Anomaly Crafts ‘Ode to Lesvos’ for Johnnie Walker

By Erik Oster 

Anomaly worked with Sundance-winning director Talal Derki on a short documentary called “Ode to Lesvos” as part of its “Storyline” initiative for Johnnie Walker.

As the title suggests, the film is a tribute to the people of the Greek island of Lesvos, who helped a group of refugees who arrived at their island from Turkey. “Ode to Lesvos” shows how everyone on the island did their part to help, from the fishermen who pulled the refugees out of the water (“We were fishing for people instead of fish,” one of them says) to the elderly women who washed and ironed their clothes. The inhabitants of their island explain what they did to help, while footage contrasts the slow pace of their everyday life with a stack of life preservers which were worn by the refugees.

The film is beautifully shot and tells its story well within its time frame, exploring its subject fully without overstaying its welcome. It exists both as a full-length film running four and half minutes and as a series, which separates the documentary into different subjects, such as “The Ladies and “Thanassis.” It’s a testament to the goodwill of the people of Lesvos which, showing the human side of the refugee crisis while aligning the brand to a worthy cause.

Near the conclusion of the spot, text reveals that several residents of the island were nominated for a Nobel Prize for their actions. “I saved the life of same refugees once,” explains one fisherman. “And do you know what they did? All the people in the boat? They stood all their children in a line and each one came up and hugged and kissed me. That’s the Nobel Prize. It’s the greatest joy there is.”


Beyond simply documenting the brave efforts of the inhabitants of Lesvos, Johnnie Walker is also supporting global humanitarian aid organization Mercy Corps as part of the initiative.