By Egotist / /
In Mercedes Benz’s latest spot, produced by Los Angeles and Berlin-based AKKURAT Studios for Antoni Garage, director Francisco Sendino opens the film by treating viewers to a beautiful ballet performance. Soon, the dance transitions and takes everyone on an exciting, wild ride. It’s all part of the brand’s campaign story in paying homage to the luxury brand’s G-Class off-roader and its most iconic interior feature that’s been adorning the vehicle for 42 years – the grab handle bar. Starring professional ballerina Lia Kemendi, the humorous new 40 second film proves that the slogan “Nothing holds like the G-Class” really does in fact, hold true.
Award-winning director Francisco Sendino seamlessly juxtaposes elegant and graceful dance frames with a powerful and thrilling off-road experience. The idea was for the film to be a comedic analogy between two “handle bars.” As the ballerina trains in her studio, her forceful interaction – first with the breaking of her ballet barre and then with the gripping of the handle bar in the car – demonstrates the Mercedes Benz G-Class feature’s indestructibility compared to the endurance of a normal object. The ballet barre handrail shifts to that of the automobile’s grab handle bar – its co-driver clinging on as the SUV soars over sandy, bumpy, dirt hill terrain. It’s a playful contrast between two dynamic dexterities: dancing and driving.
“The breaking and crumbling of the ballet bar you see in the commercial is real,” explains AKKURAT Studios’ director Francisco Sendino. “Together with my production designer and an SFX team, we meticulously designed the object and tested its breaking ability multiple times to set the right explosive power when our ballerina Lia Kemendi tears it out. We only had two tries available to rip that bar off the wall. During the first try, it only came off halfway. The second and last try is the one you can see in the film. There was quite some pressure on our dancer, but she was extremely confident and teared it out like a pro.”
Shot in Germany, the film utilized two locations. The renowned König Galerie in Berlin served as the dancer’s studio. A dirt quarry located two hours from the German capital provided the perfect backdrop for the G-Class driver’s off-road adventure.
The biggest challenge for the production was to shoot the ballet and the car scenes in one short winter day with almost no sunlight. “The art gallery looks best in its natural light due to dazzling shadows it receives through its big glass ceiling during the daytime,” reveals Sendino.
Needing sunlight for the car scenes, the team shot those first in the early morning and as they prepared for darkness to fall, the other half of the team was building up the ballet barre structure and the light set-up inside the gallery so that shooting could immediately begin upon return from the quarry.
“Ballerina” is the second film of a new online series by Mercedes Benz showcasing the one-of-a-kind features of its most famous SUV, following the first one called ‘Milk’ that was released last fall. The newest spot is now running worldwide and can be seen across all social media platforms.