Palms Casino, From Dust to Gold

MPC, AKQA and Pretty Bird's Paul Hunter join forces to create Palms Casino's epic spot 'From Dust to Gold'

When Palms Casino wanted to tell the world about their makeover, they needed a dramatic spot to showcase the big news. AKQA worked closely with MPC and Pretty Bird’s legendary director Paul Hunter to realize their vision, resulting in an intense, cinematic film that sees the old hotel being physically destroyed to make way for the new, in this beautifully shot portrayal of ultimate destruction.

The spot shows the hotel being demolished by a group of people in an epic fashion, along to the soothing soundtrack of Sasha Distel’s “La Belle Vie”.

MPC handled all VFX for the beautifully shot film, which was graded by MPC’s Ricky Gausis, including the raging inferno that destroys the hotel kitchen, flying debris that scatters in slow motion across the screen and placing a full-sized shark in the tank behind the bar.

What started out as a project that contained ‘invisible’ VFX that enhanced the existing shots, quickly grew into a large-scale, visual effects-heavy film that pushed the creative boundaries to create something spectacular. MPC were tasked with showing the impossible: setting a kitchen on fire, which was impossible to do on set for safety reasons, placing a Rolls Royce into a large water tank, and making the iconic lettering of the Palms Casino logo spark and fall.

Toya Drechsler, MPC’s VFX Supervisor, said: “The car tank shots were a mix of several plates shot on set, and the prop department built an actual size-accurate box, which really helped us determine the volume in the space. We then created different concepts of what the inside of the tank could look like - a car submerged in an actual aquarium full of fish, a car hanging mid-air or sawed in two - before we found our final look.”

Drechsler commented on the collaboration process: “From the beginning, it was clear that Paul Hunter and AKQA wanted to achieve an intense, filmic look. The collaboration with them started before the shoot, as we had the opportunity to give our input on the creative decisions around the VFX-heavy shots. We worked closely with the team throughout the process, attending the shoot, the editing sessions and continuously communicating with AKQA to make sure we were achieving their vision while ultimately pushing the look a step further.”

The result is a stunning film that showcases extreme destruction and echoes the idea: ‘Destroy the old. Create the new.’ Dreschler added: “We continuously made sure to not only focus our attention on our major VFX shots, but to really pay close attention to every detail and make the already beautiful imagery as flawless as possible.”

Scroll down to watch the full video and exclusive behind-the-scenes material.

Palms Casino, From Dust to Gold

Kitchen fire: Before and after

Explosion: Behind the scenes




AKQA Portland


Paul Hunter

Production Company


Creative Director

Aaron Seymour-Anderson

AKQA Portland

Sr. Art Director

Alice Chiapperini

Sr. Copywriter

Matteo Capaldi

Associate Design Directors

Carlos Bernal, Benjamin Parisot

Associate Creative Director

Riaad Merwe

Executive Producer

Dustin Freeman

International Design Director

Carlos Matias

Art Director

Antoine Christian


Terry Lee, Felipe Yamaoka

Associate Designer

Chris Lopez

Client Partner

Rodrigo Moyses

Senior Account Director

Daniel Jones

Senior Account Manager

Jack Lodge

Associate Program Director

Christine Dippold

Senior Project Manager

Tyler Hilton

Executive Delivery Director

Alia Burley

Associate Strategy Director

Alec Black

Senior Strategist

Sarah-Jayne Boyd

Associate Strategist

Brie Cochran

Group Strategy Director

Toby Barnes

Director of Technical Operations

Edward Bignell

Senior Technical Director

Keath Chan

Technical Manager

Cesar Munoz

Creative Developer

John Ghioca

Associate Developer

Jessica Donahue

Quality Assurance Analyst

Alona Bodik

Senior Analytics Analyst

Rob Hiter



Linus Sandgren

Line Producer

William Green

VP, Executive Producer

Ali Brown

Co-Founder, Executive Producer

Kerstin Emhoff



Creative Director

Rob Hodgson

VFX Supervisor

Toya Drechsler

Executive Producer

Elexis Stearn

VFX Producer

Jamie Loudon

2D Team

Dylan Brown, Rodrigo Jimenez, Kelsey Napier, Rob Ufer, Andre Arevalo, Gustavo Bellon, Jon Rogala, Joshi John, Akhil KP, Ankit Dheraj, Rahul Verma, Manideep Setty




Ricky Gausis

Producer, Color

Rebecca Boorsma

Executive Producer, Color

Meghan Lang


Cabin Editing Company


Sam Ostrove + Randy Baublis

Assistant Editor

Doug Scott

Head of Production

Remy Foxx

Managing Partner

Carr Schilling