Ad of the Day: Cute, Quirky Chevy Commercial on the Oscars Was Made for $4,000

We talk to the director

Imagination and ingenuity can drive you almost anywhere—even to the Academy Awards telecast.

So learned Jude Chun, a South Korean independent filmmaker whose delightful minute-long winning entry in Chevrolet and Mofilm's international Oscars competition aired during Sunday night's gala on ABC.

The film-within-a-film, created with co-directors Eunhae Cho and Sunyoung Hwang, shows some imaginative kids making a movie of their own, called "Speed Chaser." Chevy's 2014 Cruze is prominently featured, in both life-size and toy-model versions.

"We started from the fact that our target audience was watching the Oscars telecast, and we wanted to make something that celebrated the magic of movies," Chun tells Adweek.

The clip, chosen from among 72 entries, is part of the automaker's "Find New Roads" campaign, a mantra Chun says also captures the essence of filmmaking. "A budget of 100 millions of dollars might help, but it's really imagination, creativity and passion that get movies made," he says.

The film's authenticity and heart stem from Chun's youthful DIY experiments in moviemaking. "When I was in high school, I used to make videos with my friends," he says. "Just silly stuff like Matrix parodies. We used office chairs as dollies, lamp stands as lighting. I used to hook up two VHS players to a TV, and press play/record/rewind to edit my movies."

Chun's winning Chevy effort was also a low-budget affair. "'Speed Chaser' was shot in a field near Hwaseong City, Korea," he says. "We had one day of principal photography, and a half day for pickups. Our total budget was about $4,000." Still, the performers got as intense as the cast of a Hollywood blockbuster. "Our little actress [Jungwon Lee] was so method that once she started crying, she couldn't stop. Luckily, she nailed it in one take!" says Chun.

As branded content, the film succeeds thanks to its whimsical, soft-sell approach. The Cruze gets a lot of screen time, but that works in the context of the story and never feels intrusive. Best of all, the concept isn't forced, because imagination and creative thinking really can accelerate meaningful endeavors in art and commerce, from designing automobiles to making movies and commercials.

Plus, the kids' low-tech soundtrack choice is awesome. More car commercials should give kazoos a try.

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