Late … last … but definitely not least.
Sitting safely in our Soho post production den, it is time to recap our last assignment in Uganda. We closed our marathon with MSF, the legendary front line NGO providing medical services in emergencies all over the world.
After a few days we spent busy editing DRC and NetHope’s videos in Kampala it was our time to hit the road again and drive the arduous 12 hours to Yumbe for the third time in as many weeks. Our backs might have hurt but the road never gets boring and a few rolling storms and a bit of elephant spotting by the Nile later, we were back in West Nile on our final assignment.
The client was MSF Germany who wanted to shoot a heavily stylized campaign videos with lighting and black background which wouldn’t be so much of a problem in London but in a refugee camp on the border between Uganda, South Sudan and Congo it takes on a whole new meaning. Luckily, we found a place in Kampala that hired out LED lights and a local market in Arua was just the right place to procure a black cloth. Except that this time we weren’t making a traditional garment but a studio in a refugee camp.
We turned a hospital office into an improvised studio and used whatever we found around to suit our needs: hospital sheets worked as diffusion gels and gaffer tape as our blackout blinds.
Without giving away too much of the content which we filmed and which will be released in September, we were super happy with how it came out. But then making something look interesting on camera is what we do and a fun story to share once we are safely back in our editing room. But the stories we documented are painfully real. I might have done dozens of these shoots in my career but I don’t think I have ever had such a visceral reaction to something so casually described by the survivors. Stories of violence so intense it made my stomach churn. The long journey to safety and memories of those left behind and the incredible acts of kindness, humanity and bravery of their fellow humans.
Humanity and compassion do exist even in the darkest of places. I can’t wait to bring these stories out when this campaign goes live. Thank you MSF for this lesson in humility and strength against the odds.
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