Calling the class roster is a normal part of a school day. In Across the Pond’s campaign film for Education Above All (EAA), it’s horrifying. As the teacher calls out names, each child answers, “here”, but not from the classroom.
The campaign was launched on September 9 to coincide with the UN’s annual International Day to Protect Education from Attack, to draw attention to the plight of more than 75 million three-to-18-year-olds living in 35 crisis-affected countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, the Philippines, Sudan and Ukraine, and their urgent need for educational support.
Kudos to director, Nathan Sam Long, for not cluttering the film with distractions and for its striking beauty in sharp juxtaposition with the horror of the subject.
The film was streamed live as part of a virtual event organised by EAA in partnership with UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on the UN’s annual International Day to Protect Education From Attack on September 9.
EAA is now sharing it across all its social channels and wants as many people as possible to do the same to help protect the education of the world’s most vulnerable children and to put pressure on those in power across the world to do so too. Every day, children have their education destroyed because of war, sexual exploitation, murder, kidnapping and military occupation of schools committed by those with political, ideological and military motives. EAA is trying to stop this and persuade world leaders that education is a human right and should be a top priority.
The International Day to Protect Education From Attack was first launched by the UN in May last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a historic disruption of education with 1.6 billion learners affected, in order to highlight the plight of children and youth in under-resourced communities and conflict zones.
Last year’s UN event launched with the D&AD Pencil-winning film, Boy Soldier, also created by Across the Pond.
Maleiha Malik, British executive director of the EAA’s Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict programme in Doha, stated “We all know that education is a fundamental human right. But more than that, quality education is a foundation of tolerance, pluralism and security in society. Put simply, a lack of education is a driver of extremist ideologies; in a world where there are so many conflict zones, it’s more urgent than ever that young people have access to education to give them the resilience and critical skills to reject hate and violence. That’s why the #UniteToProtect campaign and Across the Pond’s powerful Calling Attendance film are so important.”
Agency: Across the Pond
Production Company: Across the Pond
Director: Nathan Sam Long
Executive Creative Director: Jim de Zoete
Executive Producer: Anna Brent
Head of Production: Tom Dore
Creatives: Maggi Machado & Nick Alden
Senior Producer: Matt Mager
DoP: Oliver Ford
Editor: Phil Currie @ Cheat
Sound Design: Luis Issermann
Production Manager: Viviana Cabral
Production Designer: Jakob Gierse
Casting Director: Emma Garrett
Client: Education Above All
Coordinating Producer: Ryan Chittenden
Supervising Producer: Zeina Awad