Amnesty Unsubscribe to Waterboarding

Amnesty International has released a new TV ad (suitable for ages 15 plus) for, the fight against human rights abuse in the ‘war on terror’. This ad begins as a study of poured water in all its beauty. It’s only part way into the video that we discover that the stuff of life is being used as a means of torture.

Amnesty Unsubscribe Waterboarding

What we’re seeing here is waterboarding, a form of torture that involves immobilizing a person on their back with the head tilted downward (the Trendelenburg position), and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the process of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent.

Click on the image below to play the video.


The Stuff of Life spot was developed at Drugstore, London. Filming was shot by directors Marc Hawker and Ishbel Whitaker via DarkFibrefilms, London, with director of photography David Knight, producer Kate Arton, and editor John Mayes. Music was composed by Adam Freeland, DJ with record label Marine Parade, Brighton.

Making of Stuff of Life

During the making of The Stuff of Life, the “detainee”, Jiva Parthipan, underwent waterboarding. Though he always had the ability to stop (something real detainees do not have) it was important to the filmmakers that this film is authentic. It is not a dramatisation.

A lot of care was taken to have full medical supervision. The filmmakers used a hi tech camera to shoot the water hitting the detainees mouth at 1000 frames a second.

Unsubscribe Movement

To create a movement of people against human rights abuses in the ‘War on Terror’, Drugstore built a hub of campaigning tools and real-time updates on who and how many Unsubscribers were using them (

Widgets in social media (e.g. Facebook, Flickr, Bebo) created a first wave of user-generated content and signups. A mix of 48-sheet posters, National Press, live events and a highly disturbing short film, Waiting for the Guards, then launched the campaign offline. At launch, signups ran at 3,000 per day. Since October 2007 “Unsubscribe” has made over 500 blogs, numerous press coverage and achieved the highest ever fundraising response from a single appeal by Amnesty UK.

See Amnesty Stuff of Life in quicktime.

via Osocio