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Harrowing Coronavirus Spot with a Twist Reveals the Realities Behind Domestic Abuse During Lockdown

28/04/2020
Production Company
London, UK
436
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Domestic abuse and crisis prevention organisation NO MORE teams up with MRM and Great Guns director Calum Macdiarmid for a live-action nationwide campaign
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, with one of the most troubling statistics to emerge from the crisis being the dramatic rise in domestic abuse reports. In the UK, the number of domestic killings has doubled during lockdown and calls to domestic violence helplines have increased by 120% – with traffic to their websites tripling.

After seeing domestic abuse organisation NO MORE’s powerful print work on the subject, Great Guns approached agency MRM to ask how they could help – with the idea of producing a film within the constraints of lockdown. Given the timely nature of the issue, the entire team needed to act fast; the film was green lit on Thursday, filmed on Friday, and delivered to client on the Tuesday. 

Directed by Great Guns’ Calum Macdiarmid, the spot begins with a man vigorously washing his hands, as viewers watch from outside his kitchen window. Whilst his behaviour initially appears to be a now-common practice during the pandemic, the camera gradually pans into the house, revealing a harrowing twist. 


Director Calum Macdiarmid comments: “The agency script was strong and simple, so my ambition was to take a minimalist approach. I wanted the tone within the narrative to change in a seamless way so it delivered a magician’s misdirect.”

The viewers’ perspective in the spot meant that Calum didn’t need to be on location during the shoot, working under the protocols of lockdown by viewing the playback takes and giving technical and performance direction remotely. The shoot was only made possible by DOP Max Witting’s efforts and generosity, offering his own home as a location whilst lighting the exterior and interior single-handedly. His housemate and partner also starred as the couple in the film. The work was edited in house at Great Guns by Nick Saunders, graded by OKAY STUDIO’s Stef Colosi, with sound from Dugal Macdiarmid at Wave.

MRM Founder Nicky Bullard comments: “Great Guns approached us having seen the print campaign. They offered us the skills of their amazing Gunners around the world, who jumped on this project immediately and against the odds created something utterly compelling. This subject is dark, but it’s at moments like this when people come together, when we see the good – they show up. It’s been a fantastic partnership.”

Pamela Zaballa, global executive director of NO MORE, adds: “The PSA is powerful and disturbing in a way that we hope inspires more people to take domestic violence seriously and become allies in the effort to stop and prevent it – during this crisis and beyond. We are extremely grateful to MRM and Great Guns for rising to the challenge of quickly producing a video while safely social distancing.”

The film is being broadcast on NFL Network and Univision in the US, as well as distributed through NO MORE and NFL social channels in the US and UK.

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