or country in the world – shooting (China, Libya, Syria, Viet Nam, Yemen), hanging, Bangladesh, Botswana, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Sudan, Syria), beheading (Saudi Arabia) and electrocution (USA).

Amnesty Death Penalty Firing Squad Melting

Death to the Death Penalty Credits

Death to the Death Penalty was developed at TBWA\Paris and TBWA\Else by creative directors Eric Holden and Remi Noel, creatives Benoit Leroux and Philippe Taroux, and agency producer Maxime Boiron.

Filming was shot and edited by Pleix via Warm & Fuzzy Productions and Gang Films. Post Production was done at Digital District.

Initially, TBWA Paris and Pleix wanted to create the entire spot in camera, shooting real statues created out of wax. But in initial tests it was discovered that it was too difficult to shoot melting wax without it looking like stop-motion, so the film was almost completely done in CG except for a few live action elements. As with all Amnesty International campaigns, this film was created on a voluntary basis. The French collective Pleix, represented by warm&fuzzy in Paris, worked with Parisian post-house Digital District for several months on this CG tour de force to create the photo-real melting of wax.

“The shoot was the easy part of the job,” says Pleix. “I sat in my kitchen filming flames and dripping crème fresh everywhere. The biggest challenge was not to make my girlfriend mad at the mess I was creating. We also did a number of facial scans which enabled us to create extra details on the faces.”

The statues were all sculpted in CG and they were deformed (“melted”) using special software. “Creating the texture of wax was relatively easy to render compared to simulating realistic deformations of wax,” says Pleix. “CG software is great when you are making quick water splashes, but they were unusable to melt things very slowly. So we had to find many tricks to make it work, especially with the melting being the highlight of this project. It was a challenge to the very end.”

Music is “Everyday”, by Carly Comando, the piece used in Noah Kalina’s “Everyday” photographic montage.