Cartier and Digital District Launch ‘The Odyssey’ Short Film – |
Collaborating with multimedia artist and award winning commercials director Bruno Aveillan, who has made promotional spots for everyone from Swarovski and Lanvin to Time Warner, Nintendo and Coca Cola, Digital District were tasked with bringing to life a unique and ambitious three-and-a-half minute voyage into the history of and inspiration behind Cartier.
The focus of the short film is on a panther–the instantly recognizable symbol of the Cartier brand–as he takes a trip around the globe and encounters key moments and locations from the jewellery-makers’ sumptuous history. He comes face to face with a golden dragon in China, for example, and visits an Indian palace built on an elephant’s back and filled with Cartier’s famous animal jewellery pieces, before meeting supermodel Shalom Harlow at the Grand Palais in Paris, the birthplace of Cartier.
In bringing this luxurious voyage to the screen, Digital District had not only to build a fantastical universe, but also create the life-like panther that lies at the heart of the film. “It seemed clear to me that the magic of the film essentially hinges on our capacity to work with the Panther from start to finish,” says Aveillan. Capturing the essence of the Panther, along with the beautifully rendered fantasy world it inhabits, took a special effects team of around 50 designers working for over six months.
Another particular aesthetic and technical challenge came with the panther’s one-to-one with the heavenly dragon in China. This key sequence is inspired by Cartier’s Chimera Collection, and so the dragon’s body is made of precious metals and gleaming with colour. Digital District’s technician’s spent a great deal of time building the dragon to Aveillan’s precise specifications; while its body is all about texture, the features of its face are faithful to the wooden sculptures seen in the roofs of old Chinese temples. The team also had to work on a scene in which the panther leaps aboard an old-style plane, an exact replica of one built by Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont.
Throughout all of the special effects work, Digital District were aware that the special effects had to be seamless, in order for the commercial to play like a feature film and resonate with audiences. “This project has been treated like a real movie,” Cartier UK’s executive chairman Arnaud M Bamberger said at a preview screening in London in early March. “We wanted the best special effects, a big director, an incredible model and props to intertwine with our incredible history. We wanted a movie we would be proud to show to Steven Spielberg.”