Jun Cen: Invisible Darkness

ADC Member makes short film out of engine pollutants

It’s no secret that air pollution has many dire consequences on both health and the environment, and its always interesting to see what happens when companies who are often seen as doing a fair share that polluting address the issue. So when multinational energy company Chevron had Ogilvy & Mather China devise a campaign for Techron (an additive that improves fuel cleanliness), the agency commissioned New York-based animator, illustrator and ADC Member Jun Cen to create an animated short — literally made out of dusty carbon engine deposits.

“Each artist was sent a bag of carbon deposit powder that had been extracted by the Chevron lab from car engines,” explains Jun. “One of the challenges for me was to incorporate this material in my creative process. The film, entitled Invisible Darkness, is a hand-drwan cel animation mostly done with pencil, but the grainy texture of the film is contributed by the carbon deposit powder.”

“As an illustrator and animator, I am fascinated in creating ‘worlds’ that both my characters and my audience can explore in my work,” he continues. “In this film, I created a post-utopian metropolis that’s made of skyscrapers and highway overpasses. The world seems peaceful at the beginning, but as the protagonists explore, they find how hostile things are. A storm that carries unknown particles arrives and soon covers the whole city in darkness. People are in the horror of this disaster. At the end, we find that everything has happened right inside of the car the main character drives. As he slams the hood of the car close, the story revolves.”

“It’s a very short film, but I think the rich visual layers (that I tried very hard to achieve) and the amazing sound design work done by musician Jason Charney are giving the audience good amount of details to explore. In general, I’m very happy with the result.”

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Directed and Animated by Jun Cen
Sound & Music: Jason Charney
Compositing Assistant: Xiaohua Yang
Client: Chevron
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather