Directed by ROJO (Josef Baar & François Roland), this ad was awarded as the "Best Public Service Announcement for Peace" by the "New York Festivals" in 2003.
Created with the Air Bruxelles advertising agency, and filmed in Belgium, this spot for Amnesty International was conceived not as a call to donate, but as a call to "act". Amnesty's effectiveness comes in part from their distinct form of petitioning campaigns, wherein individuals are called upon to write directly to world leaders in order to call attention to human rights violations. This spot is meant to convey the power that one such person's words can have. It portrays a young woman (Felicia Massoni) whose writing prevents a torturer from continuing his horrific acts. Her words literally restrain him, as if by "voodoo".
As directors we faced several challenges: how to position our antagonist as a torturer without being overly-graphic; and how to situate the action in a context which wasn't just some dark, dank, cliché "Third World" compound... (For as we all know, human rights violations are not exclusive to developing countries). We chose to create an extremely institutional, spartan environment: brightly lit, impeccably maintained. We wanted the spectators to feel the action could be taking anywhere, even in Europe or North America. Actor Pascal Bongard, who plays the torturer with cold subtlety, was equipped with protective skate gear under his wardrobe, in addition to a wire rig which was used to hinder his actions (the cables were digitally painted out in post). This technique could have been far more spectacular, but we chose to use the moments where the "voodoo" effect remained subtle: the gravity of the subject matter warranted a tense, sober visual style.