A SENSITIVE TOPIC WITH DEEP-ROOTED PREJUDICE
At the end of 2019, CREATIO was honoured to receive a request from iSEE, a non-profit organisation specialising in human rights, particularly towards vulnerable and marginalised people in the society. The request was to produce a short film to raise public awareness on sexual harassment in Vietnam, which was part of an ongoing campaign titled ‘You can talk to me’ – a joint initiative by iSEE, Share Our Stories (S.O.S) and CARE International in Vietnam, sponsored by the Australian Government.
Over the past three years, this topic has been widely discussed and attracted a great deal of public attention and responses on the international radar, notably through the effect of the MeToo movement, a campaign calling victims of sexual harassment to share their own stories and denounce the abusers. Via using the hashtag #metoo on the social media, after only a week of kickstarting, the campaign became a global phenomenon when there were millions of shares of this viral hashtag around the world and even it was translated into different languages.
However, the wave of #metoo movement, arriving in Vietnam, has received controversial responses. Indeed, the majority of Vietnamese people still have prejudices deeply rooted in an East Asian society where sex is considered taboo as a topic for public discussion. For this particular reason, accompanying with negative thoughts implanted in the minds and surrounding with many judgmental looks, rape or harassment victims tend to choose to be silent rather than speaking up. This becomes worse when the true stories behind those crimes are kept in the dark while those that are guilty freely continue their dirty behaviours in the daylight.
In this context, it is extremely tough to effectively communicate about the issue. Regardless of the difficulty, receiving a tricky request even with a tight deadline, CREATIO, without a single glimpse of hesitation, enthusiastically accepted the challenge.
DEDICATED TASK FORCE READY TO BE CHALLENGED
To prepare for the script and storyboard of the film, we quickly carried out a comprehensive research on the topic and the target audience of the ‘You can talk to me’ campaign. After multiple exchanges of information and consultation sessions with the experts from iSEE, CREATIO decided to write a story with the setting in a high school because students in this age range are having high chance of experiencing sexual abuse and harassment and highly susceptible to the negative effects of such events. Adolescents are more prone to emotional instability and psychological distress, for example, due to harmful rumours, especially when they may refrain from sharing with family members or friends.
The script has been developed based on true stories collected from anonymous responses to the S.O.S Facebook page. The film told a story of a high school girl that become a victim of sexual harassment at school when her own teacher offered her good grades in exchange for sexual favours. Apart from severe psychological and physical effects of the harassment, the student also has to go through mental humiliation, including scornful looks and rumours from her peers at school, pushing her depression and distress to the climax.
During a modest amount of time, the Communication Production team at CREATIO had to plan for every single phase of the project in the most detailed way, ranging from developing the storyboard, scriptwriting, talent casting, costume supervision, location management to film editing. Moreover, we had to even draw up several back-up plans in case there were unexpected and undesirable events. All parts of the plan had to be implemented with maximised efficiency to make sure everything go well for the shooting phase.
When the film crew began shooting, CREATIO provided substantial assistance in not only preparing logistics, including resting places and meals for the whole crew, but also giving direct feedback on the acting part to ensure that the actress could vividly demonstrate the complex psychological behaviours of a victim during a distress. The consultancy and assistance from CREATIO did not stop there but relentlessly continued even when the raw footages were imported into the editing software. We closely followed up with every stages of the editing procedure of the production house, making sure that every feedback from the client was adequately reflected, until the final ‘flawless’ product was delivered to our client’s hands.
With an effective collaboration of all dedicated stakeholders, the short film of the campaign ‘You can talk to me’ was eventually completed to be launched on time. In addition, CREATIO is even more pleased to acknowledge that ‘our child’ has received almost 20,000 views on the Facebook page of iSEE. Through this contribution, CREATIO hopes to somehow help the iSEE Institute spread the key message of its campaign against sexual harassment as well as victim blaming, encouraging people to more attentively listen to victims’ stories, and hence, becoming their confidants.