Toyota's "Upstream" Uplifts, Inspires; Tarsem Directs Super Bowl :60 For Saatchi


Robert Goldrich
Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021


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Tarsem directed via RadicalMedia this moving Toyota spot, titled “Upstream,” which centers on the journey of paralympian Jessica Long, a Team Toyota athlete.

Created by Saatchi & Saatchi in partnership with Dentsu, the :60, which broke during the Super Bowl telecast, features Long swimming through milestone scenes over the course of her life, starting with a depiction of the Russian orphanage from which she was adopted. The camera then cuts to her parents (played by actors) receiving the emotional call that they would be adopting a baby girl, but with the news that her legs would need to be amputated due to a rare condition. The scenes following show a young swimmer depicting Jessica, hands on hips ready to compete, knowing she’s different from other children, yet remaining resilient. The spot continues with Jessica competing in her quest to greatness, overcoming all obstacles as she becomes a Paralympic legend.

“Upstream” wraps with the supered message and voiceover, “We believe there is hope and strength in all of us.”


Client Toyota Agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Dentsu Jason Schragger, Keichi Higuchi, chief creative officers; Fabio Costa, executive creative director; Marc d’Avignon, group creative director; Yusong Zhang, Alice Blastorah, associate creative directors, art directors; Britt Wilen, associate creative director, copywriter; Rodrigo Vargas, executive producer; Stephanie Dziczek, sr. producer; Kristen Hosack, sr. music supervisor; Mark Turner, chief strategy officer. Production RadicalMedia Tarsem, director; Jim Bouvet, exec producer; Jeremy Barrett, line producer; Paul Meyers, DP. Production Services AFS Productions, Cape Town, South Africa, and Los Angeles Dale Kushner, Brin Kushner, exec producers. Editorial Final Cut Joe Guest, editor; Suzy Ramirez, exec producer; Ana Orrach, head of production/producer; Evan Bluestein, assistant editor. Telecine Company 3 Jill Bogdanowicz, colorist. VFX Framestore Alex Thomas, creative director; Katharine Buckley, VFX producer; James Razzall, president, advertising, North America; Emily Rawl, James Gemmell, coordinators; Marguerite Cargill, Carlos A. Gomez, Theo Maniatis, Flame artists; JD Yepes, 2D lead; Alexander Osvaldsson, Paul Krist, Michael Miller, Eva Flodstrom, Belinda Chen, Piotr Bednarczyk, 2D artists; Andrew Thompson, Cosku Ozdemir, Kevin Gillen, Kira Yu, Marco Marenghi, Richard Shallcross, Sean Dollins, Soren Barton, Taylor Hodgson-Scott, Todd Herman, Walter Fulbright, CG artists. Music The Elements Music, Santa Monica, Calif. Norman Kim, composer; Kristina Iwankiw, executive music producer. Sound Design LSD, Santa Monica, Calif. Michael Anastasi, sound designer; Kai Paquin, assistant sound designer; Susie Boyajan, exec producer; Kayla Phungglan, sr. producer. Audio Post Lime Studios, Santa Monica, Calif. Matt Miller, mixer; Ian Connie, assistant mix engineer; Susie Boyajan, exec producer; Kayla Phungglan, sr. producer.

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