Serviceplan, Director Sorensen Team On BMW's Ramadan Spot About Family, Forgiveness and Coming Together

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Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, May. 8, 2019

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Ad agency Serviceplan and director Sune Sorensen via Big Kahuna Films collaborated on this BMW TV spot which tells a story about two brothers who reconcile during Ramadan, the month of forgiveness observed by hundreds of millions of Muslims annually.

Filmed in Lebanon during a two-day shoot, the "Brothers" commercial features Elie Mitri, a Lebanese actor Sorensen had spotted in a Grand-Prix award-winning film. 

Sorensen shared, “The client and agency took a great leap of faith with me on this film. What started off as a 30 second commercial ended up as an epic 3 minute one-take, and it took a lot of courage for everyone to understand the value of that. I wanted to portray the film’s emotional development with a sense of immediacy by creating a proximity to the actor and his feelings of distress and turmoil while they happened. A pain that nor he, or we, could escape from because they appeared in the moment. This meant going beyond the natural boundaries of traditional commercials - to allow space for the internal process to externalize and to allow uncompromising authenticity with the characters. The strength of this approach became apparent almost the second we started shooting. The actors had room to truly convey their emotional distance and Elie could dig deep into his character’s feelings of remorse and resentment for not being able to reconcile with his brother during such an important month of the year--it was very hard to watch, even behind the camera.”  

The commercial will be featured across on TV across the entire MENA region on Rotana Khaleejiah + MBC Drama (MENA) and Dubai TV.  It will also air online for the GCC region, and on social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube). There is a full-length director’s cut (featured here) as well as 15-second TV trailers and one-minute cuts for social platforms. 

In the director’s cut, the film features a famous song, “Say Something” by A Great Big World (it has several billion hits across social platforms and music streaming services). About the choice of song, Sorensen said, “I spent a great deal of effort getting this song. It meant the world to me. In fact, it so much so that I got in contact with Ian Axel and Chad King personally to convince them why their song was the only right song for me. Everything about this film came naturally to me, it almost spilled out of me, but I needed to feel the music in a way that was equally profound and instant. I adapted over 400 songs to the film during postproduction and we even composed several of our own but none of them felt right. Until I found “Say Something.” Not just because it was poetic, painful and beautiful, but because it told our story exactly the way I always imagined. The song’s emotional progression matched the narrative and actor perfectly, but the song was also meaningful on more levels. Amongst other, I found it symbolically fitting that many people know the song with Christina Aguilera’s voice--thus eliciting a sense of lost companionship similar to that of the story, but on a very personal level directly with the audience themselves; they will be anticipating her voice, but it never comes, and instead we get this powerful, solitary voice of a man in pain, exactly like our actor.” 

Credits

Client BMW Agency Serviceplan Jason Romeyko, worldwide executive creative director; Wayne Fernandes, associate creative director, copy; Victor Farias, associate creative director, art. Production Big Kahuna Films Sune Sorensen, director; Patrik Farra, assistant director; Julie Beiruti, casting director; Niels Thastum, DP; Eddy Rizk, exec producer; Maya Abdou, producer; Claudia Ibrahim, post producer; Sonia Habib, production manager; Fares Corbani, Steadicam operator; Sarah Chaoul, art director; Missy Tohme, wardrobe stylist. Online & VFX Pixelmob Sebastien Leclerc, editor. Performers Elie Mitri, Emile Karaa, Elie Moussa, Joud Mahmoud, Rosie Bou Obeid. Music “Say Something” by A Great Big World

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