On Thursday 28th July, the 2022 Commonwealth Games open in Birmingham, England. The XXII Commonwealth Games, or as commonly known, Birmingham 2022 is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth, a 54-member humanitarian coalition of countries (full list available here). All events will be televised on the BBC, throughout the 12 days of the games. BBC Creative commissioned independent production studio KODE and director Harry Cauty to create ‘It’s A Brum Thing’ a 40’ multi-disciplinary animation that celebrates the home of this year's games, Birmingham.
James Cross, creative director, BBC Creative said “We set out to make a film that not only informs, but really celebrates Birmingham and the Midlands, not just in story, but in the making too. It was so important to us to live up to the Brum Ting by using local talent throughout, from the music through to the multiple animators. The result is so brilliant and entertaining, and we’re really proud of it too. Although as a Midlander, I really don’t think anyone should attempt to swim in the canals around Brindley Place in real life.”
Set to Friendly Fires track, It’s a Brum Thing, famous faces of Birmingham feature throughout the stop-motion, 2d, live-action collage, including British greats such as comedian’s Lenny Henry and Guz Khan, the musician’s Goldie, Ozzy Osbaorne, Lady Leshurr and Jaykae, with sporting talent’s Dina Asher-Smith, Aled Davies, Rhys McClenaghan, Katie Archibald, Laura Kenny, Keely Hodgkinson, Laura Muir, Emiy Campbell, Jack Laugher, Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott; accompanied by TV presenter Cat Deeley, actor Kenny Baker and one of the screens most loved bad men, Tommy Shelby.
“The more you dig into the story of Birmingham, the more gems you discover. From its rich industrial heritage, its music scene, food scene, the icons of entertainment that hail from there, and the diverse communities that have come to call it home. This campaign is a homage to the city hosting this year’s Commonwealth Games. Some of Birmingham’s finest artists and creators were involved in the making of it: Ikki Dhesi, Yamination Studios, Superfreak and a bostin soundtrack by the Friendly Fire Band.” said James Wood, head of production, BBC Creative
“What an absolute privilege it has been to work with such a diverse and inspiring group of artists during this project. I loved how much this brief was about making Birmingham the hero. Where the BBC wanted to represent as many people and places as possible, I wanted to do the same when it came to the animation team behind the film.” said Harry Cauty, director, KODE
Using a variation of styles gave the BBC and Cauty the freedom to pepper the film with Easter eggs, which perfectly suited the animation style of Smoking Hippo and Birmingham born and raised Ikki Dhesi. Working with Lobster Studios allowed Cauty to step even further out of reality; using their charming and friendly style, he was able to see huge athletes stepping into the city, juxtaposed with a bull charging down the street.
The film ends on a stop motion miniature build from Yamination, who are also based in Birmingham, which eases it back into reality, reflecting back to the live action start of the film. All imagery is tied together under the color pallets of the Birmingham City Film. The styles all come together to create something that feels together whilst jumping between vastly different styles.
“There are so many nods to Birmingham throughout the film, blink and you’ll miss them. I was keen to move through multiple styles and bring them together seamlessly. I absolutely love that the film is full to the brim with ideas, people and places; so much so that each time someone sees the ad they may spot someone or something they didn’t the last time they saw it - making for a new experience each time it’s viewed.” said Harry Cauty, director, KODE
The work aired during the Wimbledon final and will be shown throughout the lead up to the games and during the event across digital and television.