Saturday, 2 October 2010

10:10 and Curtis Video Disaster

This month we've seen the launch of two significant video spots to promote important campaigns. The first, a David Shrigley animation, promotes Save The Arts, a campaign looking to maintain the highly successful British Arts industry from financial climate austerity cuts.

The second, launched yesterday, is a high profile short film written by Richard Curtis for the 10:10 campain, which promotes the action of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 10% this year.

(As detailed later in this post, the 10:10 video has now been removed from its original address but may still be viewed here)

I found Shrigley's animation a little clumsy. Halfway through, the characters in the script have a bit of a pop at the vogue for 'vampire movies'. For me, suggesting that one arm or genre of the arts industry is better than another is a dangerously divisive line to take when lobbying for the industry as a whole.

Yet this is as nothing in comparison to the offensive drivel that Richard Curtis has come up with to try promote Franny Armstrong's climate change awareness cause 10:10. The video simply shows those who are seen to be indifferent to the campaign or its aims blown up.

That's it - support the campaign or we'll kill you. It's that clear. No? This is the final frame:

That's right, someone's blood and body parts spread across the screen, with a slogan like the calling card of a self-interested serial killer punched over it.

I and many like me who have already commented publicly on this video on The Guardian website where it has been promoted (as was the Shrigley) will be open to charges of sense of humour failure. To which I say, well I didn't realise that the 10:10 campaign was just a joke.

It's not. It's a concerted campaign to raise awareness of a serious issue, and provide ideas and support for confronting it. That's what I signed up to at last year's launch.

Humour is indeed the most valuable tool available for communicating that idea. This however is a gross misjudgement of what constitutes fun under the circumstances. It shows that Richard Curtis' humour is now an anachronism, wastes the generosity of those who have given their time and talent to try and help, and undermines Franny Armstong/10:10's effectiveness in lobbying for awareness and change at the highest level.

The South Park crew had something short and to the point to say about this sort of nonsense (from 1'00"):

UPDATE: at 1830 10:10 Tweeted to say that they've 'missed the mark' and taken it down.

UPDATE 2 (03/10/10): The Guardian/Observer publish a story about the hasty retraction of the film. Correctly this is titled "Backlash over Richard Curtis'... film", though goodness knows why Dougal Wilson undertook to make it. Franny Armstrong suggested that it was intended as
a funny and satirical tongue-in-cheek little film in the over-the-top style of Monty Python or South Park
upon which I refer her to the video posted immediately above.

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