Amsterdam

'Colombia is not a soap opera'

May 02, 2013

Free Press Unlimited wins Innovation Awards 2013 - Don't lecture, but inspire. With that philosophy filmmaker Felipe Tello has won the Conn@ct.Now Innovation Awards 2013 on behalf of Free Press Unlimited. The jury awarded his series 'On, open your eyes' with the first price. 'This is not a soap opera with good guys or bad guys, but a television series in which kids make decisions and have to deal with the consequences', says Tello.

Cool criminals?
Many kids from the slums think criminals are 'cool', explains Tello. Considering the fact that many young Colombians are born in poverty, it is not surprising that many of them glorify crime. It is seen as an easy way to escape poverty and through holding a gun kids think they can earn respect. Tello: 'In our series we show that this respect is imaginary. In reality, kids are being used by gang leaders. As soon as they are not longer considered useful gangsters git rid of them.'

Life in Colombia is not a soap opera
Like in many countries also people in Colombia are used to soap operas, in which actors are flat characters and can be simply divided between good guys and bad guys. Tello: 'As a story-teller I try to distance myself from this black and white thinking. Whenever I would lecture a young drug dealer: 'you have to make something of your life', he would laugh at me. Who am I to say that? People have been telling him that for years. The only thing I can do is to tell a story he can identify with.'

Free Press Unlimited wins 60.000 Euros for multi-medial platform
This price is awarded every year to the most innovative solution for youth living in serious conflict situations. Free Press Unlimited receives 60.000 Euros to launch a multi-medial platform in which Colombian youth can speak out on the impact of violence and conflict on their lives. Five finalists out of 32 ideas worldwide were selected. The Innovation Awards are initiated by Conn@ct.Now a profit-nonprofit alliance between War Child Holland, Child Helpline International, Free Press Unlimited, T-Mobile and TNO.