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IDFA Puts Tears Under the Microscope for Stunning Campaign

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'Real Emotions. Real Film.' from We Are Pi uncovers the unique beauty of our tears under the microscope, delivering the message that every tear tells a different story

IDFA Puts Tears Under the Microscope for Stunning Campaign

IDFA, the world’s leading documentary film festival, best known for its support of independent filmmakers and artistic excellence, today launches a campaign to celebrate the beauty and power of emotions with 'Real Emotions. Real Film.'

Created in-house by Amsterdam-based ideas company WE ARE Pi, in collaboration with artistic director Maurice Mikkers, the campaign takes an intimate look at different emotions under the microscope to capture the beautiful range reactions to documentary film.

“IDFA explores the depths of human emotion through their documentary films. We wanted to show just how real and beautiful those emotions are.” says co-founder and ECD at We Are Pi, Barney Hobson.

The creative spirit of IDFA is conveyed by showing a new way to express emotion - by discovering the tangible art forms hidden within every single teardrop. The unique structure of minerals, shaped by different feelings, tell their own stories.

The idea to place tears under the microscope was inspired by Mikkers, who wondered what our tears looked like up close and made a curious discovery back in 2014 that under a microscope, each tear looked like a uniquely beautiful work of art.

To bring the campaign to life, WE ARE Pi worked with Mikkers to collect hundreds of tears, each representing a unique human experience, ranging in emotions from joy to sorrow, pride to heartbreak. To collect them, We Are Pi provided tear collection kits for people to then capture their moments of real emotion. “The images of these tears are already beautiful on their own, but it’s all about the story.” says Mikkers.

On the creative process, artistic director at IDFA, Orwa Nyrabia, says “together with Mikkers and WE ARE Pi, we were able to bring together science and fact with poetry, philosophy, and art.”

On the ambition of the campaign, WE ARE Pi design director Seth Josephs says: “We wanted to share the emotions of IDFA’s audience back with them. To show them just how real and beautiful our feelings are, and to invite people to experience that beauty with us at the festival through the power of film.”

To compliment the abstract beauty of tears under a microscope, We Are Pi created a fully immersive film of slowlapsing tears as they move under a microscope. The entrancing tears of pride, grief, love and joy, build up to a crescendo of visual splendour before inviting you to feel the beauty yourself by taking part in IDFA 2020. 

The campaign roles out across the Netherlands in Cinema, Social, Print, Outdoor and PR. 

For those that would like to explore their own breadth of emotion through film, the festival dates this year are 16th Nov - 6th Dec. In order to ensure safety protocol for the coronavirus, the festival will now include screenings, talks and workshops both in physical locations across Amsterdam, and online via their website. You can learn more at

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Brand: IDFA

Artistic Director: Orwa Nyrabia

Festival Director: Cees van 't Hullenaar

Partnerships Manager: Andrea van den Bos

Head of Marketing Communications: Martine Van Duijn

Communications Coordinator: Marjolein Polder

Social Media Manager: Cengiz Can

Designer: Kaz Salemink


Agency: We Are Pi

Chief Executive Officer: Alex Bennett-Grant

Executive Creative Director: Barney Hobson

Executive Creative Director: Rick Chant

Design Director: Seth Josephs

Creative Director: Matteo Maggiore

Creative Director: Valerio Mangiafico

Creative: Kyle Foreman

Creative: Brigitta Szaszfai

Designer: Nick Fatouris

Designer: Fleur Ellis

Production Director: Kim Buttery

Producer: Ekaterina Golovkina

Production Assistant: Amani Barr

Head of Strategy: Mark Lester

Strategist: Paris Bethel

Managing director: Patrick Garvey

Business Director: Agathe Derrstroff

Account Executive: Slav Slavov

Business Affairs: Barrie Williams


Production Company: Pi Studios

Director: Director & DOP

Photographer: Maurice Mikkers

Music & Sound Design: Antfood

Music & Sound Design Creative Director: Pedro Botsaris

Sound Designer: Rory White

Composer: Rory White, Luis Bergmann, Wilson Brown, Yuta Endo

Colour Facility: De Grot

Colorist: Joppo in de Grot

Genres: Documentary

WE ARE Pi, Tue, 03 Nov 2020 13:06:14 GMT