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Strangers In Boxes

It was 2021 and the world was in lockdown.

Activists worldwide were trying to further their critical work – leading movements and tackling injustice – while in quarantine. Were they adapting? How were they coping? What were they seeing on the ground? What did they need?

In the wake of these constraints, we decided to make a film that captured this moment in all its human complexity – isolation, fear, longing, and resilience. We wanted to document what most of us were both grieving and craving –: a sense of purpose within a community that transcended borders.

We didn’t want our film to feature talking points, interviews, or voiceover. We wanted to see (and feel) what happens when strangers meet in the one place where most of us could still find some human connection –: the dreaded Zoom meeting.

And even if we could elevate the craft of Zoom filmmaking through movie magic, would the strangers let each other into their own worlds? Could they transmit their experiences through the computer lens? Would they discover commonalities and derive inspiration from each other?

Of course, these were not just any strangers. These were change makers from the Skoll community tackling the most pressing issues worldwide. We invited local leaders who sometimes can’t make it to international conferences. These everyday heroes (who often don’t get a moment in the spotlight) now had a chance to tell their stories.

Here’s an article with more backstory on this film. skoll.org/2024/03/26/the-skoll-world-forum-on-film-community-convening-and-the-power-of-shared-vulnerability/