U.K. cinema sales company Pearl & Dean pays tribute to another "unsung hero" of the movie industry in its latest ad -- a funny faux documentary chronicling the fictional "tumbleweed trainer" of Western moviemakng.
The brand, well-known for running ads with instantly recognizable music before the movie plays in any U.K. independent cinema, launched a campaign featuring fellow unsung heroes of cinema a year ago with a spot that pays tribute to a "back of the head" actor.
Now the same agency, Brothers & Sisters, has come up with a totally original idea for a movie industry character -- a mysterious woman employed on the sets of Westerns to train the tumbleweed to roll across the set at the right moment. She's a "lady no self-respecting director could do without," according to the voiceover in the black and white film, as we see her teaching the tumbleweed how to tumble, and sometimes having to be "cruel to be kind."
Andy Fowler, executive creative director, told Creativity: "A lot of people don't know that some of the great Westerns also had their own "making of" films. We were inspired by watching a behind-the-scenes documentary about the John Wayne film, 'The Searchers,' and based the look and feel on that."
The black-and-white film, directed by thirtytwo (aka Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace) through Pulse Films, was shot in Spain in "spaghetti Western" country. Paying homage to the genre, the ad is shot in 16mm and 35mm film and the team used vintage recording equipment, including microphones from the 1940s, to make the voiceover. The score was recorded by a real orchestra and the 1950s set workers were allowed to smoke on screen. Casting the tumbledweed trainer was also key, says Fowler: "We wanted her to look enigmatic and other-worldly."
The film willl run in cinemas and on digital channels from today.