Channel 4’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games campaign shows a more human side to the elite athletes

Today, Channel 4 launches its highly-anticipated campaign for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Titled Super. Human., the campaign stretches across print and digital, forefronted by a new film made in collaboration with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, known for his brilliant work on blockbuster films such as Solo: A Star Wars Story, Selma, and Arrival. The film explores the huge sacrifices made by Paralympians along their journey to becoming champions. In contrast to previous campaigns in the Superhumans series, this time around viewers are shown less of the ‘super’ and more of the ‘human’ as they learn about the trials and tribulations all of these athletes go through.
Lynsey Atkin, executive creative director of Channel 4’s award-winning agency 4creative, says they brought Bradford onboard because of his ability to capture the humanity of the athlete, which was crucial to the whole film: “We needed a director who could present the athletes as relatable, three-dimensional, real people. This is something you see right across all Bradford’s work,” she tells us. “We also believed in his ability to deliver a film that had the unique combination of tones we were after. Creating a moment that makes you wince and squirm, right next to a moment that makes you laugh, right next to something that makes you think.”
Speaking on his initial attraction to the campaign film, Bradford says “It wasn’t the super element that spoke to me but the human stories. It’s what makes us vulnerable, but stronger too. But where we differ is where this film comes alive – the standards to which a Paralympian holds themselves to, a ruthless, grinding, obsessiveness, a tunnel vision we wouldn’t dare enter.” Bradford’s knack for emotive storytelling has brought to life a story that is at once grand in scope and rich in detail, capturing an odyssey that takes place over many years through small moments of sacrifice.

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