Star Films' Jonathan Parkinson directed the heart-warming new Showmax ad about a grandfather trying to connect with his granddaughter, written by Showmax's creative team.
The ad has charmed South Africa's normally cynical Twittersphere: when media personality Anele Mdoda tweeted that it was "so cute," her followers responded with their own stories of how the ad had them in tears.
"I always enjoy working on stories that are real and authentic, so I was really drawn to this script," says Jonathan. "It's a story that every family will understand."
There's A Show For That, Showmax's launch commercials, won Bronze at this year's Loerie Awards, but Love of Stories marks the first campaign created by Showmax's in-house creative team. Jonathan was full of praise for creative director and writer Philippa Heal and the team: "Everyone on the Showmax team was willing to explore, and they appreciated the strong push towards the emotional, rather than the practical, going for 'feel' rather than overloading with too much information."
"Why did we make such an emotional ad?" says Nicola van Ast, head of acquisition for Showmax. "Because SVOD is jargon; internet TV can be damn scary. We needed to bring our brand into people's homes and hearts. Then, just maybe then, they'll be open to being educated on how to use our product."
With Showmax as a client, it was important that the commercial felt as cinematic as the thousands of shows available on 'Everyone's Anywhere TV.' Award-winning DOP Rory O'Grady more than delivered, shooting with anamorphic lenses with that alluring 1:2.39 format. The cold that seeps through the initial frames wasn't just a trick of Nic Apostoli's grade though; Newtown played its part perfectly, gifting them a 'coldest day' to fit the script.
For Jonathan, the real stars of the show were Ernest Ndlovu as the lonely but resilient 75-year-old grandfather and Unathi March as his easily distracted five-year-old granddaughter, who together kept the balance between realism and emotion. "I love working with children, as they are the real magic in life," says Jonathan, who also made the popular Oreo Princess ad a few years ago. "I had seen Unathi in another casting and realized that she would be ideal for this role. It's very rare to come across a five-year-old who can be so relaxed delivering dialogue in front of the camera and a crowd of people. She reminded me so much of the little girl on the Oreo commercial and she was amazing; what a little friend to make, with such a great sense of humour."
Ashley Kadish and Maggie Post produced the spot, which was edited by Graham Smith at Orchestra Blue, to a Michael Kiwanuka cover.
What Twitter is saying:
"Showmax advert with the Nkhulu who watches the panda show so he can chat to the grand daughter!!!! Ahhhhh man so cute." @Anele
"This Showmax ad with the grandad n the granddaughter has me in tears. So sweet man." @VMolapisi
"Hawu bathong this Showmax advert just made me weep." @Just_Jozi
"Omg have you guys seen the Showmax ad with the grandpa & granddaughter?! I am crying. It's sooo cute!" @NiceTshimitYou
"The Showmax ad with the grandpa and granddaughter is so cuuuuute. I love it." @Pixie306
"The Showmax ad with the Mkhulu and granddaughter skyping is everything!! I love it." @MizzBho
"Slow clap for the Showmax ad with the mkhulu skyping his granddaughter." @Qu1xot1k
"The new ShowMax ad with the grandfather & child is so beautiful." @LindiweDube
"The new showmax ad just melts my heart.... mkhulu and granddaughter looking so cute." @tkza2gp
"I love the showmax ad with the grandpa and the baby girl. It's cute AF." @andyeed
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About Jonathan Parkinson
Jonathan Parkinson and Nicole Ackermann have been co-directing as Phi since March 2015. Inspired by the concept of copywriter/art director in advertising, this collaboration brings 35 years of technical and VFX experience (both in camera and post production) as well as a love for performance from Jonathan Parkinson, and a very modern visual approach and great 'eye' from Nicole Ackermann, the art director side of the collaboration. The combination is interesting as both learn from each other, and the combined strengths make for a very strong partnership in the highly competitive world of TV and online advertising. See more of Phi's work at http://starfilms.tv/directors_phi_profile.html.
About Star Films
The Star Film Company is a full-service production house with offices in both Johannesburg and Cape town. Focused on high quality work for top brands, Star has established themselves as one of South Africa's leading production offerings. Relationship-driven and hands-on, Star offers tailored work with unique perspectives from their varying directors: Matthys Boshoff, Phi, Tristan Holmes and Wim Steytler. For more information, visit http://starfilms.tv/.