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MPC, AKQA and Pretty Bird’s Paul Hunter Unite to Develop Palms Casino’s Epic ‘From Dust to Gold’

The spot showcases extreme destruction to mark the Las Vegas hotel’s grand makeover

MPC, AKQA and Pretty Bird’s Paul Hunter Unite to Develop Palms Casino’s Epic ‘From Dust to Gold’

When Palms Casino wanted to tell the world about their makeover, they needed a dramatic spot to showcase the big news. AKQA worked closely with MPC and Pretty Bird’s legendary director Paul Hunter to realize their vision, resulting in an intense, cinematic film that sees the old hotel being physically destroyed to make way for the new, in this beautifully shot portrayal of ultimate destruction.

The spot shows the hotel being demolished by a group of people in an epic fashion, along to the soothing soundtrack of Sasha Distel’s “La Belle Vie”.

MPC handled all VFX for the beautifully shot film, which was graded by MPC’s Ricky Gausis, including the raging inferno that destroys the hotel kitchen, flying debris that scatters in slow motion across the screen and placing a full-sized shark in the tank behind the bar. 

What started out as a project that contained ‘invisible’ VFX that enhanced the existing shots, quickly grew into a large-scale, visual effects-heavy film that pushed the creative boundaries to create something spectacular. MPC were tasked with showing the impossible: setting a kitchen on fire, which was impossible to do on set for safety reasons, placing a Rolls Royce into a large water tank, and making the iconic lettering of the Palms Casino logo spark and fall. 

Toya Drechsler, MPC’s VFX Supervisor, said: “The car tank shots were a mix of several plates shot on set, and the prop department built an actual size-accurate box, which really helped us determine the volume in the space. We then created different concepts of what the inside of the tank could look like - a car submerged in an actual aquarium full of fish, a car hanging mid-air or sawed in two - before we found our final look.”

Drechsler commented on the collaboration process: “From the beginning, it was clear that Paul Hunter and AKQA wanted to achieve an intense, filmic look. The collaboration with them started before the shoot, as we had the opportunity to give our input on the creative decisions around the VFX-heavy shots. We worked closely with the team throughout the process, attending the shoot, the editing sessions and continuously communicating with AKQA to make sure we were achieving their vision while ultimately pushing the look a step further.” 

The result is a stunning film that showcases extreme destruction and echoes the idea: ‘Destroy the old. Create the new.’ Dreschler added: “We continuously made sure to not only focus our attention on our major VFX shots, but to really pay close attention to every detail and make the already beautiful imagery as flawless as possible.”
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Advertiser: Palms Casino

Creative Agency

Creative Agency: AKQA Portland

Art Director: Antoine Christian

Strategist: Brie Cochran (Associate)

Senior Art Director: Alice Chiapperini

Senior Copywriter: Matteo Capaldi

Associate Strategy Director: Alec Black

Senior Project Manager: Tyler Hilton

Associate Design Director: Carlos Bernal, Benjamin Parisot

Client Service Partner : Rodrigo Moyses

Associate Creative Director: Riaad Merwe

Senior Technology Director: Keath Chan

Associate Director of Interactive: Christine Dippold (Program Director)

QA Manager: Alona Bodik (Analyst)

Senior Strategist: Sarah-Jayne Boyd

Group Strategy Director: Toby Barnes

Director of Technology: Edward Bignell

Data & Analytics : Rob Hiter (Senior Analyst)

Designer: Terry Lee, Felipe Yamaoka, Chris Lopez (Associate)

Executive Producer: Dustin Freeman

Senior Account Director: Daniel Jones

Senior Account Manager: Jack Lodge

Digital Agency

Director of Delivery : Alia Burley

Production Company

Production Company: Prettybird

Executive Producer: Ali Brown (VP)

Director: Paul Hunter

DOP: Linus Sandgren

Line Producer: William Green

Technical Manager: Cesar Munoz

Founder: Kerstin Emhoff (Executive Producer)


Edit Company: Cabin Editing Company

Editor: Sam Ostrove + Randy Baublis

Head of Production: Remy Foxx

Post Production / VFX

Colourist: Ricky Gausis

VFX Supervisor: Toya Drechsler

Creative Director: Rob Hodgson

2D : Dylan Brown, Rodrigo Jimenez, Kelsey Napier, Rob Ufer, Andre Arevalo, Gustavo Bellon, Jon Rogala, Joshi John, Akhil KP, Ankit Dheraj, Rahul Verma, Manideep Setty

Colour EP: Meghan Lang

Colour Producer: Rebecca Boorsma


VFX Producer: Jamie Loudon

Executive Producer: Elexis Stearn

Digital Production Company

Developers: John Ghioca (Creative)

Developer: Jessica Donahue (Associate)

Genre: People , Scenic , Stunts