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Mantra (Official video)

Music Video Facts 

Except 2 of the 3 dancers and the 2 cops, all the characters in the video are portrayed by actual refugees. The refugees we met fled from Afghanistan, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia and Syria. Some fled from war, others had economic reasons. All the refugees spent some part of their journey on a boat. Some 'only' a few hours, others as long as 7 days. Often without enough water and food.

The video was shot in the Netherlands and Italy, on Arri Alexa and the underwater scenes on 5D MarkIII. In the Netherlands we filmed 1 day in an indoor pool and in the back of a moving truck. The rest of the video was filmed with a mini crew for 4 days in Sicily. The night boat scenes were filmed in a special pool where dangerous situations are recreated. We asked 9 refugees to go back on a boat. But this time the waves were only 1 meter tall, the water was warm and there were security divers in the water.

The majority of the video was filmed in Sicily. Refugees who arrived or were brought to Lampedusa were often sent on to Porto Empedocle, and then brought to the village Siculiana, where they would stay 1 to 4 weeks before being relocated.

In the first hour of filming in Sicily we were stopped 5 times by different kinds of police and the army. The next day, our Italian producer arranged a meeting with the local major. We got permissions to shoot practically everywhere.

The refugees surprised us with their willingness and positivity while recreating some of the intense parts of their journey.

The ruined apartment in the opening is part of an abandoned 7 story hotel which was never finished. It had been abandoned for 20 years and is now the kingdom of many pigeons. Several rooms were literally covered in pigeon droppings and we found more than one dead pigeon.

We shared several dinners with the refugees. They would share their stories which were often like daggers to the heart. They were often mixed with stories of joy.

The painting featured in the video is made by Syrian refugee Khattar Shaheen, who is also seen in the video. Khattar is an artist who currently lives in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The painting is for sale. All proceeds will go to Khattar.

Syrian refugee Anwar Manlasadoon, who also appears in the video, has his own column titled ‘Anwar burgert in’ in Dutch newspaper de Gelderlander. His columns can be read here:

The tents that were used were donated to a nun (middle of bottom picture) who helps the refugees.

The video is produced by OAK MotionPictures and is funded by Vision Recordings and TAX videoclipfonds.

Angelo Schuurmans, executive producer of the video, had previously spent a month doing voluntary work, helping refugees out of the water in Greece. Angelo currently has a foundation that focuses on refugee integration in the Netherlands.

Besides all above, we lost and found 2 pieces of luggage, watched a big wildfire close in to our apartment, and had to drop 1 location once we figured out it lay right next to the region’s mafia leader's house.

If you would like to help the refugees you can do so by making a donation to the Red Cross.

Thanks for reading.

Kind Regards,
Sil van der Woerd