RES Magazine and Tokyo-based media company Nowonmedia were commissioned to handpick five director-designers from five continents to create sponsorship pieces inspired by “The Glory of Sports” and the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. The creative brief had two mandates: to give the films a humorous twist, and to capture the spirit of the Winter Olympics, without using obvious iconography or symbols associated with the games.

Strategy, Concept & Execution:

The moral of our film, titled “The Little Battle,” is that in order to succeed, an athlete needs to face his or her fears; never giving up even if he or she fails. It stars an unusual looking anti-hero, purple in complexion, with alien features.

The opening scene has him trudging in the snow along the top of a mountain, on rudimentary skis. Peering over the edge, his fear momentarily consumes him and he withdraws into a humorously sinister imaginary world. But his determination quickly overcomes the voices of doubt. Vitalized and motivated, he goes into anime-style “battle mode” and conquers his fear of the slope. But once he lands, he realizes he’s right back where he started on what is revealed to be a very small hill. It’s the classic Sisyphus story, but with a twist.

We placed a lot of emphasis on character design for this piece. Not just what they looked like but what their character traits were, and how that affected things like body language, and general motion. We wanted to create something unique and striking, but most of all fun. So it made sense that none of the characters took a human form. Since the purpose of the spots was to inspire, we wanted to achieve a kind of dream-like quality to the visuals, which informed everything from our colour palette to character traits to the essence of motion. We used muted, pastel-type colours, and instead of using realistic textures we designed custom patterns for each of the elements and background, which we composited into the 3D to achieve the unique look and feel we wanted.

This piece was showcased at the Pictoplasma conference in 2006, and was also awarded 2 gold Loerie Awards (for Non-Broadcast Events & Gold Craft).


Client: Panasonic (Japan)
Producer: The Ebeling Group
Concept and Script: Hilton Tennant
Director: Hilton Tennant
Character Design: TM
Design: TM & Nic Grobler
Animation: TM , Sphere & Nic Grobler
Compositing: TM & Nic Grobler
Sound Design: Zak Binikos