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Raising Empathy - Animated Video Series

Animated videos of heartfelt interviews with family, friends, loved ones of detained individuals who can tell their story and call attention to their search/plight. I was inspired by this video done by StoryCorps to honor some of the families of the victims in 9-11.

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Written by DeletedUser

As echoed by a lot of the inspirations and concepts being submitted, I feel that the largest challenge faced by those who are victim to secret detention is exposure. Most people are very unaware of the incidence of secret detentions and even if they are, it's not something that they like to think about or think would ever happen to their family. It's difficult to empathize with something you've never experienced.

It's important to "humanize" the victims, the family members and the people who miss their loved ones in a way that will inspire support and aid. And this can be done effectively via the family's own words and some great animation.

If a website is created around the videos, an additional step can also be taken to add stories of successful reunions. Pictures of the united families, testimonials & thanks from the family members, or even an similar animated interview, but most importantly a journal or log of what the families did to free the detainees. This could be important not only in giving hope to families who are still searching, but also to give them ideas of other avenues to explore.

What kind of resources are needed to get this idea off the ground and/or support it over time?

The logistics would include locating people currently in search of their loved ones, doing a few recorded interviews and then the bulk of the work would be animating a video that really captures the soul of the search. The videos could simply be launched as a standalone series on youtube, or could be incorporated into some of the other website concepts such as Jason's Detainee Support Net ( I opted for just sound recording + animation since that'll cut down a lot of the production costs (video equipment, lighting, interviews could be done over the phone) and the fact that some people may be opposed to being on camera or don't come across well on screen.

My Virtual Team

- (the video above) - Videos of TED Talks, which seek to spread ideas that are inspiring, fascinating and make us think.

How could this idea also be adapted to work in low-tech situations?

Only a phone interview is sufficient to capture the information needed to created this animated video, so the interviewees just need access to a phone to share their story.


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Not only do animations keep anonymity, but they open up these serious issues to a whole new demographic--younger people. Starting to empathize for victims from a young age will lead to a generation of people who know about these issues and want to do something. Great thinking!

Hannah, Wells College Innovation Lab

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Hannah, thanks for pointing that out! I didn't think of it from that perspective. Animations for me represented a very powerful tool to capture the emotions of the viewer. Like in the animated film "Up" - When I saw that in the theaters, after the first 10 minutes, there was barely a dry eye in the house.

Photo of Paul Reader

I think the concept is great and particularly the empathetic emphasis. My suggestion for superheros or some other identifiable character (eg. Homer Simpson or a manga character in other cultures) was generated by 'unlawful detention' in mythic and fairy story context, as another way to engage the younger demographic.

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