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Water emergency: Sierra Leone

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“Go to Freetown and capture the story of water.” How one of Andrassy Media’s most open film briefs led to the creation of a powerful fundraising tool for a new charity…

Water emergency: Sierra Leone was made for a newly formed French charity, called Here2Grow. Set up in response to the lack of access to clean water in Sierra Leone, Here2Grow was about to launch and needed a film for its high profile inaugural event in the south of France.

As a brand new charity, at that time not even officially constituted, Here2Grow had a zero budget and so the film project would have to undertaken on a 100% voluntary basis.

To add to the challenge, Here2Grow had few contacts in Sierra Leone and no clear brief for how the film should look. The only given was that, as a charity concerned with the impact on children’s education, the focus was to be on schools.

With this most open of briefs, in April 2011 Andrassy Media director David Andrassy set off for Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, to make a film.

Without any clear plan, local contacts or agencies to guide him, David had to discover the story for himself. Over a period of 10 days, he successfully identified schools willing to participate in the film, negotiated their involvement and carried out the filmed interviews.

Once back in England the raw footage had to be turned into a coherent narrative, edited, scripted, voiced and be ready for the charity’s launch two weeks later. It was here, in the edit suite, that the arc of the story emerged. Editing, writing and narrating all at once had its challenges. But it was ultimately also what gave the film its urgency.

Finally, the film was subtitled in French and sent to Nice for the charity’s launch event, where it was shown to an audience of key supporters and donors.

Watching Water Emergency, the audience was both moved and inspired, and the film was felt by Here2Grow to be a highly successful and persuasive tool to support their fundraising efforts. It was subsequently shown at a number of fundraisers both in France and England, also with positive results for the new charity.

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‘The film treats the people with respect. It doesn’t make them look helpless like a lot of charity films – they are presented as strong and determined. It makes me want to help.’

Audience member’s reaction at the film’s Manchester screening

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