Star Wars director Rian Johnson films Pokémon Go advert

The virtual Pokemon Go Festival will take place on July 25 and 26, and can be attended from anywhere in the world


Pokémon Go ha released a commercial directed by Star Wars director Rian Johnson to promote the upcoming Pokémon Go Festival.

The 30-second video shows players peeling away the real world to unveil hidden Pokémon. The short clip was produced remotely, with the production team filming in New Zealand as Johnson directed from Los Angeles.

Johnson, who is most famous for directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, also directed Brick in 2005, The Brothers Bloom in 2008 and Knives Out in 2019. He won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing in 2013 for directing a Breaking Bad episode.

He said: “Pokémon Go has kept me engaged with my friends remotely as I’ve been practising physical distancing these past few months.”

Johnson, who declared himself a passionate Pokémon player, added: “It was a real pleasure working with Niantic on this spot. It was a new experience for me to direct a production remotely, and I enjoyed the highly collaborative process and think we put together a fun and upbeat commercial that fans will enjoy.”

The pioneering gaming company Niantic, which owns Pokémon Go, said it will donate half of the profits made during the Festival to black AR creators and half to US NPOs working on rebuilding local communities. It estimated a minimum of $5 million to be donated to Black Lives Matter-related causes.

The Pokemon Go Fest 2020 will take place online at the end of July 2020. While past editions of the event have been problematic due to the limitations on the number to people allowed, this year tickets will be unlimited and the event will last a whole weekend instead of a single day.

The event will run on July 25 and 26 from 10am to 8pm and will be accessible from anywhere in the world. The first day will feature an exclusive Special Research story, rotating habitats and different Pokémon, and a new Global Challenge Arena where players collaborate and can earn rewards every hour.

Niantic is keeping the second day’s program a secret until it goes live. The company says participants should expect “something very different”.

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