Free the children : behind the scenes of the clip

After a first clip released in January 2019, Ange Robert began a new challenge for his second video clip, on a song called “Free the children”. This is the story of a little paradise, where children are free to laugh, sing and dance everywhere. No conflicts, no war on the horizon. But suddenly the sky become dark. That’s when Ange Robert wakes up as a soldier and realizes it was just a dream. But images are powerful, and on the name of the children, he decides to drop the weapons to preserve peace. You already know the story; now turn to the story of the shooting …

It took no less than 4 months, 4 days of shooting, 4 different film locations in 2 countries and the involvement of a hundred people in total to reach the final clip. From the beginning, Ange Robert imagined the clip like a short film, to put images on the story told by the song and deliver the emotion that provoke the song. It was also important for the artist to be able to mix in this clip the two countries that shaped him, Rwanda and France. Two countries, two completely different realities, but children in common. No matter where we live or where we come from, humanity brings us together, and all over the world, children should be free to live surrounded by love and to grow in an environment that guarantees their rights.

It is about 1 PM on this Sunday of March, on the edge of a village in the French departement of Vienne, on a dirt road. Meadows and fields extend to the horizon. The weather is rather mild for the season, the sky is clear and sunny. A balloon, and here there are some young children who have fun without worrying about the camera around them. Parents take themselves to the game and join them in a moment of carelessness. After a good time playing, the whole team shares an improvised picnic and that is the end of the first day of filming.

A few thousand kilometers away, in Rwanda, country of origin of the artist Ange Robert, another scene is being prepared. Indeed, there are many people in the country to support Ange Robert in the pursuit of his musical project, the ones who were his first supporters in his beginning. So a large number of people answered present for the second day of filming. The children have carefully prepared several signs with the lyrics of the song: “Free the children”, “No more starvations, no more ware”, “No more killing machine” … With enthusiasm and determination, they parade proudly on the green hills, aware of the message they are conveying.

Back in France, natural spaces make way for the studio shooting on a green background, for the realization of special effects during editing. Ange Robert enters into the scene, with his chorister Laeticia : this is the third day of filming. A time of preparation is necessary to install the lights and the cameras, while Ange Robert and Laeticia put on their outfits. The artist interprets with power and emotion his song in front of cameras. Laeticia takes over, then they finish together on the chorus. It is the production team “Image Evolution” who is present today, and who will also be responsible for removing the green background in favor of new images that will parade behind Ange Robert and Laetitia, to better retranscribe the history of the song.

As time progresses, the sun come back up as the month of June is announced … An important day of filming is preparing: the scene of children in captivity in the camp of the soldiers. During the previous months, it was necessary to take the steps to obtain the authorization of shooting in the wood of Saint-Pierre, to gather the necessary material for the scenery (tents, dummy weapons …), to envisage the make-up and the clothes of the actors and actresses, looking for enough young people and adults to play the stage, to warn the police… everything is done so that everything happens for the best on the D-day. Sunday, June 2, the filming can finally begin.

The small clearing, usually so quiet, suddenly comes to life and gradually transforms itself under the amazed gaze of some passers-by into a camp of rebel soldiers. Decor and props are ready, it is the turn of actors and actresses to enter their roles as child prisoners or soldiers. Outfits, false bruises, scars, and other traces of blood: everything is thought to the smallest detail. Meanwhile, the cameras are also installed, and the drone enters into scene to offer images that overlook the scene. A final debriefing to explain their role and the stage to the participants, and the filming can finally begin, after more than 3 hours of preparation. Young people settle on the ground at the center of a circle formed by the soldiers, who take up their weapons. A dark music then rises from a speaker, and then, when the director shouts “action”, the smiles have already disappeared to make place for expressionless faces. Despite the heat, it is as if a freezing cold had just hit the scene. The soldiers watch attentively the young people and do not hesitate to jostle them if they dare to raise the eyes or to move only a few centimeters! The young people curl up on themselves, in a position betraying fear. The jailers play their role so well that some parents present consider retaliation after the end of the scene! After long minutes of filming, the young people are finally released and find with pleasure their freedom of movement after having their aching limbs. The day is not over yet. It’s Ange Robert’s turn to play a scene, the one where he falls asleep against a tree trunk, then wakes up and then gets up to walk to the camp, until he drops his gun. Laeticia then brings back a little sweetness for a singing scene with the forest as scenery. The day ends with a good meal shared with a part of the team.

A few dozen kilometers away, in a small village of Charente, it’s been several weeks since the students of elementary school “Les Tilleuls” train with their dance teacher, Valérie Chauvet, to learn a choreography created specifically for the clip . Meeting in April, the principal and teacher of this school welcomed the idea of this project, to which children and their parents also quickly joined. As the weeks go by and the school holidays are approaching, we are at the end of June on a hot summer day, at the beginning of the heat wave. The film crew joins the students in their school located in the small village of Mouthiers-sur-Boëme. The children welcome them with joy! It is with great pleasure that they dance carefully scrutinizing each movement of their teacher, then they let loose on the song while also taking advantage of refreshing fountains.

Filming is over! But the clip is not ready so far. Place to long hours of editing work, always carried out by the team of Image Evolution, in regular communication with Ange Robert to ensure the best results as possible and to correspond to the idea of the artist. It will take several days of intensive work to select the video clips, arrange them, add effects, paste everything to the music … to finally reach the final result, 3 minutes and 56 seconds.

3 minutes and 56 seconds, the time of a song, the time of a dream. The dream of a world where all children would be free and their rights respected. It has been 30 years since the International Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. In 1989, states agreed on the need to uphold the rights of all children around the world. But today, millions of children find themselves in situations that jeopardize their well-being, their health, and even their lives. According to UNICEF, if nothing is done to fight inequalities in the world today, in 2030 167 million children will live in extreme poverty, 69 million children under 5 years will die between 2016 and 2030, and 60 million children of primary school age will not be in school (Source: https://www.unicef.org/sowc2016/). 3 minutes and 56 seconds is not much. But if many of us make the same dream as Angel Robert in his song, maybe one day we can together turn this dream into reality.

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