In this spot, directed by Sam Mason, we follow a Mazda CX-9 as it travels through stylized CG landscapes inspired by the classic mid-century Work Projects Administration national park posters. To create the graphic look, the representations of this world were projected flat (like a poster or map) with painted textures and then rendered in breathtaking CG, creating a very modern take on the 1940's aesthetic. Sam's desire to bring to life iconic art styles is merged seamlessly with the sleekness of the Mazda CX-9.
Director Sam Mason
Agency Garage/Team Mazda
Production Co. Passion Pictures NY / Strange Beast NY
Producer Eve Strickman
EP Belinda Blacklock
Creative Director Pete Candeland
Designers Gordon Waltho, Kim Dulaney, Sarah Orenstein, Laura Alejo
Animation & Compositing Co. Absolute Post NY
CG Supervisor/ Lead Jasper Kidd
Previs Jasper Kidd, Jim Vidal, Eric Lane
Animators Jim Vidal, Paul Wei, Jasper Kidd, Eric Lane
Modelers Eric Lane, Paul Liaw, Tom Cushwa, Piotr Glabinski, Kenneth Polonski, Jim Vidal, Jasper Kidd
Rigging Paul Wei, Gabriela Hernandez
Textures/ Lighters Alex Scollay, Ed Manning, John Volny, Jake Slutsky, Kevin Couture, Jasper Kidd, Eric Lane
Compositors Dirk Greene, Jasper Kidd, Jimmy Bullard, Alex Gabucci, Betty Cameron, Jake Slutsky
Producer Bugs Russell
EP Melanie Wickham
Obsessed with world-building, Sam Mason grew up inspired by artists such as Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, and Yuri Norstein—auteurs known for creating unique and immersive worlds. His passion to create beautiful and fantastical landscapes embedded with secret languages landed him at Central Saint Martin's in London. His student short won the attention of many studios, not to mention a spot in that year's Annecy circuit.
It also led to his mentorship with acclaimed director Pete Candeland. This partnership launched his directing career on worldwide campaigns for Coke, Toyota, Mazda, and Honda as well as music videos with Sofi Tukker.
In terms of craft, Sam is always excited about applying a style of CG that reflects his lo-fi/hi-fi hybrid approach to making things. He prefers to utilize emerging technologies to apply a physicality and textured realness to his films. He especially likes to start with real objects and from there set up constraints that he can work within, like he did with his collaboration with Hugo Marie for Little Things, where they scoured vintage markets for objects that could ground the film.
With a romantic nod back to the textured details of the Baroque movement, to the reduced instincts of Bauhaus, Sam seeks to create a middle ground aesthetic—a style that straddles both animation and traditional film. The excitement around his methods is a continued push to find new ways of creating a moving painting. The undercurrent of his work is the desire to make something romantic and playful; not overly designed, yet rich with feeling and detail, and always rooted in history. In Sam's own words, his work is never cool but is always playing with the vulnerable.