Zombie creates devastating animation for Moby’s My Only Love
The Brazilian studio wrote and directed the CG film about deforestation in their home country, using character textures to visually divide the natural world and its enemies.
- 3 August 2020
- Jenny Brewer
“90 per cent of rainforest deforestation is a result of meat and dairy production,” cites Moby in a statement about his latest music video for My Only Love, released last Friday. This shocking statistic was the impetus for focusing the video’s messaging on the crisis, and inviting Brazilian animation studio Zombie to not only direct the video, but write it too, as the team know the issues all too well.
“As Brazilians, we are in the middle of this discussion, watching everyday the numbers around deforestation increase like never before,” director Paulo Garcia tells It’s Nice That. Despite that, Garcia says he still found it daunting to go against his storytelling instincts and to not add a happy ending. “Moby had one brief: ‘Show me the horror of deforestation; I don’t want anything poetic, only the truth’.”
The result (produced by Blinkink) is a fast-paced and heartbreaking story about a jaguar and her cub, and later in the story an indigenous parent and child who are being separated as the rainforest burns around them. If you’re hoping for a fairytale saviour for the vulnerable and lovable protagonists, don’t hold your breath – but that is exactly the point. Zombie’s story instead tells a compelling but ultimately devastating tale from the perspective of the animals and forest community.
To visually define the rainforest’s creatures and people from the outsiders coming to destroy it, Zombie has used the textures of the characters, all created in CG but with a stop-motion feel. Garcia explains that the designers made all the forest’s inhabitants appear to be made from wood. “The idea was to have this natural feeling that they belong, and live in syntony with the forest,” says Garcia. The other humans are “deformed and covered in metal, to depict civilisation as harsh and without remorse”.
The intention of the film is primarily to visualise and personify the rainforest emergency, but in order to spread the message as widely as possible, Zombie has focused on making it cinematic and gripping from the outset, as well as relatable. “You jump straight into the narrative,” Garcia explains, “and feel the fear of losing someone you love. I think this is the power of animation – you can tell any story, even the worst ones, without being too explicit, while grabbing the attention of viewers.”
Zombie also made the award-winning ad The Bitter Bond for the Born Free Foundation last year with agency Engine, an equally tragic and vital story about lions raised in captivity in South Africa.
GalleryZombie: My Only Love for Moby
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Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.