At least 6 people still die every day fleeing across the Mediterranean. In 2018 alone, at least 2,277 people attempting to cross the sea were unable to reach dry land.
As the work of civil sea rescue organisations is hampered, the proportion of deaths and missing persons in the Mediterranean has quadrupled since 2015. It is also alarming that 85 percent of Germans are not even aware of the extent of this crisis, according to a YouGov survey* commissioned by Sea-Watch.
Now is the time for the aid organization Sea-Watch to take drastic measures and make these dangers tangible for the general public: with "LIFEBOAT - The Experiment", documented in a film directed by Oscar-nominated Skye Fitzgerald. Leading psychologist Michael Thiel was on hand throughout the experiment as a consultant.
40 volunteers experienced a simulated Mediterranean crossing in a rubber dinghy for "LIFEBOAT - The Experiment", which was developed together with five refugees who had survived Mediterranean sea crossings and told of their experiences and impressions. Based on the first hand accounts of these traumatic experiences, the simulation was designed to be as realistic as possible.
While the 40 volunteers were crowded together on a rubber dinghy in a maritime training facility, the motion of the sea, lighting conditions and background noise were constantly changing for five hours. During the course of the simulation, waves and ambient noise increased, and increasing darkness aggravated the situation. This made the experience even more exhausting for the participants. During the experiment, rescue divers and medical personnel ensured the safety of the participants throughout.
The result: a deeply moving experience that caused the participants to reevaluate their views of immigrants attempting dangerous sea crossings.
The majority of the participants became seasick and complained of dizziness and nausea. Some of them vomited Seven participants aborted the simulation prematurely by jumping out of the boat and swimming to the edge of the pool - a decision that would mean certain death in the middle of the open sea.
After five hours, all the volunteers agreed that only extreme despair and hopelessness could motivate people to take that risk. That no man can do such a thing voluntarily.
Film advertisement created by Serviceplan, Germany for Sea-Watch, within the category: Public Interest, NGO.
Director: Skye Fitzgerald
DoP: Felix Tonnat
PR & Social Media: achtung!
Global Chief Creative Officer, Serviceplan Group: Alexander Schill
Executive Creative Director: Michael Wilk, Serviceplan Creative Board
Global Creative Strategist, Serviceplan Creative Board: Maximilian Schöngen
Head of Editing, Serviceplan Innovation Team: Dennis Fritz
Creative Managing Director, Serviceplan Campaign 3: Markus Maczey
Sound Design/ Music Company: Sebastian Osterwald