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"Christmas Messages" is designed to be a new television format for getting closer to people living in our new Europe. The idea is based on the fact that many people living far from their home don’t have the opportunity to meet their relatives at the time of big feasts and holidays. Television gives them the chance to present, in public, their relatives with short video messages.

Transferring this simple idea to an international European platform transforms its potential and power. These short video messages change the function of the television, since they are not simply educational or entertaining – they also have a practical purpose in serving the audience. The strength of these messages is that the participants choose what they really want to show and television acts as the go-between, not as a voyeur.

Not only do the message senders benefit. The viewers have the opportunity to get closer to people of whom they might be afraid, prejudiced against or just uninterested about.

At the same time the video messages can be documentary in style as well – with them we can glimpse the state of our societies, especially how immigrants live their life far away from their homes. While a lot of shows, films, and documentaries try to understand different cultural habits, groups or societies, many of them are made from an outsider’s point of view, even though they try to be the most tolerant or integrating. With video messages we can guarantee authenticity – it is obvious that message senders want to show their own worlds as vividly and fully as possible when they send their messages for relatives, friends or familiars.

A very simple but expressive way of shooting (one fixed wide-angle picture) can make the messages as pure and artistic as a photographic portrait can be. This also helps to make the messages more abstract and gives them a strong documentary meaning besides their functional and social substance.

a project by Bojána Papp

christmas messages
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