Release of exclusive track to launch twelve-month programme of activity
11th February 2008: EMI, the (RED) campaign and Channel 4 today announce their collaboration on the UK release of multi award-winning film WE ARE TOGETHER. The organisations will launch a twelve-month programme of activity with the release of a song from the film’s soundtrack, available as an exclusive MP3 download from www.wearetogether.org.
WE ARE TOGETHER follows the extraordinary journey of the children at the Agape orphanage in South Africa, who form a choir and use their incredible music to help them overcome personal tragedy. Having lost their parents to AIDS at an early age, the children discover the power of their collective voices to strengthen their spirit and inspire others – travelling from the orphanage to New York to raise awareness of the impact of the disease through song.
EMI, in association with Shooting People Films, will release WE ARE TOGETHER in UK cinemas on Friday 7th March 2008, and the soundtrack featuring The Children of Agape, Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Monday 3rd March. A special edition DVD will be released later in the year. Profits from the film, soundtrack and DVD are being donated by EMI to AIDS related charities and education initiatives through the RISE foundation, founded by WE ARE TOGETHER director, Paul Taylor and producer, Teddy Leifer. The film, which was part funded by the Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation and acquired for the US by HBO Documentary Films, will have its terrestrial TV premiere on Channel 4 in 2008.
Activity planned over the year includes a special fundraising concert with the children of Agape, a UK release premiere, an exclusive after-party hosted by (RED), and a full-scale marketing and publicity campaign across print, broadcast and online media.
With its inspirational storyline and uplifting soundtrack WE ARE TOGETHER has already picked up a raft of awards on the international festival circuit, including the prestigious Audience Award at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival – the first documentary to win the audience award since Buena Vista Social Club in 1999. 12 other international awards include the Audience Award at Tribeca Film Festival and the Audience and Special Jury Prize at the Amnesty Film Festival. The film also has celebrity fans including U2 front-man Bono, who showed his support at the US premiere, and Alicia Keys, who appears in the film and has sung with the Agape choir, and who supports AIDS work through her US based charity, Keep A Child Alive.
Stefan Demetriou, Director of DVD & Audiovisual, EMI Music UK, comments: “This film shows what a powerful healing force music is. EMI is proud to bring these incredible children’s voices to a wider audience.”
Chief Executive of Channel 4 Andy Duncan added: “Channel 4 is committed to bringing public attention to important issues through engaging and powerful films like We Are Together.”
Tom Rippin, Managing Director, (RED) Europe continued: “(RED) is delighted to be working with WE ARE TOGETHER. It’s a compelling documentary with a powerful message, about the AIDS crisis in Africa and demonstrates the need for consumers to choose (RED)”
Download an exclusive track from the WE ARE TOGETHER soundtrack at www.wearetogether.org
For further information about WE ARE TOGETHER, to attend a press screening or request an interview please contact Lyndsey Honour, firstname.lastname@example.org / 07989 945 066
To request further information on the soundtrack or to request a review copy please contact email@example.com
Filmed over three years, We Are Together tells the remarkable and moving story of a group of children who use music to overcome hardship and loss. It is the story of an orphanage, unlike one you’ve ever seen before, and of the drive of these remarkable young singers and their teachers to make it to London for a series of concerts.
Life has not been easy for 12-year-old Slindile, her siblings and her friends at the Agape Orphanage in South Africa, where most of the children have lost their parents to AIDS. But they are still kids and teenagers, bashful around boys, squabbling with each other. And when they lift their voices in song, something extraordinary happens.
As the kids at Agape orphanage continue to train for what they hope will be their big break, Slindile and her siblings are hit with more hard news – their oldest brother Sifiso, who has been sick for months, has AIDS.
With unforgettable kids, soaring music and a plot full of surprises, We Are Together arrives as a stirring and uplifting theatrical documentary.
WE ARE TOGETHER – AWARDS TO DATE
WINNER: Audience Award – Edinburgh International Film Festival
WINNER: Audience Award – Tribeca Film Festival
WINNER: Special Jury Prize – Tribeca Film Festival
WINNER: International Documentary Association Awards
WINNER: Grierson Award
WINNER: Best Documentary – Middle East International Film Festival
WINNER: Best Documentary – Whistler Film Festival
WINNER: Best Documentary – Tri Continents Film Festival
WINNER: Audience Award – International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam
WINNER: First Appearance Award – International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam
WINNER: Audience Award – Amnesty International Film Festival
WINNER: Special Jury prize – Amnesty International Film Festival
WINNER: Special Jury Prize – One World International Film Festival
“We Are Together” is to be released in the UK by the EMI Commercial Marketing team, who were also responsible for the platinum-selling DVDs of the “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down” TV series. EMI Music UK has a long track record of working with visually inspiring musicians and the company has been broadening its audiovisual capability and exploring wider routes to consumers for its artists. Recent successes have included “Heima”, a film from the Icelandic band Sigur Ros and the DVD film “Blue Revolution”, documenting the story of Jose Mourinho’s three years at Chelsea FC. A number of other DVD, broadcast and film projects are currently in development or being acquired by EMI.
RISE films is headed by Teddy Leifer and Paul Taylor, the team behind the highly acclaimed WE ARE TOGETHER – one of the most awarded documentaries in recent years. RISE has a growing slate of projects in production and development with some of the most accomplished writers, directors and talent currently working in film and television. Amongst the new projects that RISE is currently producing is a film from veteran director Kim Longinotto (SISTERS IN LAW, THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET, DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE). Kim has won major prizes for her films all over the world including an award at Cannes, a BAFTA and last year she was short-listed for an Academy Award. RISE is also working on a new film from the award winning director Simon Chambers who last year made the documentary film, EVERY GOOD MARRIAGE BEGINS WITH TEARS. Find out more – www.risefilms.com
The RISE foundation is a UK registered charity (1120822), currently partnered with the award winning production company, RISE films. The foundation uses film as an innovative tool to raise funds and help people in the developing world. The model is simple: When RISE films produces a social issue film, the foundation constructs a fundraising campaign to give people an immediate and tangible way to respond and help people affected by the issue raised in the film.
Shooting People Films
Shooting People Films is a filmmaker label and film marketing and distribution consultancy, which champions bold, exciting new works, many by first time feature film directors. Shooting People Films is the sister venture to Shooting People, the world’s premiere independent filmmakers’ network which has transformed the way independent film is being made. Run for and by filmmakers, the organisation was founded in the UK and has over 30,000 members signed up. Shooting People are passionate believers in both original, creative filmmaking and in the power of filmmakers to learn from and collaborate with each other.
Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation
The Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation exists to secure a creatively ambitious and diverse future for British documentary, by looking beyond television to develop, fund and distribute the work of the next generation of UK documentary filmmakers. The Foundation give grants to support short films, particularly by new filmmakers, feature-length projects with the potential to break through, experimental films, passion projects by established filmmakers, documentaries by artists from other mediums such as photography or art and ambitious development projects. As well as directly funding films, the Foundation also tries to help the filmmakers that it funds in other ways: arranging mentoring for them where appropriate, as well as offering advice and additional funding to ensure that their films get seen by the right people once they are completed.
(RED)’s primary objective is to harness the private sector in raising awareness and generating funds for the Global Fund, to help fight AIDS in Africa. Companies whose products take on the (PRODUCT) RED mark contribute up to 50% of profits from these products directly to the Global Fund to support HIV/ AIDS projects in Africa, with an emphasis on the health of women and children. Current partners include: American Express (U.K. only), Apple, Converse, Gap, Emporio Armani, Motorola. This February (RED) is encouraging consumers to shop (RED) with a consumer campaign titled Love(RED), by joining together with special-edition products from some of the UK’s most exclusive brands. For more information, visit www.lovered.co.uk and www.joinred.com.