Back in November 2019 my friend Borja Larrondo asked me if I wanted to shoot a new commercial for Medecins Du Monde like the previous one that we had shot together in 2018 but with three twists:
1) It was going to be set in an unknown (at the time) location in Africa.
2) We were going to document what was happening in that unknown location in Africa.
3) It was going to be during nighttime and with no light at all!
I obviously said yes and after months of discussions and preparations we went to Sierra Leone to shoot a documentary about the reasons as to why hospitals there didn't have electricity and how that affected the people from different areas of the country.
We were in Sierra Leone for several days and when we went back to Spain we had 3 days to review the material and edit it because Medecins Du Monde Spain wanted to launch the campaign as soon as possible.. Nerea Mugüerza, our editor, did an amazing job with all the footage that we got, she really shaped the documentary and created a sense of story.
Not only that but she also created the different cuts for the commercial campaigns that the client wanted to deliver.
Right after those 3 days we were ready to colour grade the commercial cuts and then Covid happened and Medecins Du Monde stopped all the processes. At that time we were really sad because we didn't know when we were going to be able to show the reality of what was happening in Sierra Leone but it really helped us achieve what we wanted to achieve in the post production process with the documentary and the commercial campaigns.
Because of Covid we were able to work with extraordinary colour grader Jenny Montgomery from Company 3, which was like a dream for us because we didn't have any money to give to them. We sent her the material and when it came back it was the first time in my life that I didn't have anything to say in a colour grade other than: "WOW!".
Sound postproduction had more time to work on it and when we finished everything several months later we still didn't know what was going to happen with the commercial campaigns.
It turns out that Medecins Du Monde did know what was going to happen because they asked us to shoot a similar documentary in December 2021 focused on the lack of energy in one part of Madrid called "La Cañada Real", which you can learn about on here (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/27/you-kind-of-die-life-without-power-in-the-canada-real-spain).
I joined Borja and we went to La Cañada Real to talk to people and convince them to let us film their daily lives, after one week being there we grabbed a camera and we started shooting for 2 days.
This time Medecins Du Monde Spain wanted to broadcast the campaign as soon as they could and that meant that we weren't going to have the luxury of time to post produce things as we wanted. Regarding colour grading we decided that we wanted to work with people who understood Madrid and the culture of La Cañada Real and after some suggestions from the production company, Lobo Kane, we went to colour grade with GradePunk and Sebastian did an amazing job trying to maintain the quality of the colour grading that we had in Sierra Leone but giving a distinctive look to the part in Madrid that he was colour grading.
The great @Phil Rhodes wrote a wonderful article about the documentary back in July 2020 when we were in the middle of knowing who was going to colour grade the documentary.
You can read about it on here: https://www.thebroadcastbridge.com/content/entry/15328/creative-analysis-part-3-the-road-bad-the-place-dark-from-the-cinematograph
As of now, the documentary has been selected and showed in different film festivals and has gotten one cinematography award, the BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD (INTERNATIONAL SHORT) at the Thin Line Film Festival.
The commercial campaign has gotten two cinematography awards so far. Best Cinematography at the Emerging Directors Awards 2022 in Ireland and the Bronze Award in Film Craft in the CDEC in Spain 2022.
You can watch the commercial campaign here
And the trailer for the documentary here