Zoë Neary directs powerful film for stopAAPIhate.org

This new campaign for stopAAPIhate.org, created by Venables Bell & Partners San Francisco, is a powerful film calling for Asian Americans and Pacific Islander victims and witnesses of violence and hate crimes to come out of the shadows and report the incidents they have experienced.

Directed by Zoë Neary through Ruffian Los Angeles, the 70-second spot is a clever and impactful way to highlight how these victims, and the crimes committed against them, are often left hidden from view.

The story unfolds with everyday scenes we are used to seeing, with all appearing to be normal. What is eventually revealed within these scenes, however, powerfully underpins the message that only 30% of Asian Americans are ever likely to file a report. The film bears repeated viewing to spot the amazing costume and make-up work that conceals the cast members, each of whom sent in audition tapes describing what they would protect about their homes and families, and what hardships they've had to overcome in their lives.

"Most of our cast was given white coveralls that we hand-painted in detail to look like their backgrounds," says Neary. "We tried to choose patterns with bold shapes, like the circle, triangle and thick lines in our billboard poster. Anything that could distract the eye and break up the shape of our hidden bodies. For our cement steps, we hand-painted the suit to match the exact size of the pebbles and its cement textures. 

"We chose reveals that could range from something subtle that might catch the corner of our eye, to stepping forward confidently, so we could play with how much to trick the viewer's attention. Positioning had to be so precise! We had to position everyone exactly how we'd be seeing their bodies ahead of time: crouched over, straight backed, facing sideways - our paint team drew measurements on each coverall suit so they’d know exactly what BG textures they’d be standing in front of, and what lines we’d see breaking up their positions. We tried to incorporate several contrasting shapes to each person’s position so it would be hard to determine where one element ended and they began."

See the article on Shots.net