Fifth Annual Festival

World On Fire

04:20 min
Music Video
Director: Sophie Muller

Winner of the Citizen Engagement Award
Sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation


A Message from Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan wrote us this message about her music video and participation in the Media That Matters Film Festival:

When Sophie Muller and I made World on Fire, our hope was to show how easy it can be to use your wealth to help make immeasurable improvements in peoples lives. Media that Matters is about people making the switch from apathy to action. I’m so happy to have World on Fire be recognized as a motivator of that kind of change.

More About World On Fire

Multi-platinum Nettwerk recording artist Sarah McLachlan was determined to make a statement with the new video for her chart-topping single World On Fire. It was McLachlan’s desire to assist those in need that led her to arrange for the video’s production costs to go to charities around the globe. Award-winning video director Sophie Muller and her production crew donated their time and skill to create this video with the labor costs benefiting those in need worldwide. Muller captured a stark, simple performance by McLachlan that is interspersed with scenes displaying the standard cost for video production (inclusive of camera crews, electricians, and location fees, etc.) comparing those costs with the price of food, medical supplies and education for over one million people. Muller skillfully edits images provided by charities and other sources from locations including Afghanistan, India, Nairobi, South Africa, Southeast Asia and others illustrating the existence of those who live without everyday necessities. Those expenses that are customary for a video production were sent to a list of 11 charities with total funds equaling $150,000. The only production expense was $15, the cost of a Sony miniDV tape.

“When Sophie Muller first approached me with her concept, I thought it was poignant and brilliant,” said McLachlan. “The song is about trying not to feel paralyzed when we see all that is wrong with the world, and remembering that even the smallest gesture can make a difference — corny but true. I wanted a video that wasn’t about me and wasn’t preachy, but one that would help shine a light on the tragedy and turmoil in the world and also show the beauty and strength of the human spirit. Sophie and everyone else who touched this video worked tirelessly and for free to make it happen. This was a labor of love for all the right reasons and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

For director Muller, this was the opportunity to express an idea that had been in her mind for some time. “When I was talking to Sarah about the song and video she said something about the fact that she was part of the problem (the state of the world) and I thought, ‘so am I.’ I had had this idea for a while, but now it had changed in light of the artist, the song and the world. It was rewarding to see how many people and companies were willing to give their time and efforts for no payment and how interesting it was to be in contact with all the charities,” comments Muller.


Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival, economic justice, environment, health / health advocacy, human rights, international, media, politics / government
Creative Commons License: Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivative Works


Reach over 100,000 mediamakers, educators, nonprofits and activists at Media That Matters 2011! Download this PDF for more info or contact Steve Mendelsohn.



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