Students from the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts Created Powerful Videos for the #ChangeThePicture Campaign

The issue of littered cigarette butts was given as an assignment to the 2nd year students of screen arts in the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts.

Data about the global scale of the issue of cigarette butts littering which is also pervasive in Bulgaria served as the foundation for the partnership formed between the #ChangeThePicture campaign and NATFA. 7 teams comprised of directing, cinematography, screenwriting, editing, sound and producing students presented their creative, provocative and powerful take on the issue appealing to the public for responsible consumer behavior.

Tens of thousands cigarette butts are littered in the world every second and they take 3 months to 15 years to degrade. The majority of smokers are not aware that cigarette filters are not made of cotton or paper and one in three disposes them improperly into the urban environment or in nature – on the ground, in the street, in ditches, in parks and everywhere. The filters are small and their separate collection for recycling is difficult which is why they should only be disposed in general waste bins. Many smokers who are aware that filters contain biopolymers perceive their “contribution” to polluting the planet as equally small. The students’ videos show how often people do not pay attention, but rather “look away” and “get round the problem” not realizing that the butt discarded into a ditch or in the street may end up in the oceans and from there “onto the plate” or they just neglect the issue thinking “it is only one butt”. See the works of the young directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, editors, and actors from NATFA recreating different situations reflecting the reality and the impact that our seemingly inadvertent cigarette butt littering on different aspects of our lives.

See the videos here

Philip Morris Bulgaria launched the #ChangeThePicture initiative last year to raise awareness of the issue and bring about behavioral change. The campaign will benefit from the partnership with NATFA expanding with new ideas and many more supporters, while the students gained an opportunity to take part in a real-life project.

“We wanted the students in the Academy to go beyond the purely academic model and to work on an existing important social issue just like in real life. Their task was to create meaningful content that the audience can identify with and that can influence the mentality and behavior of people. In this respect we will expect to see what the response was to the joint project of NATFA and Philip Morris Bulgaria for the #ChangeThePicture awareness campaign. The students were enthusiastic and we believe that this project was a positive experience for them because the combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills is key for the high quality education that NATFA provides.”, said Professor Stanislav Semerdjiev, Rector of NATFA “Krastyo Sarafov”.

Since the launch of the #ChangeThePicture campaign a year ago the public has been exposed to the campaign messages via various initiatives. In the summer of 2021 impactful prints were placed in 40 beaches on the Black See coast and, in the fall, voluntary cleanup drives were organized in 5 Bulgarian cities: Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Varna, Burgas and Ruse. About 180 volunteers, more than 50 employees of Philip Morris Bulgaria, partners and supporters took part in the cleanup events and collected a total of 620 kg of cigarette butts and waste. On the World Cleanup Day, 18th September, a one-month exhibition displaying #ChangeThePicture campaign posters in the City Park in Plovdiv was open. With the support of the Metropolitan Municipality the exhibition then moved to the park of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia where the attractive posters inspired the passers-by to learn more about the issue.

The campaign will continue this year and the first campaign activity was the NATFA project presenting the ideas and the views of the students.

“We are happy to see the campaign messages turned into videos that are brave and provocative as this is the way to reach a broader circle of consumers and inspire them to change their habits.“, said Dilyana Yakova, Regulations and Sustainable Development Manager at Philip Morris Bulgaria.

The new development of this spring are the #ChangeThePicture initiatives with the motto “let’s change the picture in the art quarters of Bulgaria” – the centers of art, education and urban development which captivate the interest of the people. The musician and radio host Gery Turyiska, the frontman of Ostava Svilen Noev, the journalist and radio host Niki Kanchev and the PR expert Iva Ekimova will join the cause of protecting the environment from the littered cigarette butts as ambassadors of the campaign.