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

NGOs band together in appeal to UN

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.

CREDITS

Production Company: Unit 9 Films

Director, Writer: Martin Stirling

Producer, Executive Producer: Michelle Craig

Director of Photography: 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

Visual Effects, Postproduction: Cherry Cherry

Visual Effects Supervisors: Nico Cotta, Tony Landais

Compositors: Ergin Ishakoglu, James Cornwell, Doruk Saglam, Utku Ertin, Mertcan Ag, Nico Cotta, Otis Guinness-Walker

Computer Graphic 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