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Future East Film pushes the boundaries of storytelling with new Amazon campaign

Grounding even its wildest ideas, in reality, Future East is known for pushing the limits of live action and CGI storytelling. Their recent commercial for Amazon Prime Day is just the beginning of an avalanche of inspired content that fuses the physical with the digital. 

The Amazon Prime ad is a three-part interactive film, the first of its kind in India. After watching the first part, the audience can click and choose their own ending, straight on their phones. Future East’s interactive, creative, content and production capabilities made this possible for the first time in India.

Amazon’s Boxtropolis characters were taken out of their animated world and brought to life, re-worked as live action. The spot opens when a large, mysterious truck appears, bang in the middle of a busy metro station. Characters made out of cardboard boxes climb out, play music, roller-skate, act in films and give away products, transforming a dull workday into a grand celebration.

Bringing these animated characters to life posed its own challenges. Each character was engineered and built specially for these films. The costume and design team managed to create 13 Amazon characters in a span of just a few days, with a series of complex mechanisms that would allow movement. Combining live action puppet-like characters, 3D facial animation, and miniatures, Future East successfully allowed these animated characters to interact with the crowd in the manner of an activation film.

They partnered with Amazon, YouTube, and digital agency 20 Watts to conceptualize, design, and develop the interactivity, in a manner rare for a traditional film production company.  YouTube programmers were flown in from Singapore to write the code for annotations, which could be clicked via mobile phones. Braving a virtually impossible timeline of 10 days (from start to delivery), four films for Amazon Prime Day (July 16), were created. Within three days of Amazon India posting the ad, YouTube saw three million organic views on the post and had more than five million views by the end of the month.

Hemang Chheda, Producer, “One of the challenges of this project was time and complexity. We had to find costume-mavericks who could create these Boxtropolis characters very quickly to the exact brief of Amazon’s design team. There was no time for testing. This presented unique production challenges. Since the entire body was made of cardboard and needed mechanisms for movement, the motion of the characters was restricted –we really didn’t know whether everything would just fall apart on the shoot! And, yes, sometimes arms did fall off! We fixed some of this in VFX, and also added expressions in 3D. Due to the short delivery dates, we had a massive VFX team working all day and night to complete the films. The brief we got from Amazon was to make the brand synonymous with fun and generosity. So we created four ads that did just that.”

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