A decade after his double Cannes Grand Prix winning short, 'Back to the Start', changed the global conversation around animal welfare, Johnny Kelly returns with a continuation of the farming family epic with the focus this time, on human welfare.
Teaming up with Observatory and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, ‘A Future Begins', like its prequel, is told through exceptionally crafted stop-motion and set to a stellar soundtrack by Grammy-award winning singer, Kacey Musgraves. The singer reimagined a Coldplay classic ten years after Willie Nelson’s ground-breaking cover.
Directed by Johnny, this love letter to the patchwork quilt of family-run farms that make up Chipotle’s supply chain, follows the four season structure with meticulous craft and storytelling at its centre. Viewers follow our now aging Pa from the original film struggling with the farm as his Son studies in the city, the tale of hope concludes with the Son returning to the farm with sustainability and technology on his side reaffirming Chipotle Cultivate Foundation’s ongoing pledge to support the next generation of farmers.
The production consisted of 10 different sets, featuring 82 tiny resin puppets including 12 sheep, 10 cows, 12 pigs, 10 chickens, 12 farm helpers, 10 characters on campus and 16 audience members all captured in one fluid camera move.
Johnny’s commitment to authenticity ensured only real world farming techniques used by Chipotle suppliers were depicted. These include solar panels to provide shade for animals, plots of land dedicated to rewilding and polytunnels to cover Chipotle’s traffic light crop of peppers.
Craft lovers are also treated to nearly ten minutes of behind the scenes gold led by Johnny and supported by his talented team of puppet makers. From the small details of decision making on haircuts and creating travel posters for the subway scene to making a full virtual version of the film in 3D ahead of the shoot, the ambitious project was realised by the team through a genuine love of the story.
Johnny Kelly, director, Nexus Studios says, “It’s a rare opportunity to be handed the keys to a 2-minute stop motion epic, so I was delighted to be able to get the band back together for a sequel. I still love the simplicity of ‘Back to the Start’ but 10 years on the world is a more complicated place (to put it mildly) and it would have felt reductive to remake the last film. In order to work in 2021 this needed further complexity and scale. More nuanced performance. More geographic authenticity. And more dog. At their heart however, the two stories complement each other; the last one was about animal welfare and the thrust of this story is human welfare.”
With the impact of ‘Back to the Start’ still felt following it’s Superbowl debut and results including 300 million earned media impressions and over 80 industry awards, ‘A Future Begins’ also launches with a bang. This time - in a first of its kind TV premiere -launching in its own commercial pod, the short will be broadcast to an estimated audience of 77 million households during the Thanksgiving game between the NFL’s Raiders and Cowboys on November 25th.
The film will be released digitally from November 16th as the centrepiece of a fully-integrated, content-centric campaign including the release of Kacey Musgraves’ 'Fix You' on Spotify, Apple Music and other DSP’s, and QR codes on millions of Chipotle’s recyclable bags through which consumers can watch the full film.