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Koji Morimoto Directs Sequence for Lexus-Sponsored Short Film

A little product placement can go a long way, as proven in Mitsuyo Miyazaki’s A Better Tomorrow, a short film about a pair of kidnapped orphans in a water-starved, not-so-distant future.

In the short’s third act, our young protagonists hop into a flying Lexus LF-LC (naturally) and escape their captors via an expressionist anime fantasy sequence directed by Koji Morimoto (Akira, Memories Animatrix) with music composed by Simon Webster. Produced by the Weinstein Company and sponsored by Lexus Short Films, the film premiered at Cannes earlier this year.

If you want to see the animated sequence by itself, here it is:

  • jmahon

    between this and the Oz-themed Chipotle short film that’s making the rounds on the internet… I used to be opposed to commercialism and product placement in short films, I thought it was cheap and exploitative, but I figure at this point that nowadays thanks to brands and their funding you can get a free ride to create awesome, unique and original things… provided the brand is trusting enough and brave enough to allow you to.

    A while back there was a commercial for Louis Vuitton bags produced in Japan by Mamoru Hosoda (the creator of the fantastic movie Summer Wars) a short film about a girl with a little magical bear who meets Vuitton as a young man, as he creates his first trunks and bags. I thought it was tasteless at first to abuse an artist like Hosoda with something like product placement, but I realized that something like this could’ve never really been created without LV as a brand to sponsor it, and they allowed him to what he wanted to do. There’s been more and more instances of short film makers, not just animators, given the reigns for unique and awesome shorts thanks to brands and I’ve changed my mind completely. I hope this trend continues. Anything that plops a bunch of time and money in front of animators so they can just simply create is great in my book.

    • Crispy Walker

      The Louis Vuitton short actually had more to do with the artist Takeshi Murakami teaming up with the brand of LV. The short uses his characters and world and patterning. Hosoda I’m sure had a huge collaborative part in it, but the artist who was really being put to work, in name at least, was Murakami; for Hosoda, it was more likely just a job and he was chosen because he is incredibly talented. Murakami is what helped sell the brand though, and since his art is all about contemporary product and entertainment culture, as well as anime’s cultural significance to Japan, it made perfect sense to animate a short — something he’s continued producing without corporate sponsors.