Cannes Lions


SMUGGLER, London / VOLVO / 2014

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This high-octane thriller pits the latest Volvo City Distribution Vehicle against the naked aggression of the Ciudad Rodrigo bull run. Volvo Trucks regularly challenge the abilities of their commercial vehicles in live tests, but this is certainly the most epic challenge so far... could an 18-tonne truck measuring around 10m in length complete an urban assault course that would cause the most athletic and courageous of men to draw breathe and break sweat, all while being chased by a herd of bulls through a small Spanish cathedral city? The free-flowing film belies the huge production effort that went into making it. With a crew of over 250 people on site, and 28 cameras including an octocopter and a 360° camera used to capture the event live.


One of the major challenges with this production was earning the cooperation of the residents and businesses of Ciudad Rodrigo. We achieved this by getting them as involved as possible: coordinating with the town hall, accommodating crew in different hotels, street casting for local extras and runners, holding regular press conferences, etc. We ensured their safety by boarding up windows and doorways where necessary, and setting off a firework to announce the beginning and end of each run.

Once permits were in place we set up a centre of operations in the town 10 days before the shoot. Camera positions were key: we used balconies and vantage points, and cameras rigged to the truck, runners, and even bulls! The major challenge was to give a feed on as many cameras as possible and playback quickly between runs. Wireless video was impossible due to all the stone, so we had to lay fibre optic cable throughout the city.

Expert bull run organiser was involved from the outset, advising on health and safety for the public, the crew, and the animals. The animals' welfare informed every stage: from selecting animals, to wrangling them on set, and overseeing their retirement to Guadalajara.

We shot complete runs only. 8 per day. That's an 18-tonne truck, chased by bulls down ancient cobbled streets, surrounded by a 250-person crew, captured by 28 cameras including an octocopter and 360° camera... sixteen times. We’re hugely proud of this achievement, and we hope you enjoy the film.

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