With a reputation for quirky ads to accompany quirky films, HALAL’s latest spot for cinema chain Cineville is the perfect reminder of why at the cinema, there’s something for everyone. From comedy to thriller, fantasy to romance and even the odd Mean Girl reference, there’s always something to look forward to when sitting in front of the big screen.
This latest campaign is directed in a Hollywood-style manner and fittingly it encompasses a range of genres with a fun, jovial element that makes it memorable and likeable at the same time. Playing with the phrase ‘Goeie Films’ aka Good Films, the directors Thessa Meijer and Anna Maria van ’t Hek incorporate humour into the piece while also including their personal film inspirations throughout.
Thessa and Anna talk to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about Wimie Wilhem’s god-like voiceover, an unforgettable moment with a runaway horse and how all the characters have an unexpected story arc that makes them stand out.
LBB> Cineville has a quirky style when it comes to its ads. What was the brief for this one?
Thessa> Cineville and KesselsKramer invited us to give a new interpretation of “Goeie Films” (“Good Films”) because a good film can be anything! It just depends on your mood and desire at that moment. Sometimes you want something that tickles your brain or you want to fall in love with a character. Maybe you just like to fall asleep in the warm and soft cinema chair, or you want something REALLY LOUD that makes it impossible to think about the real world.
LBB> The voiceover sets the tone really well. Was this the original script or did it evolve as you went along? If so, how?
Anna > It was the original script. But the voice itself was something that came up along the process. We had the idea of using a women’s voice as we wanted to break the rule of using the typical masculine film trailer voice. The voice had to be strong, almost like an omniscient god who is telling us the truth about ‘good films’, but we also wanted to keep the humour in it. That’s how we ended up with the beautiful voice of actress Wimie Wilhelm.
LBB> We can see some recognisable characters we’ve seen before. How did you choose the characters to include within this spot?
Thessa> We wanted to give a new twist to all the recognisable characters we introduce. So there’s a typical blockbuster Alpha Man, but from the waist down, he isn’t as tough as he seems. The wounds and sweat on his forehead don’t come from a cool fight scene, but from him drinking a bit too much the night before.
LBB> The appearance of the horse is truly surprising and its mane is luscious! How was it working on set with a four-legged cast member? Were there any unexpected moments?
Anna> Ha! Yes, there were. Of course, we are huge animal lovers and we would never want the horse to be stressed or anything. We installed a huge carpet for her hooves and also for the cinema owner to create a floor if she had to poop. We bought a lot of hay so she would be relaxed and just had the illusion she was having a random lunch in a different city haha. As we wanted her to lift up her head we had to figure out something that would grab her attention.
Nothing seemed more interesting than the hay for her, so her owner thought of something that worked surprisingly well! He played a sound on YouTube of other horses who were ‘calling for help’. That’s when she lifted her head, but also it was her call to run away from the set and help her friends out. As she escaped the set she did poop in the hallway of the cinema, of course just next to the carpet.
LBB> This ad has the feeling of being an amalgamation of lots of films, how did you go about giving them all an individual look and feel?
Thessa> Anna, Hedy and I discussed the film genres we love most and each chose the ones we are most inspired by. The combination of animation and horror is something you don’t see often, so it was really interesting for Hedy to work on that one. Anna and I worked closely together with DP Tim Kerbosch, to make sure the different genres have distinctive colours, camera movements and rhythms, but also work well together in the edit.
LBB> The editing and voiceover fit perfectly. Did the edit pose any challenges and if so, what were they?
Anna> Sometimes it was difficult for us to judge if all these different genres were working as a whole. Telling a genre in one shot was a challenge for us, but would it be clear for the viewers if they saw the ad? We think it worked surprisingly well. The audience of the ad are film lovers of course, so this helps a lot.
LBB> This ad really makes us want to go to the cinema and watch a movie. What’s your favourite movie and did it make it into the ad?
Anna > Great to hear! For me, cinema is about the realisation of your imagination. La grande Belezza is one of my favourite movies because it has so much dreamlike imagery in it. The horse shot was inspired by a dream I had, so it’s a very small ode to the exploration of our own fantasy.
Thessa> I love chick flicks and believe they don’t always get the appreciation they deserve. Some of them really are GREAT films. So it was amazing to pay a tribute to some of my favourite characters: Regina George, Cher Horwitz and Elle Woods with her chihuahua. There’s also a beautiful blue easter egg from the costume designer in the background, that true chick flick connoisseurs might recognise.