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'The Bookcase for Tolerance' Is an Educational Tool Combating Antisemitism, Prejudice, Inequality and Discrimination

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Innocean Berlin, Media.Monks, MassiveMusic & Hagens PR come together to mark International Day for Tolerance

'The Bookcase for Tolerance' Is an Educational Tool Combating Antisemitism, Prejudice, Inequality and Discrimination

Intolerance is often fuelled by the unknown. It begins with words and can lead to physical acts of violence. Today, the UNESCO International Day for Tolerance, sees the launch of “The Bookcase for Tolerance'' created by Innocean Berlin in collaboration with Media.Monks. Under the motto #DontHateEducate, the project uses the power of personal testimonials to educate people and to influence their attitude and behaviour towards those considered "different". 

The app, website and docuseries give a unique insight into the lives of Anne Frank and four young people facing discrimination. All so we can live in a tolerant world. A world without discrimination.

On 11 April 1944, whilst hiding from Nazi persecution in a Secret Annex concealed by a bookcase, Anne Frank wrote the following in her diary: “Let me be myself” – longing for the day when people could be seen once again as humans and not labelled by their beliefs. Executive Director of the Anne Frank House, Ronald Leopold, puts it: “This bookcase reminds us of what prejudice and discrimination can lead to. Many young people still have to deal with this. The Bookcase for Tolerance tells their story. By using the power of personal testimonies, we want to make intolerance and discrimination a topic of discussion and help counter it."

Through augmented reality, the Bookcase for Tolerance app invites the audience to immerse in the rooms of Dalit, a woman that deals with antisemitism in her everyday life; Mees, a transgender non-binary person who struggles with acceptance and inequality; Kuei, a young black woman often discriminated because of her skin colour; Majd, a refugee living in the Netherlands who still faces prejudice because of his roots; and Anne Frank, the girl who changed the world by – in her own words – “writing against the depths of despair”.

The app was developed using photogrammetry, a spatial scanning technique based on photographic images that allows capturing a 3D representation of places, objects and people. The rooms of these 5 protagonists come to life in the virtual world, after being carefully modelled and rendered in 3D. Each room contains some of their personal objects, allowing users to know them and their struggles a little better. The website features the documentaries and points visitors towards the immersive experience awaiting on the app. Both are featured in English, Dutch, Spanish, German, and Portuguese – so that more people can interact with and share these powerful testimonials.

Standing against intolerance as well, other renowned collaborators joined forces. Johan Kramer, co-founder of Dutch agency KesselsKramer, directed the teaser film, which was narrated by Elliot Page. As a transgender person, the actor and activist often speaks publicly about the topics of acceptance and tolerance. As for the documentaries and launch film, they were directed by the Dutch filmmaker Ted Alkemade. Yvette de Witt and Sven Schrader – based in Rotterdam and Berlin, respectively – captured the essence of the project through their photographic work. MassiveMusic Berlin composed the musical score used throughout the project. Hagens, based in Amsterdam, is responsible for the PR efforts.

"We feel honoured to collaborate with so many talented partners and, together with the Anne Frank House, develop an innovative tool to help counter this social plague called intolerance. To quote Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father: 'We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe that it's everyone's responsibility to fight prejudice." said Ricardo Wolff, executive creative director, Innocean Berlin.

“Bookcase for Tolerance is a great use case of immersive storytelling through AR. To be able to literally walk into the secret annex and get a glimpse of Anne’s life is a moving experience, until now only possible at the Anne Frank House Museum. In this context, the narrative leads us through the stories of modern young people facing intolerance; using special cameras, we scanned their rooms to generate 3D photos -a technique called photogrammetry- that users can explore in a 1:1, true-to-life examination of their experiences. The team at Media.Monks has been specially invested in crating this experience, where our love for tech and interaction helps spreading a very important message,” said Patricio Berríos Lobos, creative director XR, Media.Monks. 

Shai Hirschson, creative managing director, MassiveMusic Berlin, comments: “The story of Anne Frank has received various musical interpretations throughout pop culture. In writing the score for her film we sought to meaningfully and respectfully connect with Anne as a person by looking at the music she listened to while hiding in the annex. A section in her diary told us, Anne was captivated by composer and pianist Franz Liszt. The beginning motif of Liszt’s 'Consolation no 3' was the starting point, from which our composer Tip van den Bos re-imaged a contemporary neoclassical piece, that oscillates between bittersweet melancholy and hope, and that we felt captured the emotional essence of her story as much as connecting past and present.”

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Innocean Berlin, Tue, 16 Nov 2021 10:26:38 GMT