ODE TO LESVOS: THE INSPIRATIONAL STORY OF THE ISLANDERS ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE REFUGEE CRISIS
Release of the new documentary film from Johnnie Walker The Journey Storyline on World Peace Day
September 21, 2016: Johnnie Walker The Journey, since its inception, has always told stories of progress. Through Storyline, Johnnie Walker The Journey aims to inspire people by highlighting incredible, real stories that have made a positive difference in the world. Bringing to life its mantra of #KeepWalking, Johnnie Walker The Journey introduces ‘Ode to Lesvos’, the first among a series of short films that aim to inspire people to embrace positivity and bring them together to build a better tomorrow for the world.
Can you really ignore what’s in front of your eyes? Because tomorrow it could be me. I could be on a boat with my family and I would like to be helped,” says fisherman Stratis Valamios in Ode to Lesvos.
This time, 12 months ago, Stratis’ life changed beyond recognition as he spent months on end rescuing men, women and children from the waters around his home. His village, with a population of around 150, became the front line of the refugee crisis as hundreds of thousands of people came ashore, fleeing war and seeking a better future.
Ode to Lesvosis a documentary short that tells the stories of these islanders whose uncompromising compassion has earned some of them, including Stratis, fellow fisherman Thanassis Marmarinos and 85-year-old Aimilia Kamvisi a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. The positive response of the people of Lesvos who, last year alone, helped almost half a million refugees making the dangerous voyage across the Aegean Sea, has been documented in Ode to Lesvos.
Throughout the past year, headlines from the region have naturally focused on the tragic aspects of the unfolding human drama in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Ode to Lesvos shines a light on a lesser told story – the inspiring response of islanders who opened their hearts to the refugees and whose positivity drove them to rescue people from the sea, give shelter, and provide food and water.
As part of the launch of Ode to Lesvos, Johnnie Walker The Journey India is supporting Mercy Corps, a leading global organisation that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster. Since the Syrian war began, Mercy Corps has helped more than 7.7million people affected by the crisis and expanded its programming to Greece and The Balkans in response to the migration crisis.
Speaking about Ode to Lesvos Guy Escolme, Global Brand Director at Johnnie Walker, said: “The film represents one chapter in the evolving, larger story of the refugee crisis but it is one that highlights how acts of kindness and positivity made a difference to the lives of those who made a dangerous journey in search of a better future. We hope people will be inspired by Ode to Lesvos and one way they can respond is by supporting the efforts of Mercy Corps, a leading global organisation whose work through this crisis and many others around the world has brought the promise of hope and possibility to hundreds of thousands of displaced people.”
Nitesh Chhapru, Head of Marketing, Luxury & Premium Core Portfolio, United Spirits, India, added: “We believe that this film transcends borders and has the ability to touch hearts not only globally, but also in India. We have seen several instances of people embracing positivity during the darkest of times and helping others in need. Indians will definitely connect with the inspirational story of the islanders of Lesvos. We’re confident they will be inspired to share the film and hope they will come forward to support Mercy Corps to raise funds.”
Ode to Lesvos is being released in time for International Peace Day (September 21) and can be viewed here: YouTube-
People can donate to the work of Mercy Corps by visiting: www.mercycorps.org/johnniewalker
Notes to Editors
Johnnie Walker The Journey has always told stories of progress and wants to inspire others by enabling incredible human stories to be told. Through a network of global storytellers – including writers, directors and filmmakers - we are giving real people a voice to tell their stories of inspiring progress.
Johnnie Walker The Journey wants to discover these inspiring stories, then by supporting and enabling filmmakers to create them we can ensure that the world hears them. In doing so, we can inspire others to think about how they can make their tomorrow better than their today.
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organisation powered by the belief that a better world is possible. A team of over 5,000 people working in 43 countries around the world, Mercy Corps is one of the largest organisations helping people inside Syria and it works in countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq to help address the underlying causes of conflict and fragility.
About United Spirits Limited
USL is a subsidiary of Diageo plc which is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits, beer and wine categories. In 2013-14, Diageo plc acquired a 54.8% shareholding in USL making India one of its largest markets.
Founded in 1826, USL is the largest Indian spirits company, selling around 120 mn cases annually, involved in the manufacture, sale and distribution of beverage alcohol. USL produces and sells Scotch whisky, IMFL whisky, brandy, rum, vodka, gin and wine. Its portfolio includes much-loved brands such as McDowell's No.1, Royal Challenge, Signature and Antiquity. USL also imports, manufactures and sells Diageo’s iconic brands such as Johnnie Walker, VAT 69, Black & White, Smirnoff and Ciroc in India. The company also successfully operates strong brand extensions like Johnnie Walker The Journey, Black Dog Sparkling Water, Smirnoff Experience, Royal Challenge Sports Drink, McDowell’s No.1 Soda and Bagpiper Soda among others.
The company is listed on the BSE Limited (Bombay Stock Exchange) and National Stock Exchange of India Limited (National Stock Exchange). For more information about USL, our people, vision, brands, and performance visit us at www.unitedspirits.in.
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