Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, this is a message we should all hear.
The United States swore in a new president today, and the reactions to this event varied greatly. Some rejoiced, others mourned, but there is one common sentiment that swept across the country as a whole, and that's the feeling of a great and powerful division among its people. Director and visual engineer Steve Giralt made a truly moving video in response to the vast and steadily deepening chasm between the American political aisles, United Not Divided, in the hope of opening a dialog about what he believes is the most important thing to remember in these uncertain and contentious times.
Though Giralt's piece delivers an incredibly important and impassioned message about togetherness, solidarity, and understanding, the process he used to bring that message to life is also worth checking out.
Being a veteran visual engineer (you might remember his breakdown of the "Burger Drop"), he managed to use several different techniques to pull off the project. First, his team 3D printed stencils of each state in America and layered colored powder within the stencils, which were then set atop what looks like a sheet of black plastic or rubber. When they were ready to "explode", Giralt would simply hit them from beneath; a fan mounted above helped sell the effect even more. He engineered the lighting setup himself, using high-powered, liquid-cooled LEDs that would give enough light to expose correctly with the Phantom Flex high-speed camera they used.
He details all of this and more in the behind-the-scenes video below:
Whether you're a politically-minded person or not, what happens in your country's government affects you, not just as a citizen, but as a filmmaker as well. Many filmmakers have made their best work attempting to speak out or simply make sense of the issues they face in their homeland. Giralt's video is his response to the political and social issues occurring in the U.S., and this is what he has to say about the message behind it:
Most people fear what they do not understand. It is that fear that breeds racism, sexism, discrimination, and more. The only way to break down fear is through communication and understanding. As a visual artist, I have the power to communicate in ways others don’t. This project is a way for me to communicate my wish for us all to realize that democracy doesn’t require uniformity, but it does require active citizenship.
If you want to learn more about United Not Divided, head on over to the project's website. Giralt and his team also invite you to share your story, your "happiness, worries, ideas, and hope," by making a response video, drawing a picture, or whatever you feel inspired to do and tweeting them with the hashtag #unitednotdivided.