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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Philippe Grammaticopoulos, Stéphanie Thomasson & Stéphane Gaubert "Signature" (Amnesty International)












Signature, commissioned by Amnesty International, is one of the most powerful and yet optimistic campaigning videos I have seen in quite a while. Immaculately drawn in pencil with clearly delineated illustrations, it represents a series of people in the most appalling danger: a prisoner of a brutal regime about to undergo torture, a victim in a war at his most vulnerable moment, a man about to be shot. They are each offered a lifeline in the form of a signature. The written names are then used by the victims to extricate themselves from the threat. The force of the animation lies in the sheer blinding brilliance and truth of the concept. Signatures on petitions do save lives. Organisations like Amnesty International work because they focus the world's attention on the darkest recesses of what might otherwise be completely hidden. The directors' ingenuity is in setting out the direst possible scenario and then allowing each of the five characters to use the signatures and save their lives. The message: "Your signature is more powerful than you think." And it is. Stéphanie Thomasson and Stéphane Gaubert are up for an award at Annecy 2008 though I note that Philippe Grammaticopoulos was responsible for the filming and the executive creative director was Erik Vervroegen for TBWA (Paris). The film's link is to last year's Cannes Film Lions Winners 2007 where it received a Golden Lion.

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