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Opinion and Insight

“From Awkward Dates to Intimidating Older Kids” - Motherland Director, P.O.B, on the Relatable Aspects of Fear in Allianz Ad

Motherland’s Peter O’Brien discusses the fine balance between fear and courage as an inspirational tool, for his latest work with Allianz Ireland

“From Awkward Dates to Intimidating Older Kids” - Motherland Director, P.O.B, on the Relatable Aspects of Fear in Allianz Ad

Fear is something we can all relate to. From taking our first steps to the jittery, nervous feeling of going on a first date. At different stages of our lives, we go through new experiences of fear and we develop the courage to overcome it.

As part of Allianz Ireland’s ‘We Cover Courage’ campaign, the insurance company has launched a TV advertisement celebrating its 28 year-long sponsorship of the Allianz Leagues. In this spot, they explore how sport at all levels can inspire people to be courageous in their day-to-day lives.

Here, Motherland director P.O.B reveals his insight into the creative vision behind this motivational ad.


Q> Your work focuses on authentic human stories - how did you draw this out from the characters in the ad?

P.O.B> This film tells the story of many different characters as they attempt to overcome fear. Fear is always there, that niggling doubt in the back of our minds and that feeling in our stomachs. But fear is necessary; without it there can’t be courage. This film is a celebration of courageous acts, big and small, showing that if we dig deep in moments of adversity, we can get one over on fear.

I feel our characters are authentic and relatable due to Huskies’ strong script and our amazing cast. The script pulled me in immediately, from the awkward date to being intimidated by older kids… we’ve all been there. I think our cast could really relate to these feelings too and threw themselves into each scene, portraying them with a real authenticity. The little flicks of the eyes, the clenched jaws - those micro moments made all the difference.

Q> How did you play off the scenes of courage vs the scenes of fear?

P> We wanted this film to represent a whole life and draw the audience in with glimpses of fear and courage, almost like a memory. Similar to how a hurling or football match has two halves, so does our film. We have fear up front for the first 30 seconds and then as we tick over to the second half of the piece, courage begins to rack up the points. To achieve this we shot in a mixed media style, incorporating 16mm film and miniDV as an accent to our Alexa mini footage.

Q> The way the ad builds in energy feels quite like the way in which courage helps us overcome fear. How did you build up that momentum through film?

P> It was important for us to take the time to show the fear scenes at the top of the film and establish a connection with each character. Then as the music and shots ramp up we see glimpses of the resolution of each of those scenes, like our pianist playing confidently and our little kid smiling to himself as he faces his fear and passes the bullies.

It was great working with frequent collaborators - DP, Narayan Van Maele, and editor, John Cutler - to craft the look and feel of the piece. Huskies allowed us the space and creative freedom to put our own stamp on the project and it was amazing working with them to make the film the best it can be.

Q> Sport plays a vital role in the ad when it comes to triumphing over fear. How did you establish this as the overriding positive force within the film?

P> This is a film showing Allianz sponsorship of the hurling and football leagues, so it was important that our sports sequences felt real. We had rehearsal time with the team to orchestrate the final move of the piece so it felt authentic in terms of movement and game play even to the most eagle eyed GAA fan.

This scene comes at a big turning point in the film as courage racks up its first point. We see our star player Seamie Callanan flick up the sliotar and break through several challenges as he drives towards goal. This scene is intercut with shots of our scoreboard ticking over and glimpses of our earlier scenes. This drive forward represents triumph of courage over fear and captures the true meaning of this film.

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