- Monday, Oct. 6, 2014
Cutters Studios Partnership with LOOKER and Director Eden Tyler Creates Powerful PSAs in Support of UN Women's Ambitious HeForShe Campaign
Advertising Industry Powerhouses Combine to Help Achieve Impactful "Billion Man Reach" Since 20 Sept.
UN Women recently ignited the HeForShe campaign originally announced back on International Women's Day. Developed in support of UN Women's Beijing+20 efforts, HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that seeks to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women's rights. The campaign's premise is that gender inequality is not a women's issue but an issue that affects everyone, and that achieving equality will benefit both women and men - socially, politically and economically.
On 20 Sept., the campaign launch began at a special event at the United Nations Headquarters, to kick-start one of the largest solidarity movements of the 21st century, that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half, for the benefit of all. The event was co-hosted by actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson. There a video montage was presented which showed key messages from prominent personalities and role models including President Barack Obama, Matt Damon, Patrick Stewart, Kofi Annan, Antonio Banderas, President Bill Clinton, Kiefer Sutherland, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and many other prominent male and female thought-leaders calling for broader awareness of gender inequality. As a result of all the planning and efforts leading up to this launch, the broad media response and the social media activities being generated, the campaign's official website at http://heforshe.org now reflects thousands of voices around the world calling for true equality for women and girls. A vast resource for anyone seeking actionable information on how to get involved in the expanding HeForShe movement, this site is growing richer by the second.
Ultimately, Cutters Studios executive producer Elizabeth Krajewski was able to make a powerful impact on the HeForShe campaign by addressing the need for a sensational public service announcement through her talented team and contacts, including LOOKER director Eden Tyler. Having just returned from shooting a spot in India where he'd attended a play about Delhi gang-rape victim Nirbhaya, Tyler loved the campaign PSA's focus on men standing up for women. "What happens when men come together to talk about women? Well, all the stereotypical images come to mind," Tyler confided. "With this film, I thought it would be interesting to shift the conversation in a way that people don't expect."
Krajewski also had another very special male contributor in mind for the project. "Cutters editor Barnett Kiel is equally passionate about this cause," she said. "As soon as I briefed him on these meetings, he was the obvious choice to bring his passion and expertise to this project."
Director Tyler agreed that the fit was perfect. "I was enthralled by Barnett's passion for this project," he confirmed. "Our dialogue was effortless; we were on the same page."
Through expert craftsmanship, planning and artistry, this partnership produced the :99 PSA that opened the show at the 20 Sept. launch event, after being introduced by Kiefer Sutherland. Longer versions of this film will star in the campaign's promotions as key parts of a worldwide reach aiming to activate one billion men over the next year. In these remarkable films, men from a mixed group ranging in age from 23 to 60 take turns speaking up and sharing their heartfelt thoughts on the subject of women's equality.
Additional ingredients in bringing this spectacular content to life include teams from NYC's Nina Day Casting and the award-winning Chicago-based sound design studio Another Country. Here's how everything came together.
Casting and Pre-Production
According to Tyler, the casting process was very intensive, and honed-in on 16 men with far-ranging back stories. "We were looking for men who were open-minded and had a wide set of perspectives on the issue," he said. "And in talking to them, finding that core belief about how men have to stand up for women was not that difficult to do."
With Tyler aiming to capture all the footage in a single day's shoot in NYC, Kiel was especially proactive in helping to formulate the on-camera interview process. As he said, "I wanted to be absolutely sure that when the shoot was over and the interviews completed, I would be able to trust in the footage to reveal the highest truths of this project… and thereby support women as profoundly as possible."
With the LOOKER crew including director of photography Eddie Stephenson, line producer Dorothy Toran and many other staff members from Cutters in New York, production took place under Tyler's direction in NYC with a four-camera setup (three Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIs and one Panasonic Lumix GH4). Each of the 16 talents was fitted with his own wireless microphone, and additional audio coverage was provided by two shotgun mics. Essentially, Tyler gathered the group in front of the cameras, and using the questions formulated by he and Kiel, he prompted the group to start speaking up. There were more than 30 questions in all, including these:
• Why is it important for you personally to stand up for woman's human rights and gender equality?
• I am a HeForShe because, why?
• I am outraged because of, what? And what are you going to do about it?
• Why do men oppress women?
• What do women mean to you personally?
• How would gender equality benefit society as a whole and why is it essential right now?
Each man was also filmed holding a hand-written sign reading "HeForShe." Through the shooting process, everyone involved in the production quickly gained great admiration for each of the on-camera talents, most of whom - like brothers Eric and Anthony McGriff - are very active in women's rights issues. In Tyler's words, "The result was a mountain of footage, which we handed over to Barnett and gave him a few days to marinate with it."
Editing, Finishing and Delivery
On the Cutters side, under Kiel's direction, that mountain of footage was transcribed and loaded into Avid's Media Composer, with all of the synchronized audio tracks intact (19 in total).
"The campaign's core messaging was to have the men in the group identify the problem, speak about their personal experiences with the problem, and address what they'd like to do about it," Kiel explained. Using those points as an entry point into the dialogue, Kiel set out to find something more resonant. "I knew that the power of the campaign would reside in the emotional truth of the men, their vulnerability, and the heartfelt expression of their outrage and solidarity with the cause of gender equality and women's rights," he continued. "If I could capture these feelings and realness from Eden's willingness to guide the men into uncharted territory, I knew their story would have impact and substance."
Kiel found everything he was looking for in the footage, which he feels reflects Tyler's talent, commitment and passion… and the sincere commitments of all those appearing on-camera and many others behind the scenes. Working his way through four different cuts before presenting anything to Tyler, the director and editor then collaborated to trim the longest version down to 4:00 and then 2:30 for web consumption. From these they meticulously crafted the :90 version. Credit for the campaign's visual identity goes to DIA, which provided on-screen graphics incorporating the HeForShe Pantone color that represents the first-ever Pantone color designation for a charitable cause.
Another Country also earned considerable praise for its staff's extensive work cleaning-up dialogue and handling the final mix. And among many Cutters editorial assistants who supported the project from beginning to end, Cameron Yergler was also tasked with editing a second HeForShe overview documentary short that will be another key campaign asset.
Bicoastal HiFi Project contributed the inspired music track used on all three pieces through the generous participation of executive producer and partner Birgit Roberts and composer Michael Kotch. Complete project credits are available upon request.
To learn more about the UN Women's HeForShe campaign, please visit http://heforshe.org.
About Cutters and Cutters Studios
Established in Chicago in 1980, Cutters has cemented its reputation as a premier provider of extraordinary editing and post-production artistry, and today the company is among the world's largest independent editorial companies. Based on its solid reputation for world-class editorial talents, family values and truly great leadership, over time, Cutters has opened successful studios in Detroit, Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York City. With its partner companies Another Country, Dictionary Films, Flavor and Picnic Media, Cutters Studios represents unlimited full-service creative capabilities. For more information please visit http://www.cuttersstudios.com.
About LOOKER (http://lookercontent.com)
LOOKER is a creative boutique focusing on live action production and integrated "all-in" content production for fashion, beauty, celebrity and lifestyle brands. With a diverse award-winning roster of passionate director/DPs and photographers, LOOKER collaborates with clients across spots, branded content and entertainment works with its clients from pre-production, through production and post-production to ensure the best possible creative outcomes and value for its clients. LOOKER's directors have worked with a who's who of fashion and beauty including Vogue, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Prada, L'Oreal, Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, Hearst, Unilever, Gucci, P&G and many others.