Oscar winner Laurent Witz directs animated short “Long Live New York” for Y&R NY
If you had seen Mr. Hublot, the animation that won the Best Animated Short Film Oscar earlier this year, you knew that you were seeing the work of a real talent. Well, actually make that two impressive talents, writer/director Laurent Witz along with Alexandre Espigares. The two continue to work out of their Luxembourg-based company Zeilt Productions.
However, while a public service spot aimed at increasing the number of organ donors in New York might not seem like the most high profile project to introduce these two to the US, that’s the way it happened. “Long Live New York”, handled by Y&R New York, marks the Zeilt studio’s first project for a U.S. ad agency.
Created for the New York Organ Donor Network’s Long Live New York campaign – which includes a website, LongLiveNY.org and streaming on Facebook, Hulu and Say Media – the short was directed by Witz who also served as the project’s executive producer, DP, a renderer and compositor.
This is some calling card. The one minute and 23 seconds spot has a unique feel, whether it’s from the retro graphics and color handling, music (recorded in Europe using the Macedonia Radio Symphonic Orchestra), or individuality of the animated characters, you can see this team is going somewhere. As Y&R NY sent staff to Europe to help oversee music and other production, you can see they aren’t treating this production as just another tax write off for civic responsibility. The talent and efforts show, as the spot looks 9/10ths of the way to what top tier houses like Pixar deliver.
It’s great to see such top animation talent working for a local shop such as Y&R New York, and not immediately jumping on some big national campaign. Of course their subtle sensibilities probably wouldn’t fit a company selling burgers or cars, but who knows? In any case, such talent can probably pick and choose amongst a slew of offers.
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