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Stunning PSA Shifts Time to Undo the Killing on a Syrian School Playground


Martin Stirling already directed one powerful PSA about Syria—Save the Children's incredible spot from last spring, which imagined if the crisis were taking place in London. But the Unit 9 director wasn't finished.

With the United Nations General Assembly meeting next week, the world's leading NGOs—Oxfam, Save the Children, Care, Amnesty and a hundred more—have banded together for a new PSA, directed by Stirling, that attempts to capture the horrors being endured by ordinary Syrians on a daily basis.

See the spot here:

The stylistic choice of using reverse footage almost becomes a moral choice here—it's the hook that makes the piece haunting, and shareable, and thus capable of making a difference. The film is the centerpiece in the NGOs' #WithSyria campaign, which drives viewers to a petition asking the UN Security Council to take next steps to protect civilians.

ISIS is dominating the headlines today, but the plight of ordinary Syrians remains critical. The death toll in Syria is now close to 200,000. Most of the civilian deaths are caused by "barrel bombs"—oil drums filled with explosives, chemical weapons and rusty nails, dropped from Syrian regime helicopters into populated areas. The same areas are often hit twice in quick succession in order to kill first responders.

"I really had no choice about whether or not to make this film," Stirling says in a statement. "I was swamped by a couple of projects, and I tried my best to walk away but found it impossible. Whenever I thought about not making this film I was haunted by the images and stories I had come across in preparation for the 'Most Shocking Second A Day Video' earlier in the year.

"This film felt like an appropriate follow-up to that first one—it was creatively and stylistically different in a way which would hopefully capture the attention of a wide audience and the hearts of influential policy makers."

Credits below.

Production Company: Unit 9 Films
Director/Writer: Martin Stirling
Producer/Exec Producer: Michelle Craig
DOP: Carl Burke
Focus Puller: Jonny Franklin
Researcher: Harry Starkey Midha
Production Partner: Atlantik Films
Editor: Alex Burt
Grade: Un1t Post
Colorist: Simon Astbury
Sound Design: Jon Clarke
Post-Sound Producer: Rebecca Bell
VFX + Post: Cherry Cherry
VFX Supervisors: Nico Cotta, Tony Landais
Compositors: Ergin Ishakoglu, James Cornwell, Doruk Saglam, Utku Ertin, Mertcan Ag, Nico Cotta, Otis Guinness-Walker
CG Artists: Bogi Gulacsi, Ceyhan Kapusuz, Zeynep Onder, Tony Landais
Digital Matte Painters: Stuart Tozer, Richard Tilbury
Executive Producer: Chris Allen
Line Producer: Sezen Akpolat
Music: 'Youth' Daughter
With Thanks to Matt Brown and Steph Hamill

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