In 2009, the United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. It included the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
According to the Bali Road Map, a framework for climate change mitigation beyond 2012 was to be agreed there. The United Nations commissioned us to create a film centring on the challenges Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face as the planet warms and sea levels rise.
‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ is probably the most important film we have made at Within Design, and it did not come without challenges. The target audience was World Leaders, but the film was about people living in remote, low-lying communities. As such, filming was not possible – instead, we created an animation to communicate the key points and relied on the conservation community working with the UN to supply imagery.
The juxtaposition between visual and sound was designed and succeeds in making people watch the film more than once.
We needed to make politicians sit up and listen, so while the visuals relate to climatic changes, the voiceover describes what happens to a child when his or her core body temperature increases by 1.5 degrees when already in a weakened state. It leaves the viewer with a sense of unease. The juxtaposition between visual and sound was designed and succeeds in making people watch the film more than once.
This commission led to a project for HRH The Prince of Wales – The Climate Change Summit – which ran for three years and gathered politicians and business leaders from the UK, then further afield to investigate what business could do to limit the negative impact we have on global warming.
We have made 200+ films since 2009, but for us, this piece is still the case study we use to describe the challenges and potential of film as a medium. The film has been shown countless times and translated into numerous languages. It is something we are proud to have created.