Caster Semenya | Born This Way

April 30th 2021

More than our latest animated production for LUX and the hero piece for the #IStandWithCaster campaign, Born This Way is a collective statement crafted in partnership with agency Wunderman Thompson Singapore, and our sister company Le Cube, who signs the project’s direction. A message of empathy in support of athlete Caster Semenya in her bid to be allowed to compete in her favored events at the world’s biggest athletics tournaments.  

Wunderman Thompson Creative Director Ai-lin Tan adds,
“Caster was born with hyperandrogenism and as she herself often says, ‘I am a woman. I was born this way”. Our idea came from the insight that most champion athletes are born with extraordinary biology – it is what makes them perform like superheroes. But unlike Caster, they are celebrated, not reviled or banned. So we decided to create an animated film that highlighted this in support of Caster‘s fight.” 

Packed with dynamic angles and fast fluid transitions, the animation features sprinters, gymnasts, and swimmers inspired by real, iconic modern athletes, performing incredible physical feats.  

Wunderman Thompson Chief Creative Officer, Marco Versolato says,
“We felt that an animated film would be the best medium to dramatize the extraordinary biology of these athletes and create the impact that would get Caster’s story noticed. So we sought out the best in this field and started a collaborative partnership with Final Frontier to bring our idea to life.”

The decision to work in frame-by-frame cel-animation was a deliberate approach to aid and enhance the storytelling.  Director Ralph Karam explains,

“We wanted to create a warmer, more organic feel to the overall result, aiming to connect audiences with Caster's emotional journey; adding, "My intention was to not only tell Caster’s story but also to immerse the audience in her world. It's designed to delight the eyes while touching the soul.”

The sound design and titles were composed by audio production company, DaHouse Audio, winners of a Cannes Lions Titanium Lion in 2019 for the Uncensored Playlist campaign.  DaHouse partner and music director, Lucas Mayer says,

“The challenge was to produce something inspiring that would linger in people’s minds –it had to work as a dramatic and emotional soundtrack. It's a pop song, but also a soundscape with lots of textures and sound design.”  

Mayer adds,
“We worked with binaural sound effects in a spatial audio mixing engine, where you can notice the distance of the sounds and the stereo is not only about left and right, but all around your head. Listen to it with headphones; it's an extraordinary experience.”

Wunderman Thompson Head of Broadcast, Gerri Hamill says, 
“It’s been a marathon to get this film to the finish line. We couldn’t have done it without the amazing teams at Final Frontier who ran alongside us from their offices in Singapore and Buenos Aires. It was a truly international production with direction coming from Madrid, execution by artists in Europe, South America, and Asia; not to mention music and sound from Dahouse in Berlin and Sao Paulo. With our in-house production team, Chameleon also providing crucial support, we took a little over three months to produce the whole film.”  

Final Frontier co-founder and Executive Producer Gus Karam says,
"Such an amazing campaign is the result of a global effort from teams spread all across the globe. From Singapore to Buenos Aires to Madrid, the outcome demonstrates just what remote working can achieve.  It’s a well-oiled, streamlined system that Final Frontier and Le Cube have been honing for the past decade."

Business Director Global Lux, Hinoti Joshi says,
I am thrilled with the outcome! Such a poignant story so beautifully told through animation. The film brings out Caster’s struggle against bias, discrimination, and her rights as a woman. In this day and age, women are still constantly judged for how they look and choose to express themselves. We stand with Caster who is proudly and unapologetically a woman. And we join in her fight to overturn the World Athletics’ ruling that bans her from running free unless she takes hormone-suppressing drugs. Let’s all stand together to change this, so sign the petition at bit.ly/istandwithcaster.

 

CREDITS

Agency: Wunderman Thompson
CCO WPP@Unilever/Wunderman Thompson: Marco Versolato,
Creative Director: Ricardo Tronquini, Ai-lin Tan
Art Director: SIxin Wu
Business Lead - Global Lux: Hinoti Joshi
Sr. Account Director: Len DeRosales, Fanny LeMasson
Sr. Account Executive: Deeksha Siwach
Global Planning Director: Lucile Belleville
Planner: Josslyn Li
Head of Integrated Production: Gerri Hamill
Production Coordinator: Sharmaine Ng
Business Affairs Manager: Rachel Chen
Post Production Coordinator: Hafiza Yussaini
Producer: Hidayah Asari
Online Editor: Luis Calvo, Benjamin Low
Production Coordinator: Zakee Talib

Production Company: Final Frontier
Animation Studio: Le Cube
Director: Ralph Karam
Executive Producers: Chris Colman (FF), Fernanda Soma (LC), Gus Karam (FF/LC), JuanMa Freire (LC), Julieta Zajaczkowski (FF), Ryan Shanholtzer (FF)
Project Manager: Agustina Kröl
Producers: Veronica Miramontes, Gabriel Murgue
Art Development: Evelin Unfer, Constanza Oroza, Juan Barabani, Lucas Andreu, Matías Basla, Mariano Albano, Patricio Delpeche, Rodrigo Miguel "Numecaniq"
Animation Director: Federico Radero
Animators: Cintia Czeszczewik, Bruno Brasil, Daniel Cuervo, Diego Cristófano, Emanuel Zampalo, Guadalupe Vyleta, Leandro Vargas, Leo Campasso, Jose Luis Rosado, Tamás Pázmány, Carlos Caraya (Catarata), Sixtine James, Louis Holmes, Victoria Pellet, Agathe Simoulin, Vincent Coudroy de Lille.
Clean up & Color Supervisor: Laura Desmery
Tie Down, Clean-Up & Color: Antonella Cuozzo, Augusto Cortegoso, Clara Riavec, Cynthia Perez Daubert, Jose Ignacio Ovando, Juan Pablo “Brujo” Barbieri, Juan Natch, Julieta Culaciati, Juliana Gorgati, Julieta Soloaga, Laura Desmery, Leandro Vargas, Melisa Pighin, Rocío Saavedra, Sofía Díaz, Sofía Fernandez Vallejo, Sofía Ruocco
3D Animation Artist: Fernando La Mattina
Compositing Artist: Adrián Mirandeborde

Audio Production: DaHouse Audio GmbH
Composer: Lucas Mayer & Lucas Campello
Singer: Giovanna Moraes
Music Producers: Lucas Mayer, Wonder Bettin & Silvio Erne
Mix and Sound Design: Lucas Mayer, Rodrigo Deltoro & Niper Boaventura
Audio Executive Producers: Cassiano Derenji & Lari Miranda

Clients: Unilever, Lux
Global Brand Director: Severine Vauleon, Ankush Wadehra
Global Assistant Brand Manager: Vivien Ng
Global Assistant Brand Manager: Angad Saxena