David Knight - 8th Dec 2008

In the internet campaign supporting Dido's new album Safe Trip Home, films are being made for every track on the album. The theme is simple - but ambitious.

The films document life in different cultures all over the world - and the stories of ordinary (and extraordinary) people: a transsexual Thai boxer in Bangkok, a girl taxi driver in Mumbai, a fishing community in Portugal, teenagers in London, a woman eking a living from a landfill in Rio... These are certainly not traditional promos, but compelling and resonant documentary portraits. Its an eye-opening series.

Some films are still at the commissioning stage - that's been an involved and challenging process, check out Laura Lewis's comments below - but all those films so far completed are on the Safe Trip Home website, where viewers can leave comments. And here's something from that first batch: Tinge Krishnan's Bangkok-set film Black Eyelashes - for the track It Comes And It Goes - about the remarkable transsexual (or 'ladyboy') Thai boxer Nong Toom.

Tinge Krishnan on making her film for Dido's Safe Trip Home film project

"When I heard the track I was struck by the movement between strength and vulnerability within the track and this seemed like a perfect marriage to the key themes in Nong's life.

"Nong really inspired me as she mixes yin and yang; being a mother and a fighter. She has an adopted daughter and is setting up a training centre to teach disadvantaged and vulnerable youths, particularly girls the discipline of Thai Boxing.

"I felt the music would resonate with her courage of coming out as a ladyboy in the macho environment of boxing. I felt this also resonated with the album's themes of home - being home in one's body, one's practice and one's family. When I played her the song for the first time her eyes welled up and she said- 'that's me'.

"I took a documentary approach to the video and loved the idea of filming every aspect of Nong and also capturing the beauty, joy and difficulty of Thai Boxing, from training in the gym the fighting in the ring. I also love the rough and ready country gyms - how they are just corrugated iron shacks with chickens running around and the way local kids gather there after school and dedicate themselves to training with a mixture of serious intent and childlike playing.

"It was tough but an incredibly wonderful shoot with a mixed crew of English and Thais; so there was a powerful cultural exchange over the shoot"

Laura Lewis on commissioning Dido's Safe Trip Home film campaign

"A few concepts had already come and gone for the Dido campaign so time really wasn't on our side for this one! We needed to source film content quickly from around the globe to tie in with the web campaign being built for Dido's new album, so had a meeting to discuss how, what and where we would be getting it from.

"The album tackles notions of the meaning of "home" and this needed to be incorporated into the content. Whilst we weren't creating promos, the tracks had to be prominent within the video pieces and appeal to Dido's target audience of 26 - 35 year old females.

"The Mike Mills video for Air, 'All I Need' immediately came to mind. Whilst still a traditional promo, the video is shot in a beautiful documentary style and contains elements of dialogue. Having also discussed the equally beautiful and emotive video for Blur's Out Of Time by John Hardwick, again using elements of narrative (this time with subtitles) we had decided upon our basic brief.

"Dido had allocated each album track a country or region, some songs with extra briefing notes, some without. Tackling the subject of 'Home' (either geographically, physically, emotionally or metaphorically speaking) all the films needed to be poignant, emotive and have a degree of gravitas but not worthy or carry any political message.

"The budget for each film was $20K. Having called in Astrid Edwards, a producer who'd previously experienced commissioning films globally for Live Earth, I set about contacting as many reps, production companies and Sony BMG territories we felt were suitable.

"Within a couple of weeks we had well over 100 treatments from Thailand, India, Africa, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe. Filtering the good ones was surprisingly easy and soon we had commissioned several documentary-style films from several territories - I had a Didometre on my desk charting our progress round the world!


DirectorTinge Krishnan
Production CompanyRadical Media
Production CompanyDisruptive Element Films

David Knight - 8th Dec 2008

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