A small group of industry creatives has produced a new short video to “spread kindness and empathy and hope,” as we complete a gruelling, unrelenting year of life with COVID.
The video opens with shots of familiar places and spaces left mostly empty during the pandemic. It transitions to a montage of people—mostly in ones or twos, sometimes with masks, sometimes without—representing the simple but remarkable human experience of the past year. “We see you. Please don’t give up,” reads a white super on black background. “Today is a fight for everyone’s tomorrow.”
Called “Here, not here,” the video was posted anonymously to a purpose-built site called SomeoneWhoLovesYou.ca. “Someone who loves you made this,” reads the short explainer copy below the video. “We are a small group of creative professionals. We want to contribute. We have nothing to promote. Thank you for everything you’re doing to spread hope & kindness right now.”
When contacted by The Message, the group asked to remain anonymous, but provided some answers about the video.
SomeoneWhoLovesYou is comprised of a creative director/writer, graphic designer and editor (they had someone help to colour grade the video, and the music was contributed by the duo Me + T). The trio had been talking about doing something related to the pandemic for a while, but felt uncertain about how they could contribute in extraordinary times, when so many of the basic activities of the before times still aren’t possible.
“Part of the wickedness of this whole situation is that the best way to show you care is by not showing up,” they said. “We’ve all been subtracted from so many of our roles. And the meaning of so many of our most loving gestures—putting a hand on someone’s shoulder, giving a hug, dropping by unannounced for a visit—has been turned inside out.”
At the same time, the news coverage tends to focus on rule breakers, which can make those who are doing the right things feel like they are in the minority. “And there was a general feeling that this one-year-anniversary / another-lockdown / vaccine-vs-variant-race / hope-fade moment was happening,” they said. “That many extremely kind-hearted people are just running out of steam.”
That led to the creation of the video with three objectives:
- Create space for shared emotions (and for the sharing of emotions);
- Lift up and lionize the many unseen, unsung people who are quietly doing the caring, protective, self-sacrificing things they’ve been asked to; and
- Model and spread empathy.
Why the anonymity? “We aren’t trying to be overly cryptic,” they explained. “But pro bono work in our industry is sometimes done for recognition or self-promotion and we didn’t want anyone mistaking that as our intent.” Their only wish for people to watch it and, if they’re so inclined, share it. “We feel like we needed to hear this message. We think others feel the same.”
They also recognize that their short film can’t help many of those who could not stay home this past year. “None of us believes that you can communicate your way out of bad policies,” they said. “We still need better support for those who don’t have the options and resources they truly should have, and we still need a smarter strategy to guide us successfully through COVID… A film can’t fix that. But it can help people express and explore that with one another.”