Kharas has concluded his lecture. The long round of applause even saw some give a standing ovation. He is now taking the time to meet attendees. That's all for tonight, folks! Thanks for following!
Kharas calls volunteers in his movies "highly courageous." He says one of the voices in his Three Amigos film was a Roman Catholic priest.
Kharas keeps a picture of a child on his desk. The child, named Victor, was a boy he met who had AIDS which had been passed on to him from his mother through birth. The boy had only ever been given aspirin to treat his symptoms. He died shortly after Kharas met him. Kharas says when he's sitting answering e-mails from Mongolia at 2 a.m. and someone asks him what he's doing his motivation is, "maybe Victor lives in Mongolia right now."
"A social innovator must have passion. If I didn't have passion for what I do, I wouldn't do it." @Culture_Shift
"I'm trying to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS," he says. "I'm very careful not to accept any money from companies that might have a direct influence in what I'm doing." Kharas explains that after The Three Amigos, many condom companies wanted to fund his films. He said he had to decline because funding would mean he was trying to advertise, something he's not trying to do.
"Funding is by far my biggest issue. The cost-effectiveness is not understood," says Kharas. "Social entrepreneurship never existed until a decade ago."
"Barriers are what separate and distinguish human beings," he says. "There is no other person like you in the world." @Culture_Shift
A South African university insisted that all incoming freshmen watch Kharas' movie The Three Amigos. "We absolutely saturated South Africa. I was told that you could walk into a pharmacy and ask for an amigo and they would know you're asking for a condom.
"If you don't have a character that carries the story through and you can't relate to, it does not work," says Kharas on character creation.
Other challenges include difficulty of research, creating the materials and creating different versions of his films into multiple languages. Kharas jokes that when some languages are translated from English, it takes much longer to say a simple phrase.
"By far the biggest challenge I face is lack of financing," says Kharas. "People have a lack of understanding of the cost. There's a myth that communicators should be working for free."
Kharas' Solar Campaign was created to encourage youth to use solar energy including lights. "Burning kerosene causes serious health issues," says the clip narrator.
Kharas explains creating a culture shift. "Every issue can be tackled, every person can be influenced." @Culture_Shift
Watching a clip from Ebola: In Praise of Prevention. The film explains ways to prevent infections and the symptoms one will experience once they are infected. "Infection by Ebola is not a death sentence," says the young girl whose story we follow in the film.
"Ebola is not a curse, it's a virus," says one of the characters in the film Ebola: A Poem for the Living. "Because you love me mama, I need you to be stronger than your tears." The animated film shows the story of young woman who has contracted ebola. The audience is intently watching the video.
...and we're back! Discussing the ebola crisis, Kharas says many efforts from the West was handing out brochures when less than 20% in many of the infected countries are literate. Kharas said him and two others decided to create a video. "To this day, apparently it is the only visual media in many languages on ebola," he said.
Break time now, live coverage will resume shortly.
"Have you ever seen a warning on a cigarette package?" asks Kharas. "That's behaviour change communication." @Culture_Shift
"We can have the greatest technology in the world, but if we don't have content, you're not going to get people to use that technology."
These comedic condoms use humour to bring awareness to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Watching a clip from The Three Amigos. These three animated condoms exist in over 45 languages. @Culture_Shift
Kharas is now explaining why he will choose live-action over animation. Reasons include personalizing the story because the characters are like the viewer. Kharas says animation is better for universal characters. It makes the audience accepting, it's easy to synch in other languages and it allows for innovation.
One audience member asks, "how do you translate humour?" Kharas says, "we don't translate anything. We re-write the scripts in every language."
Kharas says he uses humour to create something the audience wants to watch and re-watch. "That's an approach that I use over and over again."
"The goal of my work is to create behaviour change. That's where I get the idea of culture shift," says Kharas. @Culture_Shift
"There's a huge amount of research that goes into something like [the No Excuses campaign]. You don't simply write a script and say we're going to tackle domestic violence."
Kharas says he spent days with women interviewing him for the Women Speak documentary. One woman received so many threats she asked him to take her out of the video. Kharas says he had to edit the video and re-produce it without her.
Now watching a clip from Kharas' documentary Women Speak. The women are asked why does extremism grow? "We have extremists offering them money, an alternative and even giving them another model. 'You are a fighter, you are men, you are powerful you are strong,'" says Amel Grami from Tunisia.
"The No Excuses campaign received no funding. Nobody wanted to touch domestic violence with a ten foot pole."
Kharas shows a clip about domestic abuse in Malawi. Many women are taught to tolerate abuse to hold their family together the clip says. Audiences' eyes are glued to the screen
Kharas has worked on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Ebola and Type 1 Diabetes campaigns. He does not work strictly on animation, he also does live-action films.
Kharas explains his characters are all blue because no humans are blue. "In my campaigns, I have to make sure the Chinese find this as funny and as acceptable as the South African as does the Canadian."
Watching a clip from the No Excuses campaign. "No culture, religion or tradition is an excuse for you to use violence," the voiceover says.
Kharas says he chose not to do a production on acid victims. "I thought I would be giving the idea of acid violence to millions of people who hadn't thought about it."
Kharas gives an example of his goals for the No Excuses campaign against domestic violence. Goals include creating human rights within families and preventing all forms of family violence.
Other criteria for his topics include something that needs innovations, something no one else is covering and something that needs cross-cultural media. There are ten criteria total for his topics.
Additionally he says, "if it's not an extremely difficult issue, I don't want to do it." @Culture_Shift
Kharas says he decides topics based on "saving or improving lives or a global or regional issue" to name a few. @Culture_Shift
Over 80% of the world's population can find at least one animation in their language on Kharas' Vimeo channel, he says. @Culture_Shift
Kharas says when asked what he does, "I better the human condition through media." @Culture_Shift
@Culture_Shift Kharas begins with trailer "The Animated Activist," a documentary about the No Excuses Campaign on domestic violence.
Founder of Chocolate Moose Media and former head of United Nations Association in Canada, Kharas has produced animation and television shows related to the human condition. Kharas recently received an honorary doctorate from Carleton University.
Kim Matheson, Director of Canadian Health Adaptations Innovations Mobilization Centre (CHAIM) says Kharas will speak for about 30 minutes followed by a reception and meet and greet.
The event is being held in Azrieli Theatre 101 - a lecture hall that seats approximately 230. The hall is about one third full at the moment, but people are still arriving.
Lights have dimmed, lecture should begin shortly. Stay tuned.
Mr. Firdaus Kharas is in the building and so am I. Lecture is set to begin at 6 p.m. sharp.