"Coming Back To Life"
Produced by Edelman for MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH, and twinned with the release of a counterpart film that similarly recounts a fellow cancer survivor’s touching story, ‘Silja’ is a truly harrowing piece that poses the question: ‘After you survive, how do you go about returning to living?’. The pair of films are both available on Edelman’s Vimeo page, acting as two sides of the one coin.
Via an effective single camera docu-style format, audiences cohabit with Silja: pottering around the house, tending to the garden, preparing for date night. It’s the beautiful, recognisable stuff of the everyday. But once audio interviews with Silja are overlaid on these images, recounting the brick-wall sensation of being diagnosed, subsequent treatment, and mental gap created between her outward image and the internal, the film takes on a whole new meaning. Audiences are subtly nudged to experience those same feelings of internal dislocation that seem to come at different moments of Silja's day, then push through.
At surface level, the individual parts of this piece don’t necessarily heighten the finished product. The production value is solid, but not out-with the reach of a savvy few with knowledge and technique of craft. With a duration at 2minutes, the pacing isn’t overwrought. The soundscape too doesn’t overbear as much of a character here either. However, what the film’s narrative – it’s story - does so well is skilfully highlight the down beats of life. Those shaky moments of the in between times, when the shelling stops. We’re prompted to feel, at least for a moment, the tension Silja feels. And it’s here that the distinctive components work together.
MSD’s film has garnered a little under 110k views on their German division of YouTube. For a channel with a small following of less than 2k, that’s a large footprint. It should also serve as a good case study in both efficient and emotive brand messaging for smaller production houses looking to compete with their larger competitors.