I wrestled with various ideas for a video, but they all fell short of the budget I did not have. I asked around for advice, for people willing to lend me their creative ideas. The best I got was “be yourself.”
So, without a penny or a Romanian “ban” budgeted for the video, I came up with the idea of using children capable to do choreography—children dancing for other children’s freedom.
I found a local dance school, partnered with its founder and choreographer, gave him full freedom to create the moves based on my lyrics, offered some suggestions here and there, and had the privilege to see how almost 30 children ages 6 through 14 learned the moves within a month and embodied the words of the song through their movements.
We found a location, benefited from the generosity of the filming crew who did the shooting for free, and as the day approached, some of my close friends, some new, some dated back in the day, stepped up to the plate and offered to support the costs for the video. What an amazing experience of solidarity! And what a relief, knowing that my dream would eventually get a final shape, due to their generosity.
Another friend helped research several names and ages of children taken abusively by Barnevernet. I found several names that I specifically wanted represented in the video—names mentioned in heart wrenching stories covered by the media. I wanted those names printed on red T-shirts worn by my little (or taller) dancers. Each dancing child would ‘carry’ a child taken by Barnevernet.
We shot the video in five hours, in a far-too-small-room for all the children there, too hot and badly ventilated, with many, many takes, with the children increasingly tired, yet determined to go all the way. Eventually, we did it. A real marathon. An open ended visual experience.
The day we finally released the teaser for the video, baby Ezekiel Bodnariu was returned to his family. He was the first of many to be set free. It was Providence. I could have never foreseen it. Yet, indeed, we are part of a larger orchestration.
And now, the video has a life of its own.
Join me in demanding that all the children be set free.