MJZ doubles California for Alaska filming new Volkswagen Beetle spot
Production company MJZ has doubled California for Alaska in a new spot for Volkswagen. Moonlight follows a young couple as they enjoy the freedom of the road driving around a small town in the bright sunshine of an Alaskan summer’s night.
Alaska is often prohibitively expensive as a real filming location and the shoot would actually have taken place during the Alaskan winter when the light conditions would be very different to what the team wanted. MJZ was in fact filming a second commercial that had San Francisco as the inferred setting so they chose the Californian city of Vallejo for the Moonlight spot.
Location scouting took the team a couple of hours out of San Francisco as they looked for a specific kind of small-town look that suggested faded glory and loneliness.
“The choice to use Vallejo was made for several reasons,” recalls Betsy Oliver, a Producer with MJZ: “It offered all the things that we needed and - equally as important - the city gave us carte blanche to do almost whatever we wanted, wherever and whenever we wanted. The police, city government and business owners bent over backward for us. The city is in trouble financially and welcomed the revenue and rolled out the red carpet, so to speak.”
Vallejo gave us carte blanche to do almost whatever we wanted, wherever and whenever we wanted. The police, city government and business owners bent over backward for us.
Betsy Oliver, MJZ
Not many in-camera changes were made locally for the shoot, but a backdrop of mountains and trees was added in post-production. Most of the crew were hired locally in Vallejo.
“I have a Location Scout/Manager by the name of Wilson Wu, who I call the King of San Francisco!” Oliver adds: “He makes things happen when you think it will be impossible and, as usual, he was invaluable.”
Agency: Deutsch, LA
Group Creative Directors: Michael Kadin and Matt Ian
Production Company: MJZ, LA
Producer: Betsy Oliver
Executive Producer: Scott Howard
Director: Matthijs Van Heijningen
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