Finalist for SIMA 2017: Stories that needed to be told
7 February 2017
Move over Oscars. The annual Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) are preparing to highlight impact filmmaking at its best, and we’re proud to say that three of BrandOutLoud’s videos are among the finalists. From empowering women and creating opportunities for youth, to the fight against malnutrition, each of these films has an incredible impact. What’s more, there are individual moments from the filmmaking process in each project that are imprinted on our hearts.
All of our work is motivated by stories of real life and the creative connection we have with our clients. These three videos — ‘Balancing Benefits’, ‘Farming in Sneakers’, and ‘Sustainable Nutrition 4 All’ — are no exception. All of the videos were commissioned by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. We had very intense discussions with them regarding how to promote their work in agriculture and global development. In the end, these were important stories that we felt compelled to tell.
Filmmaking isn’t just about the final film. It’s also about the process. We’ve found that one of the most important things when filmmaking is keeping an open mind. Being aware of what’s happening around us, not being afraid to stray away from a script or a particular plan and letting ourselves be surprised as it unfolds. There was one particular moment during the filming of this video about SNV’s work empowering women that still gives us goosebumps. While driving around with Joseph and Tamino, the two main subjects of the film, we came across a small road backdropped by beautiful mountains and rice fields on either side. Without hesitation, we stopped the car and did a shot with Joseph and Tamino walking along the road. In the background, an old man on an old African bike cycled past. We knew this frame was amazing and had to be the opening of the film.
'Farming in Sneakers'
One of the most rewarding things about going into the field and making these films is getting a firsthand look at the impact of the project. In ‘Farming in Sneakers’, our video highlighting opportunities for youth in Tanzania, there were truly many youth involved. For this production, more than 40 youngsters wanted to participate. One of the most memorable interviews was the opportunity to speak with Mona Lisa, a vibrant and hip young woman in the community. As a female farmer in a man’s world, she had a very clear vision for her business. She didn’t feel limited to selling her products locally. “Why not Kenya or Uganda?” she said with a smile. We were struck by her entrepreneurial view and her ability to look ahead.
'Sustainable Nutrition 4 All'
Impact filmmaking takes perseverance and a commitment to putting all of your energy into the people you’re portraying. It’s the only way to get the reciprocal energy that we filmmakers hope for. Traveling everyday to film ‘Sustainable Nutrition 4 All’, a video showing how SNV is fighting malnutrition through a holistic approach, is an experience that still stands out in our minds. We were filming in small village in Northern Zambia that was approximately two hours away from our homestay. In order to be there at six o’clock in the morning when everyone in the village was getting up and starting their day, we had to leave by four o’clock to travel. Despite the long commute though, the experience was extremely rewarding. Although this project only started shortly before we came in, we could see and feel the community’s eagerness to be involved in the programme. They wanted to change their own behaviour. This energy kept us going.
Catalyzing impact cinema worldwide
SIMA started as the first documentary and education media competition honouring independent filmmakers and those in the global humanitarian sector for their ability to inspire social change. Now with a selection of films from over 140 countries around the world each year, the SIMA awards acknowledge best practices and innovation in social-documentary storytelling.
Thank you to SIMA for this incredible honour. We’re proud to be alongside this international group of filmmakers who are using their films to inspire awareness, dialogue and action about so many important issues. It’s motivating to know that our films are making a difference and it drives us to continue telling these important stories.