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The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) approached MediaStorm to create a film for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in June 2012.

Part of the UNFF’s mission is to change the way policymakers view forest-related issues. Previously forest preservation was considered an environmental issue. In order to create more lasting and far-reaching change, the UNFF believes it is necessary to also include social and economic values in all discussions. Forests are, in many complicated ways, interconnected with the lives of people and cultures. This landscape view is critical and therefore needed to be an integral part of the project.

The UNFF offered a preliminary outline that asked the following:

  • Why are forests important?
  • Why are forests under threat?
  • What is at stake?
  • What is the solution?

Our goal became to answer these questions as compellingly as possible.

Client: United Nations Forum on Forests
Published: June 19, 2012
The Challenge
The challenges in producing this project were in many ways similar to the ongoing challenges faced by the UNFF. How do you talk about forests in a way that changes people’s perception of the issue? Forest preservation is no longer just an environmental issue. It’s a complex relationship of people and economics, too. The production needed to reflect this.

At the same time, the interweaving of politics, personal lives and environmentalism raised the specter of a complicated narrative. It was imperative that the story remain streamlined in order to comply with MediaStorm’s mandate; the piece needed to be accessible to an intelligent but general audience.

The UNFF also gave MediaStorm permission to incorporate a dozen of its film festival winners in to the production. It was a boon to be sure. Still, combined with the thousands of MediaStorm sourced images, this created a backlog of material that required cataloging in a short period of time. Further, MediaStorm recorded close to four hours of interviews across a variety of topics. These too needed to be reviewed and shaped into a narrative spine.

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

The Solution
A project of this size, with more than a dozen hours of footage and nearly 10,000 photographs, required rigorous organization.

MediaStorm followed the steps outlined in our post-production workflow so that each image and video clip was tagged and sorted with similar material.

We transcribed each interview then logged and separated important ideas into distinct categories. These themes were then edited for clarity and finally used as the piece’s narrative spine. A week of production was devoted to this process. The script was then refined throughout the following weeks as we held ourselves accountable to the UNFF’s original four questions.

MediaStorm also accepted submissions from more than two dozen photographers and photographic agencies. With thousands of images to choose from, we worked hard to match pictures with the narrative, while simultaneously evoking the natural beauty of forests. We also had access to more than a dozen films from the International Forest Film Festival which helped elevate the visual sophistication of the project.

About the Client
In October 2000, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), in its Resolution 2000/35 established the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), a subsidiary body with the main objective to promote “… the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end…”based on the Rio Declaration, the Forest Principles, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 and the outcome of the IPF/IFF Processes and other key milestones of international forest policy.

The Forum has universal membership, and is composed of all Member States of the United Nations and specialized agencies.

Finding Balance

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