A total of 14 different directors, including Paul Arden and Stuart
Douglas, have collaborated to make a new commercial for the Commission
for Racial Equality.
The two-minute ad charts the progress of human life, from birth through
love, sporting activity, old age and death, to make the point that
people - no matter what their colour - are subject to the same life
changes and emotions.
The Saatchi and Saatchi copywriter, Kes Gray, and his art director,
Dennis Willison, came up with the original idea, which involves a list
of 14 different aspects or stages of life. Each of these was
encapsulated in a single word or idea, such as ’prayer’, ’injury’ or
’toddlers/tantrums’ and each was allocated to a director.
From then on, the directors were on their own. From just a single
phrase, each was asked to come up with eight seconds of black-and-white
film depicting - literally or figuratively - that emotion or time in a
person’s life. Their only instructions were to devote four seconds to
white people and four to people from ethnic minorities. Each director
was given six weeks and instructions not to mix black people with white
in the film.
Gray said the hardest part of the project was letting go, giving out
instructions and then standing back and doing nothing until each
mini-film came in: ’What Dennis and I have not done - probably for the
first time - is get involved. We really wanted them to have as open a
brief as we could give them.
’It was a nightmare for some,’ he added. ’If you’re given one word and
asked to nail it in eight seconds it can be quite daunting. Directors
don’t often get the chance to do that.’
Apart from Arden and Douglas, Nick Lewin, Ivan Zacharias, Zak Ove and
Jonathan Greenhalgh also signed up, as did Martin Brierley, Frederico
Brugio, Antony Easton, Fatima, Jonathan Glazer, John More, John
O’Donnell and Tessa Sheridan.
As each director’s contribution has come in it has been added to the
film under conditions of great secrecy, so that those directors sending
later contributions would not be influenced by earlier segments. The
final film is scheduled to be unveiled on 21 May.