To promote the October 17th Channel 4 and Cancer Research fundraiser Stand Up To Cancer 4Creative reimagined the typical disaster film with a twist: instead of human’s facing extinction, it’s cancer cells.
A project over a year in the making, 4Creative and production company Nexus create a world of cancer cell blobs inhabiting a modern city, created utilizing 2D paintings and 3D models. The overpopulated urban environment is disrupted by a mysterious blue orb and soon inhabitants are spontaneously combusting left and right. At the end of the spot, it the environment is finally revealed as a microscopic world which a scientist is testing new anti-cancer drugs on.
As directors Smith & Foulkes explained to Creative Review, personifying cancer posed some distinct challenges. “We wanted to steer away from the obvious route of showing cells as a bunch of grotesque alien germs, but we were also acutely aware of not making them too human or cute,” the pair said. “We also had to find a way to illustrate the new therapies, drugs and scientific breakthroughs that are fighting cancer. We wanted their arrival to be initially magical and mysterious, so we used a glowing blue orb, an unexplained light descending upon a shadowy world.”
The result is a highly unusual approach to raising cancer awareness. While the spot risks viewers sympathizing with the cancer cells (before they are revealed as such) it does make for a visually striking effort that stokes the imagination and entertains while raising awareness for a good cause.
Creative Directors: Chris Bovill, John Allison
Creative: Pablo Gonzalez de la Pena
Directors: Smith & Foulkes
Production Company: Nexus
Live Action Production Company: 4Creative
Live Action Director: Keith McCarthy
Editor: Paul Hardcastle, Trim
Sound Design: Anthony Moore, Dan Beckwith, Tom Joyce, Factory
Music Production Company: Siren