SOS, a film campaign to help promote the Live Earth global concerts held on July 7, saw video commissioner Dilly Gent commission 60 films all to be made in just five months.
“It was a dream job for me,” says Gent. “As I’m a bit of an environmentalist, though obviously not enough, and it was a wide open brief.”
The only restrictions on the films were that they had to be made for $35K and had to be within one and ten minutes long. “I started out by going to all my favourite directors,” continues Gent. “I started in the UK and US and then looked at all the countries where the concerts are being played. I was approaching each director individually and asking them to watch Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and think about what aspects are interesting to them. Then Al Gore won the Oscar and suddenly 30 scripts would arrive from each company as everyone wanted to do it. We were flooded with 500 scripts and it got extremely tricky.”
Having decided on a list of directors, which includes familiar names from the worlds of ad and music video directing, such as Sam Arthur, Roman Coppola, Johan Renck and Sophie Muller, as well as features directors including Kevin McDonald and Rob Reiner, Gent just let them get on with it. “You can’t be on every shoot, you can’t be in every edit,” she says. “I was stuck behind a computer hoping that the films would come in looking great. As a commissioner I’m quite hands off – I do all the prepping work, but then I let go. It can be damaging if you get too involved. And it goes to show that when they are left completely on their own they can do something amazing – creative freedom works and we ended up with a bunch of pretty phenomenal films.”
The films will be shown online, on MTV and also at concerts and film festivals around the world. Gent is hopeful that they might help make an impact on viewers about the importance of the cause. “Live Earth is an ongoing thing – there is a massive campaign going on. I was concerned at the beginning about the concerts – about the litter, the energy used. But of course they’ve thought about all that. I hope a lot of bands are inspired by it and that they realise they can do things differently. I’d like to think these films can make a difference – I don’t think we’re going to see the climate reversing because of them, but hopefully they will make people think.”
All the films can be viewed online at www.liveearthviewing.com