A new spot for the U.S. Census Bureau aimed specifically at the country's growing Latino community began airing nationwide last week, with the goal of increasing the participation of Latin Americans in the 2010 Census. The colorful, warm and imaginative spot is a key component of an integrated campaign from GlobalHue Latino targeted to America's Latino population, which consists of nearly 47 million people and comprises the country's second largest (and fastest growing) ethnic group. Artfully combining live-action cinematography and stylized animation, the :30 "Community" spot showcases the full talents of the filmmakers from U.S. creative production company Shilo.
"After analyzing the results of the 2000 Census, it became very important to ensure that the voices of Latin Americans are heard loudly and clearly in 2010," said Amany Mroueh, GlobalHue Latino's creative director. "Knowing that participation determines how funds are allocated for public education, parks, and community and other vital public services, we partnered with Shilo to craft an artful and compelling film that would engage the hearts and minds of our audience."
According to Shilo co-founder and creative director Jose Gomez, the agency's Amany Mroueh, associate CD Felipe Godinez, senior copywriter Gerard Garolera and executive producer Rosa Matos provided a thoughtful script, where a young girl uses clay to create a community of her dreams, and a voiceover begins in Spanish, "Your daughter spent hours and hours designing the community of her dreams... You will be able to help make it a reality in about 10 minutes," and ends with, "It's in our hands. U.S. 2010 Census."
"We loved the original idea and the metaphor of the census as clay in people's hands," Gomez explained. "To us, when you're filling out a census form, you're imagining what your community can be, and we wanted to infuse that sense of imagination into the spot. Everyone embraced that idea, and in the finished spot, the community the little girl creates is connected to her imagination through our visual storytelling."
After casting Brianna Gonzalez as their talent, Gomez, Shilo's project ACD Mike Slane, director of photography Martin Ahlgren and their team chose Gary's Loft in Brooklyn as their film location. In constructing their set, they built a moveable wall that gave them flexible use of the loft's natural light and existing room structures. The live-action cinematography was captured on 35mm film using the 435 Xtreme 35mm motion picture camera and an array of custom lenses.
Shilo's West Coast executive producer Santino Sladavic detailed some the signature craftsmanship behind the design of the spot's animated "clay" elements. "Jose is truly a master at character creation and animation, as we've all seen in many different types of projects over the years," he said. "Before he personally designed the clay community with characters, vehicles, buildings, parks, clouds and stars, he put a lot of thought into every facet, and he set our entire team's sights on developing a style of claymation that's unique to Shilo."
Indeed, Gomez, Slane, 3D lead Blake Guest and their fellow artists pursued that challenge with a specific mindset. "Our goal was to ensure that every character or clay creation reinforced Brianna's charming, easy-going personality, so we did things like making the characters very simple in design," said Gomez. "Then, based on our extensive motion studies of clay, we used actual fingerprints and impressions in the CG renderings to make them feel more real, while using subsurface scattering techniques to take the look closer to the border between reality and imagination. At the end of the day, we just hoped it would feel really warm and perfect, and that it would make people smile."