Batman befriends Syrian boy: refugee video named best charity ad

by Emma Batha | @emmabatha | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 8 December 2017 16:56 GMT

A Syrian refugee boy walks behind a cotton candy vendor at al-Rawda refugee camp in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon November 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

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"One thing this video did a really good job of was showing the kid as a kid"

By Emma Batha

LONDON, Dec 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A video about Batman visiting a refugee camp has been named best fundraising film after a charity appeal featuring singer Ed Sheeran was branded the worst for its exploitative "poverty tourism".

The video produced for charity War Child Holland shows the Caped Crusader running around a dusty refugee camp in Lebanon with an eight-year-old Syrian boy, Kadar.

The pair play football, have a game of hide and seek, arm wrestle and fly a kite. The soundtrack is "You're My Best Friend" by rock band Queen.

At the end Batman transforms into the boy's father, who is fleeing the war with his family.

"Fantasy is often the only way for children in war to escape their reality," the film says.

The video was named winner of the 2017 Radi-Aid Golden Radiator Award on Friday.

The prize recognises charity videos that get away from stereotypical messages about poverty and that depict their subjects as more than passive recipients of aid.

"What a powerful video!" the judges said. "One thing this video did a really good job of was showing the kid as a kid."

War Child aims to protect children caught up in conflicts, give them an education, and equip them with skills for the future.

The annual Radi-Aid Awards were started by the Norwegian Students' and Academics' International Assistance Fund (SAIH).

The name comes from a spoof music video they made in 2012, called "Radi-Aid: Africa For Norway" which appealed for Africans to donate radiators to freezing Norwegians.

Earlier this week SAIH awarded its Rusty Radiator Award to a charity appeal for Comic Relief fronted by Sheeran.

They said Sheeran's video about street children in Liberia was too focused on the singer, and his offer to temporarily house several homeless children in a hotel was "irresponsible".

Appeals by British actors Tom Hardy and Eddie Redmayne for the UK's Disasters Emergencies Committee were also shortlisted for the Rusty Radiator Award.

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

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