• Language
    • GERMAN
    • FRENCH

Get your own Little Black Book.

Build your own personal news stream. Discover the latest work created that interests you, share your favourite stories and follow your favourite people and companies

Already have an account?

Digital Craft

Nexus Studios and Johnny Kelly’s Heart Warming Stop-Motion Short

10 years after winning his double Cannes Grand Prix, Johnny Kelly brings sustainable farming back to the forefront for Chipotle

Nexus Studios and Johnny Kelly’s Heart Warming Stop-Motion Short

A decade after his double Cannes Grand Prix winning short, 'Back to the Start', changed the global conversation around animal welfare, Johnny Kelly returns with a continuation of the farming family epic with the focus this time, on human welfare.

Teaming up with Observatory and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, ‘A Future Begins', like its prequel, is told through exceptionally crafted stop-motion and set to a stellar soundtrack by Grammy-award winning singer, Kacey Musgraves. The singer reimagined a Coldplay classic ten years after Willie Nelson’s ground-breaking cover.

Directed by Johnny, this love letter to the patchwork quilt of family-run farms that make up Chipotle’s supply chain, follows the four season structure with meticulous craft and storytelling at its centre. Viewers follow our now aging Pa from the original film struggling with the farm as his Son studies in the city, the tale of hope concludes with the Son returning to the farm with sustainability and technology on his side reaffirming Chipotle Cultivate Foundation’s ongoing pledge to support the next generation of farmers.

The production consisted of 10 different sets, featuring 82 tiny resin puppets including 12 sheep, 10 cows, 12 pigs, 10 chickens, 12 farm helpers, 10 characters on campus and 16 audience members all captured in one fluid camera move.

Johnny’s commitment to authenticity ensured only real world farming techniques used by Chipotle suppliers were depicted. These include solar panels to provide shade for animals, plots of land dedicated to rewilding and polytunnels to cover Chipotle’s traffic light crop of peppers.

Craft lovers are also treated to nearly ten minutes of behind the scenes gold led by Johnny and supported by his talented team of puppet makers. From the small details of decision making on haircuts and creating travel posters for the subway scene to making a full virtual version of the film in 3D ahead of the shoot, the ambitious project was realised by the team through a genuine love of the story.

Johnny Kelly, director, Nexus Studios says, “It’s a rare opportunity to be handed the keys to a 2-minute stop motion epic, so I was delighted to be able to get the band back together for a sequel. I still love the simplicity of ‘Back to the Start’ but 10 years on the world is a more complicated place (to put it mildly) and it would have felt reductive to remake the last film. In order to work in 2021 this needed further complexity and scale. More nuanced performance. More geographic authenticity. And more dog. At their heart however, the two stories complement each other; the last one was about animal welfare and the thrust of this story is human welfare.”

With the impact of ‘Back to the Start’ still felt following it’s Superbowl debut and results including 300 million earned media impressions and over 80 industry awards, ‘A Future Begins’ also launches with a bang. This time - in a first of its kind TV premiere -launching in its own commercial pod, the short will be broadcast to an estimated audience of 77 million households during the Thanksgiving game between the NFL’s Raiders and Cowboys on November 25th.

The film will be released digitally from November 16th as the centrepiece of a fully-integrated, content-centric campaign including the release of Kacey Musgraves’ 'Fix You' on Spotify, Apple Music and other DSP’s, and QR codes on millions of Chipotle’s recyclable bags through which consumers can watch the full film.

Featured Companies: Observatory

Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.

Client: Chipotle Mexican Grill

CMO: Chris Brandt

VP Brand Marketing: Stephanie Perdue

Sr. Director, Brand Marketing: Michael Kotick

Creative Director: Shelley Sheppard

Sr. Manager, Art Director: Bianca Pettinicchi


Agency: Observatory


Production Company: Nexus Studios

Director: Johnny Kelly

Senior Producer: Isobel Conroy

Production Manager: Nicole Lopez

Production Assistant: Delfina Maria

Art Director: Melanie Climent

Storyboards: Johnny Kelly

3D Previs: Mark Davies, Steve White

3D Previs Modeller: Fabien Glasse

Lead Compositor: Germán Diez

Compositors: Osman Baloglu, Dalvir Matharu, Gareth Tredrea

Studio Technical Lead: Mark Davies

Editor: Dave Slade

Grade: Duncan Rusell


DOP: Toby Howell

1st AD: Robert Thorpe

Moco Operator: James Gillett

Camera Assistant: Max Halstead

Gaffer: Aldo Camilleri

Best Boy: Genki McClure

Lead Animators: Gary Cureton, Matthew Cooper

Additional Animator: Tobias Fouracre

Animation Rigger: Robin Jackson

Puppet Makers: Joshua Flynn, Nathan Flynn @ Sculpt Double

Puppet Model Makers: Laura Tofarides, Rachel Brown @ Sculpt Double


Art Director: Gordon Allen

Assistant Art Director: Jasmine Nixon

Sculptor and Scenic painter: Araba Ocran

Modelmakers: Areeya Bass, Connor Chung

Laser cut prep: Collette Pidgeon

Laser cutting: Ewen Dickie

Standby Art dept/ Set Dressing: Rosie Tonkin, Brin Frost

Stage Construction: Ben Côté

Scenic and props painter: Richard Davidson

Studio Manager: Daisy Garside

BTS Cameraman: Thomas Heleta

BTS Editor: Dave Slade

Covid Officer / Medic: Paul Mortimer

Team Sustenance / Cleaner: Valerie

Catering: Konrad’s Kitchen


Music: Kacey Musgraves

Producers: Ian Fitchuk, Daniel Tashian, Kacey Musgraves

Additional Production: The Elements Music

Record and mix: Craig Alvin

Additional Mix: Source Sound Inc & The Elements Music


Sound: Fonic

Sound Supervisor: Barnaby Templer

Sound Designer and Dubbing Mixer: Christopher Swaine

Foley Recordist: Rory Hunter

Foley Artist: Sue Harding

Sound Assistant: Ryan Kelly

Audio Post Production Coordinator: Eugénie Dunster

Published by Universal Music – MGB Songs on behalf of Universal Music Publishing MGB

Writers: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Will Champion and Jonathan Buckland

Publisher: Universal Music – MGB Songs

Producer: Kacey Musgraves, Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian

Mix: Craig Alvin

Vocals: Kacey Musgraves

Drums: Ian Fitchuk

Keyboards: Ian Fitchuk

Acoustic Guitar: Todd Lombardo

Programming: Daniel Tashian

Production Coordinator: Kristen Clark

Engineer: Craig Alvin

Additional Engineer: Josh Moore

Engineer: Zack Pancoast

Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi

Mastering Engineer: Steve Fallone

Background Vocals: Daniel Tashian

Guitar: Daniel Tashian

Keyboards: Daniel Tashian

Programming: Ian Fitchuk

Cello: Nathaniel Smith and Vincent Pedulla

Drums: Vincent Pedulla

Guitar: Vincent Pedulla

Mandolin: Vincent Pedulla

Pedal Steel: Vincent Pedulla

Piano: Vincent Pedulla

Ukulele: Vincent Pedulla

Violin: Vincent Pedulla