A group of Israeli filmmakers, led by wunderkind Vania Heymann, is behind Toyota’s new series of short, thought-provoking films that recently debuted in movie theaters across the US.
Called “Toyota Shorts,” the films were produced by world-renowned ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which commissioned Heymann and his team for this unusual task.
After producing a stunning Lilliput-style video clip for rock band Coldplay last year, and winning an MTV Award for it, Heymann is now dabbling again in advertising (he has made Pepsi and American Express commercials) – but in a non-traditional way.
Traveling in time
His first short film for Toyota features a young woman driving a Prius. As she’s driving her car, she ages, while other cars speed up and bypass her. She looks distraught and anxious. But at some point, she decides to accelerate and bypass the other cars that had previously passed by hers. As she accelerates, she becomes younger, until she’s a very young girl.
Once she seems to realize that being young is not about your age but about your spirit, she returns to being the same young woman from the beginning of the film.
The film is accompanied by an original soundtrack composed by Israeli musician Assa Raviv, which adds much drama to the narrative.
In addition to director Heymann, other Israelis involved in the production of this film are producer Natan Schottenfels, film editor Gal Muggia, writer Gon Ben Ari, creative director Daniel Barak, soundman Udi Ben Ari, title designer Tal Baltuch, and visual effects supervisor Itay Schiff. Post-production was done by Israeli firm Gravity.
The infinite roundabout
The second film in the two-part series, oddly – yet purposely – dubbed “Story No. 3 – The Roundabout,” focuses on the Toyota Camry.
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In the beginning, the male driver picks up a female hitchhiker holding a tambourine, who asks him to “get her out” of the close-by roundabout. Half a circle into the roundabout, another hitchhiker – holding a guitar – is asking for a ride. As she enters the back seat, the viewers can see that she’s identical to the first hitchhiker.
The bewildered driver continues to circle the roundabout, as a third identical hitchhiker – holding both a guitar and a tambourine – comes onboard. The first hitchhiker asks the driver not to exit, and he continues to circle the roundabout.
Then, a fourth identical hitchhiker (with a guitar, tambourine and a harmonica) gets in the driver’s seat as the driver is putting her bag in the trunk.
Leaving him on the curb, the four identical musicians continue to drive, finally exiting the roundabout while playing the instruments and singing cheerfully.
Directed by Heymann and produced by Schottenfels, this short film was edited by Israeli Amir Winkler; it was written by Haymann, Ben Ari and Barak (also the creative director); music by Raviv, Tom Darom, and Nadia Kutcher; soundwoman was the Israeli Yael Haim; Baltuch, Schiff and Gravity was involved in this film as well.
Heymann became famous about four years ago when he created an interactive video clip for legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, now a Nobel Prize laureate. Last year, the young film director received an MTV Award for the music video “Up & Up” he created for Coldplay.
A graduate of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Heymann is only 31 years old, but as each Toyota ad concludes, he’s going places.
Photos and videos: Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Vania Heymann