>We have already showcased AirBnb’s Chinese New Year’s film in our CNY 2020 selection article, but we would like to revisit this spot again in more detail this time, because this cute and heartwarming little animation in reality employed an unbelievable amount of work force from four corners of the globe to produce.
This tremendous coordination of work between China, USA, Spain & Argentina was organized by Final Frontier production company out of Shanghai. To direct and execute the three- and-a half minute 3D film, “Final Frontier partnered up with director Shaofu Zhang and his studio, Taiko, with teams in Los Angeles and Wuhan.”
Final Frontier’s EP Chris Colman talks about how this “perfect fit” team paired up for this emotional film.
Behind The Scenes 幕后花絮
Titled “Fu”, the film tells the story of Jia Jia, a young nurse whose job in the city prevents her from returning to her hometown for the Spring Festival, which of course disappoints her parents, especially her father with whom she has a close relationship with.
At the core of the film is the age old Chinese New year tradition of hanging a ‘Fú’ (meaning ‘blessing’) banner upside down, symbolizing “good luck comes”, tying in to the overall campaign idea of turning traditional concepts on their head; Which in this case is bringing ‘home’ to Jia Jia as her parents come to the city and rent an Airbnb next door to her so that they can be with her during CNY.
Q：How did this collaboration with Shaofu Zhang come about? 是怎么想到和张少甫合作的呢？
Chris C: We’d been talking with Airbnb China’s creatives for quite a while about an idea they had to tell a CNY story using animation. At that stage we were brainstorming, trying to provide a bit of inspiration and sharing advice and recommendations, both creatively and practically for the proaction ahead.
When we received the final brief for the production and we needed to present directors, Shaofu (Zhang) immediately sprang to mind. He and his team had that dream combination of genuine Chinese cultural insight combined with world-class storytelling sensibility and cutting edge execution developed over the years with Disney. It was the perfect fit.”
I’d been in touch with Shaofu (Zhang) and some of his team since way back, not too long after they’d opened Taiko, and met he and Andrew (Chesworth) and the other leadershp in LA while they were in early in production of One Small Step for which they earned an Oscar nomination for 2017 short. When the short came out and blew everyone away, I thought it’d be brilliant to work together one day.
很早之前，就在他们创立太崆动漫工作室后不久，我和（张）少甫以及他的团队就有联系了。我见了Andrew（Chesworth）和其它洛杉矶分部的负责人。当时他们还在创作《冲破天际（One Small Step）》的初期阶段。这部片子后来获得2017年奥斯卡最佳动画短片奖提名。这个短片发布后，每个人都惊呆了。我想如果能和他们合作，那真是太好了。
Zhang Shaofu 张少甫
Q：Tell us about the choice of animation style? 可以说说是如何选择动画片的风格吗？
Chris C: From the outset, Airbnb were clear about their intention, it was important to find a different look to the animation, not just the classic 3D look we’ve seen time and again in the movies. The idea was to find a non-photoreal art style that felt more handmade somehow.Taiko did a great job creating the dry brushed edge feel that retained that graphic, 2D look, despite it actually being all made in 3D.
Colour is an important aspect to storytelling. There is a clear contrast between the scenes where the family is together, where it’s warm, red and gold shades, versus those scenes when Jia Jia (the protagonist) is alone, and things turn darker and desaturated.
Q：Why do you think it’s a relatable story for most viewers? 你为什么觉得这个故事能引起大多数观众的共鸣呢？
Chris C: Each year, CNY sees the biggest human migration on earth, in which hundreds of millions of people travel home to be with their families. It’s an emotional time, especially for those that cannot make the trip for whatever reason – which is an increasingly common reality for many. For me, this story really empathizes with that plight and hits just the right note.
Q：How has the film been received in China? 中国观众对这部影片的反应如何？
Chris C: It’s been hugely well received. The comments I’ve seen have noted how strongly the story resonated with them, lots talking about how it moved them to tears. Of course, we and Taiko have been delighted to hear people love the animation, and gratified by the comments noting the details in the design, especially the sequence of Jia Jia growing up.
Lots have said it made them nostalgic about growing up during a period of enormous development and change in China. Since Taiko’s designers are the target audience, many sharing a similar experience to Jia Jia, they were able to put in a lot of touches that really fitted that period, including a city being built before your eyes in the background.
Q: What were the challenges? 这次的挑战是什么？
Chris C: From a storytelling perspective, Airbnb were clear that they didn’t want a fantasy, but rather a story that Chinese audiences could really relate to.
For us, the timeline was probably the biggest challenge, as it often is. Three-and-a-half minutes in high end 3D, with a special painterly look, along with all the other supporting deliverables, is a tall order in just under four months.
From a technical standpoint, creating that dry brushed edge feel and retaining the graphic 2D look was a major challenge. Taiko and MNPRX worked together to develop a system that could achieve the style, but because of the time pressure, it was about figuring out how to implement it as the film was being made.
FF’s 24-hour pipeline was vital in making it work within the timeframe. With our producers here in Shanghai and Buenos Aires, supporting artists in Spain and Brazil, and working with Taiko in LA and Wuhan, the work pureIy much never stopped. For us it was an exercise in efficient scheduling and professionalism.
*interview excerpts from LLB’s Adam Bennett’s article Jan 13th
节选自1月13日 Adam Bennett（LLB）的采访文章