The 2016 Olympics are in full swing down in Rio de Janeiro, and all eyes are on the Refugee Olympic Team, ten athletes who have recently fled their home countries and overcame incredible odds to find new lives in Europe, Brazil and Kenya. These athletes are officially competing as the “Refugee Olympic Team”, and if New York-based art director and ADC Member Caro Rebello had her way, they’d march to the beat (and banner) of a different drum.
To this end, Caro and her copywriting partner Artur Lipori, along with a group of creatives and volunteers around the world, have created The Refugee Nation, a project that not highlights these remarkable athletes, but also shines a spotlight on the plight of all refugees by giving them their own flag and anthem.
“For the first time in history, the Olympics would have a team of refugees, but they wouldn’t have a flag or anthem, just the white Olympic flag representing them,” Caro explains. “In that moment we felt that we needed to do something to give them an identity, a flag to call their own. Not just for the refugee athletes, but for all the refugees around the world. That’s when we started our research on web, looking for artists and composers.”
For the flag, Caro and Artur discovered Yara Said, an artist and Syrian refugee now living in Amsterdam. After graduating at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University, Yara had to leave her own country to search for a safer place to live. Yara created an orange and black flag, inspired by the colors of the ubiquitous lifejackets seen during the ongoing European migrant crisis. “The flag is a symbol of solidarity for all those who crossed the sea in search of a new country,” says Yara. “I myself wore one, which is why I so identify with these colors… and these people.”
For the anthem, Caro and Artur joined with Moutaz Arian, a composer and Syrian refugee now living in Istanbul. Three years ago, he was studying music at University of Damascus. After being threatened with conscription into the army, Moutaz decided he had to flee his own country. “I want to make music not just for Kurds or Arabs, but for the whole world,” he explains.
The Refugee Nation has received the support of Amnesty International, and there is now a petition to encourage International Olympic Committee to officially adopt the initiative.
Creatives: Artur Lipori, Caro Rebello, Rodrigo Moran, Bastien Baumann, Eduardo Lunardi, Arthur Amiune, Renato Tagliari, Belén Márquez, Imen Soltani, Ricard Valero, Elli Hanson.
Artist: Yara Said
Production Company: Asteroide Filmes
Director: Guilherme Pau y Biglia
DOP: Ramsés Rezende
Film Editor: Giuliano Batista
Producer: Mari van Bylt
Colorist: Guilherme Guinness
Assistant Editor: Leonardo Scholz
Assistant Camera: Wilson Roberto
Production Assistant: Caro Pisco | Rafael Chaouiche
Support: MovieCam Gimbal
Support: Pimenta Print
Sound Production: CANJA Audio Culture
Executive Sound Producer: Lucas Sfair
Original Music: Eduardo Karas
Sound Design: Filipe Resende
Sound Design: Bruno Beltrão
Mixing/Mastering: Eduardo Karas
Violinist: Martina Lohmann
Violinist: Moara Pessati
Acoustic Bass: Hélio Brandão
Cello: Samuel Pessati
Viola: Marcelo Lemos
Support: Acordes e Cordas