From warzone to Olympic track; UN turns spotlight on refugee athletes in global campaign

A perilous trek from a warzone to Olympic running track is the centrepiece of a global campaign to raise awareness and support of refugee Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the lead up to the Tokyo Games.

Created by London-based Don’t Panic, ‘The Journey’ tells the story a refugee who flees her bomb-ravaged home before continuing her quest to train and compete in the Olympics.

The social media video is based on the first-hand experiences of two refugee athletes hoping to compete at this year’s games, Rose Lokonyen and Asif Sultani. Both were consulted at every phase of production, according to UN refugee agency UNHCR.

The video features only the legs of the athlete in various stages of her journey.

Don’t Panic creative partner Rick Dodds said: “One of our biggest challenges creatively was to make an emotionally impactful film, whilst keeping the protagonist anonymous. We chose to show only her legs, as this allows our film to be representative of many refugees’ journeys.

“Emotion so often comes from a person’s face, their expression, the look in their eyes, the words they say and with this film, we simply had a pair of legs.

“We also quickly realised that we couldn’t have her running in every single scene as the film would only have one note. So the choreography of her movements, when she’s walking, turning, stopping, sitting, became our most vital tool to create emotion.”

The launch of the film marks the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

The Seven Network will again broadcast the Olympics which are due to take place between July 23 and August 8 with the Paralympic Games staged between 24 August and 5 September.

Seven said it is looking to attract eight million registered users to 7Plus, its Broadcast Video on Demand service for the delayed event.


Agency: Don’t Panic
Founder: Joe Wade
Creative Partner: Rick Dodds
Senior Account Director: Georgia Williams
Senior Project Manager & Producer: Jennifer Clare Houlihan
Senior Engagement Strategist: Flo Auckland

Production company: Anonymous Content
Director: Pantera
Executive Producer: Tor Fitzwilliams
Producer (London): Shion Hayasaka
Producer (Argentina): Gaby Carcova
DOP: Fran Hauser
Composer: Mate
Production Design: Muriel Rani
Stylist: Delfina de Forteza
Production Manager: Pablo Anzoategui
SFX: Edu Cundom

Edit: Trim Editing
Editor: Paul Hardcastle
Edit Assistant: Helena Teixeira
Producer: Noreen Khan

Post: Time Based Arts
Colourist: Lewis Crossfield
VFX: Ollie Ramsey, Adam Paterson
Producer: Jo Gutteridge

Sound: String & Tins
Sound Design & Mix: Joe Wilkinson
Additional Sound Design: Culum Simpson
Foley: The Foley Barn
Foley Mixer: Julien Pirrie
Foley Artist: Jason Swanscott
Foler Editor: Philip Shacklady
Audio Producer: Laura-Leigh Smith

Composer: Mate Yaya


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