"Eva Stories": Storytelling In An Instagram Age
By Alixandra Rutnik on Aug 13, 2020
Father-and-daughter duo personalize the Holocaust for modern audiences
The Holocaust is undoubtedly one of the most noted atrocities of the 20th century, but the passage of time has made these horrors unrelatable to a modern audience. Young people today can hardly envision a world without social media, let alone one where millions of people much like them were denigrated, persecuted, and eventually exterminated.
"Eva.Stories" sought to bridge that gap by imagining what a Jewish teenager growing up in that time and place might've captured had smartphones and Instagram existed back then. Eva Heyman, a young girl living in Nazi-occupied Hungary, began writing a diary of her experiences on her thirteenth birthday. This time served as the launchpad of a first-person retelling of her daily life in the form of Instagram Stories.
"Eva.Stories" was easily one of the more gripping entries in The One Show 2020. Using modern methods and distribution platforms to tell an old story earned Tel Aviv Israel and K's Galleries the Best in Discipline for Branded Entertainment. We had an opportunity to chat with Mati and Maya Kochavi, the father-and-daughter duo who created the project.
K's Galleries / Tel Aviv + Leo Burnett Israel / Tel Aviv
2020 Branded Entertainment: Experiential / Live Events
Instagram can be used for everything these days, including teaching a younger generation about the holocaust. All the Insta stories are like an interactive movie. How did this idea spark?
Our new media company, Stelo Stories seeks to re-introduce history to youth. History is not past, it is present in who we are and instrumental in what we hope to become.
In order to reach the youth, we decided to combine storytelling and technology. With each story, we asked ourselves, “what technology do we need to give to our protagonist in order to help them tell their story?” For Eva Heyman, the best tool we could give her was Instagram stories because it is the most popular way that young people communicate. By giving Eva a smartphone and an Instagram account, she was able to capture the hearts of the world.
"History is not past, it is present in who we are and instrumental in what we hope to become."
What made you think that Eva's diary was perfect to bring this project to life?
We have a strong internal research team within our company. This team includes historians, philosophers, and social media experts. We also use advanced research tools that let us reach content from libraries and archives.
Eva’s diary was chosen from a storytelling perspective. First, we felt that youth could really relate to Eva’s life: her parents were divorced and there was a little love story. Both of these things make Eva feel much more like a peer. Eva’s life also fell apart very quickly – within a matter of four months which made her story much more tangible.
Can you walk us through the creative and technical process of making Eva.Stories a living, breathting thing?
Stelo Stories is creating different genres for storytelling. One of those genres is the Instagram genre, which is the Eva format. We developed this genre through tests and through big data analysis.
In order to succeed in this genre, we had to make several important commitments.
1. Shoot the story vertically.
2. Totally commit to the POV of the storyteller, in this case Eva. In other words, we did not want people to feel the presence of the director or the writer.
3. Tell the stories via bite-sized videos, as to reflect the habits of Instagram users.
4. Unlock the concept of how to make users keep watching the next story and understand the conversation among the audience between each story upload.
5. Commit to the authenticity of the story. Since the film comes out on the iPhone it is much more personal and intimate, and the viewer must feel like what they are seeing is really happening right now. This demanded a lot of tests and extensive conversations about the topic.
6. Master the technique of photographing extreme moments – we had to study this deeply and conduct interviews in order to understand how people use their phones to document extreme and dangerous moments in their lives.
In terms of the process, the stories were filmed on a smartphone and then went into post-production. After the post-work, we cut up the film into 15-second bite-sized videos. Eva Stories is comprised of 220 Instagram videos which were all uploaded in 24 hours onto Eva’s Instagram page.
"Eva Stories is comprised of 220 Instagram videos which were all uploaded in 24 hours onto Eva’s Instagram page."
How successful was "Eva's" Instagram account?
We broke one million followers in 24 hours.
"We broke one million followers in 24 hours."
What’s next for Eva Stories after winning two Gold Pencils and the Best of Discipline in The One Show?
We are thrilled about the recognition from The One Show!
Eva was our first film in a series of ten films that re-imagine and document the stories of real children who lived during extreme historical time periods. We will soon be releasing our second film and we will begin the shooting of the third film in a couple of months.
Missed The One Show and the ADC Awards? Good news: you can still experience all of the winners!