Director duo Luke & Joseph scrutinise the “hero” narrative surrounding our key workers for mental health charity Mind

It was also important for the film to portray a “sense of isolation and the juxtaposition of the everyday and the extraordinary,” Seomore tells us. “You may be sitting in a front room in South London but in your head, you’re reliving traumatic scenes, whether you are a paramedic or a firefighter. We wanted to capture that disconnect.” Each location, therefore, had to visually capture a sense of isolation and so all settings were carefully chosen; “the cocoon of a car or being completely withdrawn while kids run around you at a family birthday party,” explains the director. “Our camera team and art department did a great job at building these mini worlds and then the sound played an important part in getting the audience into the emergency responder’s headspace.” The directors spent a lot of time with the team at McCann and sound designer Will Frances at Craft, layering sounds with “audio clues,” describes Seomore; “a scream, the crunch of metal, the ripple of flames. They all help build that sense of the emotional maelstrom.”
As well as the short campaign film, McCann has produced a print campaign to accompany the moving visuals. It features several headlines describing key workers as “heroes” from magazines and newspapers, which have then been torn and pasted into a collage. The Heroes campaign has launched with the aim of raising awareness of Mind’s Blue Light programme of mental health support for emergency responders – the work spans TV, radio, OOH and social media.
Given the sensitive nature of the shoot, the creative team were careful to not push their cast members: “The cast were recalling intense shifts they lived through,” explains Seomore. Dave the firefighter, for example, who has been retired for 10 years, “in the car suffered from PTSD but he has learned to manage that and feed it into acting jobs. He was sitting in that car weeping thinking of colleagues he’d lost on shifts. It was inspiring and humbling to witness each cast member get into that headspace, and you can definitely feel that tension on screen.”

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