Facebook's Internet.org commercials go for the "extraordinary"
The real-life story of two schoolgirls’ amazing invention provides the focus of a stirring new ad for Internet.org.
The commercial is one of several produced by Epoch Films in various countries, and is directed by Alma Har’el.
Production service company Jacaranda Films worked on the Bolivia-set ad which, very much in the usual style of the director, centres on real people and locations, in documentary style; Har’el uses her own Bolex camera to shoot the spot.
Internet.org was founded by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – a coalition of technology companies described as ‘a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it.’
The hunt was on for Epoch and Har’el to find people doing extraordinary things. People who weren’t connected to the worldwide web; in Ancoraimes, Bolivia, the makers came across two 11 year-old schoolgirls who had developed a mechanical arm using recycled materials.
The girls lived miles from major cities, 1-2 hours’ walk from their school and had extremely limited communications available to publicise their amazing achievement, which in the Western world would no doubt have gone viral.
Filming in the isolated town of Ancoraimes proved a challenge for the production team – on the edge of Titikaka Lake, it has only one hotel, used by the whole production unit. The area is not very developed when it comes to production services, so getting queries answered and logistics sorted wasn’t straightforward, as Jacaranda’s Rémi Noiriel explained:
“The crew had to travel for four hours from La Paz to reach Ancoraimes – a journey which involved heavy traffic and high altitudes; at times over 3,600m above sea level. At almost every point along the way, a foreign crew member experienced sickness, but there was a doctor with the team at all times who worked non-stop.
“At our shoot, we found the most amazing people, willing to let us shoot their lifes, their homes, open to offer us a delightful experience, a warm reason to be there for enduring the cold of night even in the middle of the summer.”
Of the 25 crew, 18 were from the US, all working alongside an experienced unit made up of Bolivians and Argentinians.
A potential technical hiccough for foreign crews heading to shoot in Bolivia is the fact that there are generally only Red cameras available, no Alexas etc. So anyone coming from Argentina, Peru, Chile, the USA or Europe needs to bear this in mind and bring some of their own equipment.
However, according to Jacaranda, Bolivia’s Film Commision, CONACINE, is really helpful with customs, and can facilitate the equipment getting into the country.
You can see the ad below, along with production credits.
Director Alma Har´el
Production company Epoch Films
Producer Christopher Leggett
DoP Michael Ragen
Client Facebook’s Internet.org
Executive producer Scott Kaplan
Executive producer Mauro Groisman
Executive producer Mindy Goldberg
Copywriter Kevin Lee-Glen. Butter
Art director Shane Fleming
Production service Jacaranda Films