A film crew investigates "superhero" sightings in India, Kenya and Mexico, interviewing needy kids in this touching spot for Save the Children.
"They did something magical and the maize grew from the ground," one child says. "He came and destroyed the mosquitoes," reports another. "She flies with the clouds and she gives water," says a third.
These are real kids, not actors, and their performances infuse this minute-long pseudo-documentary with considerable energy, charm and emotional resonance. Of course, the superheroes in question aren't of the Justice League variety, a point conveyed with great poignancy and perfect pitch by creative agency Don't Panic and Unit 9 directors Greg Hardes and Jacob Proud.
"The key to this project was the imagination of the kids," says Proud. "It was important that we only planted the seed of a story in their minds, and then let them run away with that story in the way only a child can. They were writing the script for us—all we had to do was turn the camera on and let their imaginations run wild."
The film supports Save the Children's Race for Survival campaign, and its release is timed to coincide with today's UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. (This marks the third stirring Save the Children effort for Don't Panic and Unit 9, which previously teamed up for "Reverse" and "Most Shocking Second a Day," both of which dealt with the conflict in Syria. The pair also collaborated on "Everything Is Not Awesome," a film for Greenpeace calling on Lego to end its relationship with Shell.)
"Superheroes: Eyewitness Reports" was shot on three continents in roughly a week. "The pure scale of the task was intimidating," Proud says. "The locations were so photogenic. Our natural instinct was to capture nicely composed, well-lit shots, but we kept having to remind each other that we were playing the role of a run-and-gun documentary crew and it needed to not feel too cinematic."
The footage is beautifully photographed, with the accents on hope rather than despair. It's the perfect way to deliver the message that caring is the ultimate "superpower," so anyone can #BeASuperhero.
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