Amnesty International, the non-profit human rights organisation, developed a series of story-telling podcasts to be released periodically, starting with this month. The first 30 minute podcast in the series is the incredible story of Chinese civil rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, whose story is narrated by Hollywood actor Christian Bale.
The awe-inspiring narratives in the series have been carefully composed by Audio Network Composer, Paul Ressel and singer Sue Verran.
When Amnesty International invited us in to pitch for the project, I already had a few ideas of composers who would be great for the job. Paul stood out as being perfect to craft the soundtrack and it was great that Sam and Emma (from Amnesty International) instantly felt the same way
Head of advertising Audio Network
When I first sat down with Amnesty International, it emerged that an important tenet of the series would be to leave it to the audience to make up their own minds about what they had heard. In that vein I wanted the music to ask a question instead of imposing a mood upon the listener. I wanted it to be ambiguous enough to let the listener’s own feelings on the matter give it color.
Amnesty International has created the series to allow listeners to immerse themselves in the personal narrative of extraordinary individuals who do invaluable, difficult work.
We wanted to showcase the powerful personal stories of some of the individuals at the heart of what Amnesty International does (…) A first-person, storytelling-based podcast series seemed the perfect medium in which to do this. Our aim was to produce podcasts that the listener would return to because they found them engaging and informative – whether they were previously aware of the contributor or not. So we hope each episode will draw in a new audience, who will then be inspired to listen to other episodes.
Producer Amnesty International
In the first episode of the series blind civil rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, describes his experience of becoming a self-taught lawyer. He makes the astonishing personal journey in order to fight for the rights of the disabled and against the injustice of the one child policy in China. Fighting for the millions subjected to brutal abortions, beatings and torture, he is ruthlessly punished in captivity by the Chinese government. With such a delicate and sensitive narrative, it was important that the music complemented the story without leading the listener’s emotions or distracting from the events.
The main creative challenge when choosing the music is simply allowing the time to find the right piece of music for the right moment in the narrative. Paul’s compositions demonstrate an ability to communicate musical ideas simply and directly, whilst also offering a certain ambiguity of meaning. He worked to the brief beautifully, providing options and variety, whilst always maintaining the right balance of elements and tone
- Client: Amnesty International
- In-House Agency Producer: Emma Shore & Sam Lawlor
- Music Company: Audio Network
- Composer: Paul Ressel & Sue Verran
- Music Sync: Nick Bennett @ Audio Network
- Voice over: Christian Bale
- Audio Mix: Amnesty International