Today we celebrate 60 years of Amnesty International!
A breathtaking film with Amnesty activists at five iconic locations around the world and dramatic art displays on celestial drones is released today to celebrate Amnesty International’s 60th anniversary.
An orchestral version of Peter Gabriel’s haunting human rights anthem “ Biko ” provides the soundtrack to the newly recorded voices of the gospel choir The Spirituals in London and Angelique Kidjo and Nazanin Boniadi, among others, provide the powerful narration of the poem “ Ode to Amnesty ” written especially by Bill Shipsey for the film and now translated into twenty languages.
“Freedom Flight”, a two-minute feature film produced by Art for Amnesty and Celestial, a cutting-edge drone art company, for Amnesty International France was shot on location at Plaza del Zócalo, Mexico City, at the Palace of Chaillot, in Paris, Sydney Opera House, Jama Masjid Mosque, New Delhi and across from Robben Island, Cape Town.
Peter Gabriel has incorporated the voice of “The Spirituals” who have come together over the past year under Covid-19 as a way to reclaim and celebrate black spirituals, songwriters and musicians. Due to time restrictions and Covid-19, the singers recorded individual tracks on their smartphones and sent them in for assembly last week.
Gabriel, Amnesty International’s ambassador of conscience and long-time champion of the human rights organization, said:
“It was a race against time but it was totally worth it. The Spirituals Choir is committed to telling stories of social justice and black history to a new generation that fits the inspiration behind Steve Biko’s story very well.
“Today more than ever, we need as many people as possible to start taking injustice personally and getting involved in any way we can. Amnesty has done an amazing job in the world which I believe has been really important and sustained for forty years. I was very happy to be asked to help me with this beautiful film. “
Iranian-born actress Nazanin Boniadi, star of the Homeland spy thriller series and currently filming for The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, provides the English voiceover. She said:
“As an artist it is important for me to speak about freedom of expression and as a woman born in Iran I want to amplify the voices of courageous women who have been silenced, tortured, imprisoned and even killed. in my country. , simply for claiming their rights. Amnesty is calling their names and strengthening their voices, along with other disenfranchised groups around the world and I salute them for that.
“I am delighted to be able to contribute to this breathtaking film, marking a major milestone for Amnesty International, of which I am the ambassador.”
Four times winner of a Grammy Award and ambassador of conscience of Amnesty International, Angélique Kidjo, gives the voice over in French. She said:
“Amnesty’s work in campaigning for freedom of expression and for women and girls around the world to reach their full potential is close to my heart and may it continue for a long time.
“Biko’s soundtrack is an inspired choice, as Steve Biko’s struggle against apartheid inspired the African continent and beyond, and is just as relevant today.”
“I am honored to speak about this important film, which marks an important milestone for Amnesty International, just as I was honored to receive the Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International.”
Sylvie Brigot, Director of Amnesty International France, said:
“Amnesty International’s 60th anniversary is a milestone for the global movement and we are delighted to commemorate this moment with a truly global, groundbreaking and beautiful film. The stars in the sky around the world represent millions of activists around the world who make Amnesty International what it is today. And what better place to end the film than the Palais de Chaillot, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for which we all fight, was adopted? “
Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty, who conceived the idea for the film, said:
“This film combining art, music, poetry and technology is a thank you and a testament to the contributions of the millions of Amnesty members present and past who have worked tirelessly for human rights over the past 60 years. that the film will inspire a new generation of activists to take action for human rights, become members of Amnesty International and support its important work. “
In the film, Amnesty activists “drop” lighted drones into the sky which join dozens of other lighted drones, representing Amnesty activists operating around the world. These lit drones then transform into an Amnesty dove designed by Picasso.
The giant dove then majestically flies over the place before finally transforming into an artistic representation of the iconic Amnesty candle in barbed wire above the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.
The final scene of the film shows Amnesty activists in South Africa looking into the camera, with the words – We Stand With Humanity on the screen.
An “Ode to Amnesty” written by Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey presents the story of the film, telling the story of Amnesty International’s journey since its inception in 1961. The poem has been translated into twenty languages to date, including French, Spanish and Arabic. , Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, German, Farsi and Bengali, giving the film a truly global reach.
The first verse refers to the original six “forgotten prisoners” featured in an Observer article written by Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson on May 28, 1961. The second to Amnesty’s work in the 1970s to ensure the prohibition of torture. The third at Amnesty broadened its mandate from civil and political rights to also encompass economic, social and cultural rights in 2001. The fourth reflects the current strength of Amnesty with its 10 million members and supporters. And the fifth and final, is a call to action to attract new members and supporters.
Freedom Flight received the backing and support of Bono, The Edge and Peter Gabriel, as well as several sections of Amnesty International.
Celestial founders Nick Kowalski, Tony Martin and John Hopkins, who created this film, are proud to be involved in the project. They said:
“Celestial is built on strong ethical values. We want to use our technology for good and place messages of hope in the sky using our revolutionary creative technology. We believe in the cause of Amnesty and this project seemed to us to be there. ‘perfect opportunity to showcase our innovation and inspire people to stand up for human rights. “
You can also read more about 60 years of humanity in action.
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