A very bold approach indeed, something unexpected with regard to such a serious topic. That was exactly the point: to avoid tedious technical explanations in order to reach as many Syrians as possible – mainly the young people living in the diaspora – via social media. To make them think without lecturing, and to instill the sparkle that change is possible. Produced in English and in Arabic, the film intends to overcome specific prejudices related to the general idea of federalism in the Middle-East region, and in Syria in particular. When confronted with the topic, most of the time people are sceptical toward this political system, arguing that it benefits a few and harms the majority, or that it leads to separatism. Well, no and no again, it doesn’t go this way. This manifesto-like film shows why.
Dinosaurs, multiple flavours pizza and philosophy
A clear and self-confident voice-over text, with a good dose of smart humour sneaking in, is supported and complemented by beautifully crafted visuals and easy to understand analogies. The aim is deliberate: to inform and to attract attention. All that using a fresh language, colourful images and positive ideas. The film is a genuinely convinced stand for federalism and for its advantages for the life of single individuals living in a country.
Trust among all parts is the starting point, what keeps basic ingredients together. The principle of power-sharing, one of the pillars of a federal system, is explained using a pizza cut in several slices. Single parts making a whole – all for one, one for all, quite simple and direct, isn´t it? Federalism makes it possible to make decisions on a regional, lower level, to allow those who are actually affected by these decisions to be responsible for those very same decisions. It sounds almost like a syllogism. And it makes sense, since the question about the best political system engaged philosophers throughout the centuries – Soctares himself appears as a cameo in the film. What else can federalism offer? IT delivers democracy IF it ensures equal rights for all participants, it provides a context for fruitful negotiation processes if differences are not grounds for separatism, it engenders conflict prevention and safeguards against corruption if it benefits all. To name a few advantages.
The Illustrations, awoken to life thanks to a skilful 2D animation and original transitions, are a fine combination of hand-drawn scenes and collage details. The latter are not simply a mere aesthetic texture that enriches the composition, but those cut-outs deliver an extra layer of information and context. Moreover, they give a more likeable touch that creates a connection with daily life aspects. The style is based on the use of colourful surfaces in combination with textures. Character design plays a fundamental role: this friendly figure is the person that leads us through the presentation and represents the diversity of Syrian society in a respectful and accessible way. At an indirect level, backgrounds and elements in the scenes recall the distinctive middle eastern art with its complex patterns and geometric shapes.
The sound deserves a special mention, too. Background music and sound effects contribute to create an uplifting and unpretentious non-pretentious atmosphere, underlining underling key moments in the story and of course keeping everything modern and entertaining.
And that is why we fundamentally advocate for federalism. Concludes the voice over. The curtain falls but now the real show begins. A long way to go, indeed not an easy path. But it is definitely a feasible and convincing one. The film is an invitation to keep on listening to the enthusiastic voice from the megaphone at the end and to continue working on those “its” and “ifs” that make federalism a concrete solution.
Not all collages are the same
With the collage and cut-outs technique, we had the chance to experiment in various projects, each time coming up with a unique style. For Transparency International, we produced a three-film series – in English and in French, on the topic of money laundering and the client liked it so much that they decided to go the same way for other projects. Indeed, we had the pleasure to work on the film they presented at the United Nations headquarters about the sustainable development goal (SDG) 16 – peace, justice and strong institutions, as well as on some key aspects of their mission. The general topic of corruption and its consequences on us all is introduced by a daring video, whereas a more specific explanation of the different forms and shapes such a phenomenon can take, is illustrated by a series of over fifty loops accompanying the so-called corruptionary.
Another jewel of our fine collage collection, is the promotional video we produced for the Jewish Museum about the Jewish Places platform. This latter one was a great success and also brought us luck: thanks to it, we caught the attention of the Arolsen Archives who entrusted us with the several times award-winning #StolenMemory project. But this is another story. Do you want to know more about it? Here you can get a glimpse behind the scenes.
Hall of fame
A huge “Thank You” goes to the EZKS team, especially to Eva Savelsberg and Siamend Hajo for having trusted us and having given us total freedom in developing the story and the style. For having been our dream clients. And of course a same-size or even bigger “Thank You” goes to our fantastic Goldener Westen team:
Toby Mory – Motion Director & Team Lead Motion, Producer
Wibke Ehrmann – Workshops Lead, Concept
Darren Williams (Ministry for English) – Copywriter
Leo Rey – Creative Director and Lead Motion Designer
Karolin Nusa – Art Director and Illustrator
Qian Hao – Motion Designer
Lena Zagora – Motion Designer
Patrick Wolter – Motion Designer Erik Richert – Support Motion Design
Uwe Bossenz and Philipp Koller – Music & Sound designer
Nikolaus Radeke – Sound Technician
Joshua Spriggs – Voice Over Artist (EN)
Mugahid Abdelaziz – Voice Over Artist (AR)
Francesca La Vigna – Project Manager