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Broken Heart Love Affair Debuts Eerie Cinema Spot for Royal Ontario Museum

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Jordan Hamer and Spencer Ryan’s new ominous ROM work will make you question everything

Broken Heart Love Affair Debuts Eerie Cinema Spot for Royal Ontario Museum

Jump scares, parallel universes, and crazy sound design highlight the cinematic film that signals a turning point for the Royal Ontario Museum.

The Dawn of Life gallery goes as far back as we can see, to the earliest signs of life on earth. When you start to understand the scale of four billion years, and how tiny our lives are in comparison, you naturally have a lot of questions. And as science begins to answer those questions along the journey back in time, new, bigger questions are inevitably uncovered. This never-ending cycle of questions and answers is what inspired the creative idea.

Broken Heart Love Affair had such a talented group of people, full of interesting ideas, working together on this project. Beautiful cinematography, thoughtful sound design, meticulous editing and special effects, and a stellar crew at Radke films came together to make something its super proud of. Every detail mattered, down to the colour treatment by Darling VFX and swirling whispered questions assembled by OSO audio, which distinguish between the two worlds—one in reality, and one meant to represent the boy’s inquisitive mind. There are so many amazing craftspeople in Toronto, and this was an opportunity to let them run wild.

The incredible cast was found by Jigsaw casting. The young lead actor who played both parts is Arjen Liu-Ernsting, and his mom in the spot is in fact his real mom. Broken Heart Love Affair knew the moment the team saw them they were perfect for the film. They both brought a lot of focus and effort to their roles, and even postponed a vacation to make it happen. 

Jordan Hamer, creative director, Broken Heart Love Affair: “This was our first time directing, and our clients at ROM put a lot of trust in us. Their support, decisiveness and collaboration is the reason the work came to life the way it did. It was also a luxury to have access to ROM to scout early and often, which is far from normal. That helped us plan our day to fit into a tight schedule. And to see our first self-directed go out into the world as a 60 second cinema piece was really something special.”

Spencer Ryan, creative director, Broken Heart Love Affair: “We'd love to direct more of our own scripts if clients are open to it. It’s something that you see in almost all other mediums, film, TV, music, but for some reason, you never see it in commercial work, which we’ve always thought is strange. It’s fun, challenging and a chance to create a unified vision, so… why not?

Our goal, with any of our work, is usually to get people to stop and think, and maybe change some people’s perspectives. Hopefully this work does that.”

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ROM – Dawn of Life

Client: Royal Ontario Museum

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer: Lori Davison

VP, Brand and Marketing: Kathryn Brownlie

Marketing Specialist: Kaitlyn Olo


Creative Agency: Broken Heart Love Affair

Chief Creative Officer: Carlos Moreno, Denise Rosetto, Todd Mackie

Chief Strategy Officer: Jay Chaney

Chief Business Officer: Bev Hammond

Creative Director: Jordan Hamer, Spencer Ryan

Writer: Jordan Hamer

Art Director: Spencer Ryan

Agency Producer: Erica Metcalfe

VP, Client Success: Joline Matika


Production House: Radke Films

Director: Jordan and Spencer

Executive Producer: Dan Ford

Producer: Julian Weiman

Director of Photography: Shady Hanna

Assistant Director: Keith Giesbrecht

Production Manager: Erwin Abesamis

Coordinator: David Benchitrit


Curious Child: Arjen Liu-Ernsting

Mom: Jessie Liu-Ernsting

Curious Child Stand In: Isaac Ng


Movi Operator: James Hellyer

1st AC: Richard Gonzales

2nd AC: Andrii Shtakal

VTR/DMT: Jeremy Bugden

Sound: Eric Taylor


Gaffer: Kirill Melamad

Best Boy: Spencer Campbell

3rd Electric: Andre Smith

4th Electric: Rory Sommerville

Package Truck: Steve Sinclair

ESA: Juan Braz

Key Grip: Asmaa El-Rouhi

2nd Grip: Shawn Robertson

3rd Grip: Simon Sealy

4th Grip: Milosz Monicki


Covid Screener: Chelsea Maiato, Lucas Bender

Production Assistant: Liam Gadsby, Finn Downer, Derek McKeon, Erli Bogdoni

Gear Supplier: William F. White

Sound Supplier: Total Two Way


Vehicles: Budget


Editing House: Saints

Editor: Chris Chang

Executive Producers: Michelle Rich, Mackenzie Goodwin

Post-Production House: Darling

Colourist: Kassi Bellamy

Colour Assistant: Will Culverwell, Eric Kingsbury

Executive Producer: Kristen Van Fleet

Producer: Morgan Campbell

Visual Effects: Fort-York

Flame Artist: Melissa Vasiliev

Producer: Valerie Moss

Audio House: OSO

Creative Director: Daenen Bramberger

Executive Producer: Hannah Graham

Genres: People, Storytelling

Categories: Museums and Galleries, Sports and Leisure

Broken Heart Love Affair, Mon, 07 Feb 2022 09:34:55 GMT