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THE FIRST SPEECH. RUSSIA

INNOCEAN BERLIN / REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS / 2024

Awards:

Gold Cannes Lions
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Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for Film?

The campaign includes three films that take viewers back to the time and space where modern autocrats delivered their inaugural speeches as presidents. Each film paints an accurate and vivid portrait of the nation and its citizens as they listen to their newly elected leader's first words. Through intentional photography and powerful music, the audience is taken on an emotional journey, starting with hopeful chords that gradually darken, mirroring the stark contrast between the pretty words of autocrats and the harsh reality they impose. The sort of emotional journey only the art of film can deliver.

Please provide any cultural context that would help the Jury understand any cultural, national or regional nuances applicable to this work.

With over 80 countries holding elections and an estimated 4 billion voters heading to the polls, 2024 is the biggest electoral year in history - a pivotal moment for democracy worldwide. While some countries may gain more freedom, others face the risk of losing it. As Reporters Without Borders Germany celebrates its 30th year anniversary, we want to remind everyone that the free press is vital to keep democracy and human rights alive. In historical moments like these, it's especially important to keep a close eye on autocrats disguised as democrats, watch out for their pretty words, and trust the free press instead.

Write a short summary of what happens in the film

In this film we hear the beautiful words that Vladimir Putin gave when he won the presidency in Russia by popular vote in 2000. In contrast, we contemplate the lives of everyday people, while tuning in to the live broadcast via radio or TV. The last scene of the film, focuses on journalists, also paying close attention to the speech. The film ends by revealing the speech giver to the viewer, highlighting the stark contrast between their pretty promises and the ugly realities imposed to the country and the free press, not long after being elected.

Background:

Situation: Reporters Without Borders Germany wanted to mark their 30th anniversary with a campaign that celebrates their dedication to holding accountable those who oppose democracy and the free press. In a year when democracy faces its toughest challenge in history, with over half of the world’s population heading to the polls, we joined forces to send a warning: “Trust the free press. Not pretty words.”

Brief: how can we remind people that democracy, in its most challenging year ever, is fragile and cannot be taken for granted?

Objectives:

Create awareness about how the free press is a crucial part of any democracy.

Remind people to not fall for pretty words from politicians.

Gather donations for Reporters Without Borders Germany during its 30th year anniversary.

Describe the Impact:

The films kicked off in Germany with a launch in cinemas and across online platforms. Its impact quickly crossed borders, drawing the attention of several other Reporters Without Borders offices, such as in Sweden, which streamed the films on their online channels and local movie theatres. In more repressive environments, like Russia, the state blocked web access to RSF’s website just a few days after the launch of the campaign.

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