Amnesty International celebrates its 60th anniversary today by releasing a new visual titled “Freedom Flight 60.” Narrated by Nazanin Boniadi (“Homeland”) musician Angelique Kidjo, and Mia Maestro (“The Strain” and “Frida”), the film features a drone-created art display and was shot on location on Robben Island in Cape Town, Sydney Opera House, Jama Masjid Mosque, New Delhi, Plaza del Zócalo, Mexico City and at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris. “Freedom Flight” is soundtracked by a remastered version of “Biko” by Peter Gabriel (pictured above in 1986), himself an Amnesty International Ambassador.
“Biko” is a musical tribute to Steven Biko, a Black South-African anti-apartheid activist who was assassinated while in police custody in 1977.
The video aims to celebrate Amnesty’s continued “campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.” Locations filmed include Mexico City, Paris, Sydney Opera House, Jama Masjid Mosque, New Delhi and Cape Town. “Freedom Flight” runs two minutes and was produced by Art for Amnesty and Celestial, a cutting-edge drone art company.
Said Gabriel: “Now more than ever, we need as many people as possible to start taking injustice personally and to get involved in any way they can. Amnesty has been doing extraordinary work around the world which I believe is really important and supported for 40 years, so I was very happy to be asked to help with this.”
For the remix, Gabriel incorporated “The Spirituals Choir, a group using song as a means of reclaiming and celebrating Black spirituals, composers and musicians. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, vocalists had to record their parts individually on smart phones. “It was a race against time but definitely worth it,“ added Gabriel. “The Spirituals Choir is committed to telling stories of social justice and black history to a new generation which fits very well with the inspiration in the story of Steve Biko.”
Amnesty has ended the death penalty in dozens of countries, brought previously untouchable leaders to account, amended laws and changed lives. In 2001, Amnesty expanded its mandate from civil and political rights to also embrace economic, social and cultural rights in 2001. Currently, Amnesty counts 10 million members globally, but the fight for human rights continues and the anniversary is an invitation to new supporters.
Watch “Freedom Flight” below: