Sam gives Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift with new Christmas advert

16 December 2016

Christmas adverts are an eagerly awaited tradition nowadays and NTU alumnus Sam Fell (BA Hons Fine Art 1990) is the director behind Sainsbury’s ground-breaking 2016 offering, The Greatest Gift

The feature combines cutting edge animation techniques and traditional stop motion to create an uplifting advert which focuses on the importance of sharing the gift of time with family and friends at Christmas. The story is told through a song composed especially for the piece by Bret McKenzie, of comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, and performed by James Corden. The campaign will also help to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, to help provide accommodation for families of children at the hospital.

Centred around a character called Dave, as he tries to strike a balance between a busy job and an equally busy family over the Christmas period, the ad took an epic seven months to make with over 180 people working on it – creating over 1,000 puppet faces in the process! 

“On this project we had to create 26 characters and 15 locations and develop from scratch a 3D rapid prototype facial animation and printing system. We were constantly setting up beautiful, meticulously dressed sets and characters then shooting five seconds, throwing them away and moving onto the next set up. It was exhausting!” said Sam.

Sam, currently of Passion Pictures, is no stranger to success in his field, having been involved in an impressive variety of projects for studios including Aardman Animations, Laika and DreamWorks. Perhaps most notably, he co-wrote and directed the hugely successful Flushed Away, for which he received a BAFTA Award nomination (2007), and directed ParaNorman which also received BAFTA and Academy Award nominations (2013).

Click here to watch The Greatest Gift



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