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FISH ON THE HIGHWAY

A corporate film for NGOs responding to Typhoon Bopha and an artwork in progress.

THE COMPLETED FILM

The Humanitarian Response Consortium (HRC) Oxfam-ASD contacted us to do a film about the new approach they were taking in the relief efforts for Typhoon Pablo. Filmmakers Lobregat Balaguer & Stefan Kruse Jørgensen and spent two weeks traveling around the affected areas, filming the heavy damages sustained by the towns in the path of the storm; primarily agricultural towns dependent on coconut and banana farming. The result was Fish on the Highway, a 30-minute corporate film for the use of HRC Oxfam-ASD.

Click on the thumbnail to watch the film.

 

JOURNAL ENTRY:
ADVERTISING VS. ART VS. PROFIT VS. VOLUNTEERISM

It is a predicament common to filmmakers in the employ of humanitarian or otherwise corporate entities: artistic vision in opposition to communication needs. If one is lucky enough to find a client who appreciates stories, and pragmatic enough to accept that filmmaking for the corporate world comes with the pressure of scripting an advertising-friendly narrative, then this stress is reduced.

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Pricing is also an issue. Films cost money, but this type of film does not need a large crew. A humanitarian or community effort that budgets its communication like a liberal capitalist enterprise becomes suspect, because of its insensitivity to the people it is trying to help. Far from advocating unsustainable volunteerism or, on the flip side, far from exploiting a disaster merely to further one's own interests, this kind of cooperation that arose while filming Fish on the Highway was based on a responsible relationship of mutual usefulness. A production crew could negotiate the price, down to what is responsible for the production, because it knows it can produce personal work alongside (not within) the commissioned corporate piece. An NGO should pay their way, because it is humane for the filmmaker, and they are in the business of being humane.

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It's double the work, but not only for the filmmaker thinking of two possible outcomes for the footage. The humanitarian model isn't necessarily the most acceptable on all counts, but contact with field workers, with their tireless passion and realist wisdom, breeds respect. The crew's presence is a liability, economic and logistic, that they incorporate into their operations because it is a necessity to communicate one's work properly if one's business is to survive. And non-profits are businesses, whether they care to admit it or not. They should be. They are in the business of helping people. So are you, as a hired supplier. You just happen to be helping for a responsible fee.

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