An Animated Call To Action: The Unlikely Hero

There are actually two heroes in the short film Unlikely Hero. One is an industrial monster that recognizes its harmful ways and moves to reverse their effects. The other is a brave little girl whose quest for clean air triggers the monster’s change of heart.

In one regard this makes the animated film true to real-world events. “It really was one customer asking us what we were doing about the environment that changed the direction of the company,” says Interface executive creative director Chip DeGrace.

In fact, the impetus behind the film’s creation was to inspire conversation and spur action around issues of sustainability and climate change. “The story of Unlikely Hero puts into context what we’re all dealing with,” says Interface president Jay Gould.

The filmmakers, interviewed in this revealing behind-the-scenes video, crafted the story’s aesthetic to resonate with the company’s vision of the enduring, positive impact well-designed spaces can have on the people who inhabit them. They looked at references from the 1960’s—an era of classic design—drawing on the likes of Charles and Ray Eames, Saul Bass and Charley Harper for inspiration.

The animation style was “a mix between something that has that texture and the reality of a live-action film, but also has the look and the color palette and the flatness of an illustrative book,” says Guilherme Marcondes, the film’s director.

The result? An eerily beautiful (though depleted) landscape that sets the stage for a hero’s dramatic turnaround.

See the story for the first time or experience it again below.

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