The People of Burma (Updated with Q&A)

QuickTime version

I think this new :90 PSA for the people of Burma is my favorite Shilo piece to date. This collaborative effort was conceived with Carl Le Blond, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Amsterdam, John Jackson, Director of Social Responsibility, MTV Networks and Suki Dusanj, Founder of The Burma Arts Board.

Every scene is full of beautiful details. From the modeling down to the grain pass, everything is coordinated to create a lush visual experience perfectly coordinated with the music. My favorite moment of choreography comes as the flowers catch the wind, visually echoing the piano’s accents as both the flowers and the music downward.

The closing type treatment is a tasteful finish. Letting choice words linger in each set was a subtle but powerful move.

This movie is launching today on all the major video sharing sites. It’s also apparently broadcasting on MTV’s HD Jumbotron on 44th street here in NYC, which is probably worth checking out if you’re in the area. The viral is intended to raise awareness about the plight of the people of Burma and drive traffic to For more in-depth political and historical background, check out The Burma Campaign.

Full credits

UPDATE:Shilo’s Andre Stringer, the lead creative on this project, took time to answer some questions for us.

How and why was Shilo was chosen for this project?
We joined forces with a really great group of people to create this piece. The purpose was to raise awareness to the Burmese peoples’ ongoing peaceful protests against their military government’s notorious human rights violations.

Now with the ongoing crisis and the devastation caused to Burma by the recent Cyclone Nargis, we feel that it is even more important to spread the word and raise awareness and most importantly, try to bring aid to people in need. Our intent is to help bring about positive changes for the people of Burma — both as they relate to their ongoing human rights crisis as well as this tragic weather-related disaster.

What was the timeline and number of people that worked on the project?
It took us about 9 weeks to make this from concept to completion. We had so many amazing people working on this — man.. to see everyone check out the full credits here:

What were Shilo’s inspirations for the look of the project?
We wanted to make something that would have an impact on people. That was at the forefront of our thinking. It was really important to make something that would also be really immersive for the viewer. Something that would move people. Something that might communicate our passion for freedom of expression and be able to connect with people worldwide.

In thinking about the tools that we have as artists, and in thinking about the medium we work in, we thought that building a piece that was really gestural and stylized — almost painterly would be a great way to approach this it. By using matte paintings and hand—built sets, we wanted to bring a human touch and sensibility to the piece.

When and how the music was incorporated?
The music played a huge role in setting the tone and pacing of the piece. We knew that it would be huge in setting the right mood so it had to be perfect. We listened to a lot of tracks when we were cutting the first previz edits and when we heard Chopin’s nocturns, we knew we found the right music. It had all the right elements, movement, and form.

Dante Nou who was working in—house with us took the two pieces we had roughly cut together and started tweaking them. Nate, our editor had some ideas about cadence and drawing out notes and keys and we just started fucking with it. By the time we finished the edit, the music had developed equally—it was then the foundation of what we took to Good Sounds. They replayed the original pieces and put their own loveliness in the mix—more sound design and tweaking, and by the time we finished the picture the music had finished as well.

When you were presented with the treatment for this spot did you feel extra motivation or pressure because of the serious nature of the message?
I think we felt both extra motivation & pressure — but in the best possible way. This was a chance to pool all of our collective resources as artists to make something amazing — for a really important cause. We felt really compassionate toward what is happening and this piece is our way of contributing and forming a moment of solidarity with the struggle of the Burmese people.

It is a rare opportunity to be part of a global conversation, a dialog on a global scale with the global community. We used the voice we have, as Shilo, as artists, to reach out and help add to a conversation that is happening worldwide.

We had an amazing script from Carl Le Blond (Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam) and we knew right away it was great. This offered a perfect chance to join with an important group of people by contributing the full depth of our talents and try to make a big impact on an important cause. In our original effort to bring about positive change for the people of Burma, our efforts have become even more relevant due to this weekend’s cyclone that ravaged the area, killing thousands.

Please join us in showing your support for this cause. Here are some helpful sites: