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Scots Music Fans in new Coldplay Land Grabs Video

16th Apr 2013

Music fans from Scotland have been selected from thousands of entries worldwide to feature in a pioneering new film being launched today to highlight the injustice of land grabs.

Over the last two months, thousands of people from 55 countries have submitted nearly seven thousand videos and photographs to produce a crowd sourced video set to an acoustic version of Coldplay's famous track In My Place - which can be viewed here.

Among those to make the final cut are students from Glasgow University who star alongside fellow Coldplay fans and others, including actor Dominic Cooper - star of Mamma Mia and Captain America - and rock band Wolf Gang.

The concept and film were created by award winning director Mat Whitecross - whose video for Coldplay's 'Paradise' won the MTV VMA for best rock video and has 184 million Youtube views.

The new film echoes the dislocation and displacement faced by thousands of families as a result of land grabs. It shows people from Scotland to Indonesia moving something favourite, personal or familiar from their home to somewhere it doesn't belong.

Others show people doing something personal and familiar but totally out of place. The six students from Scotland are shown in their dressing gowns, brushing their teeth, outside Kelvinbridge Subway Station in Glasgow.

Helene Cardona, 24, is a member of the Oxfam group at Glasgow University, said: "I never imagined I'd be part of a Cold Play music video - so it's really exciting. It was great fun being in your pyjamas in the middle of Glasgow, and at the same time campaigning against land grabs. We thought it was a great way to reach out to lots of people as Coldplay are such a famous band around the world - we really hope this gets more people thinking about land grabs."

Every year governments and private investors buy huge plots of land in some of the poorest countries in the world. Often the people who live on the land, and rely on it to feed their families, do not have a say when it is sold and do not receive compensation. Many are evicted violently and those that protest are often subject to intimidation and harassment.

A spokesperson for Coldpay, who are global ambassadors for Oxfam, said: "Not only are Coldplay fans very good looking but they're also incredibly creative. We're proud that they've dedicated their collective talent to this important cause."

Director Mat Whitecross, who has also directed videos for The Rolling Stones, Take That and Jay-Z, said: "Crowd-sourcing is a really exciting way to give creative power to the public. As a long-term supporter of Oxfam, I was keen to help and take on the challenge. I felt a huge responsibility to produce something that lived up to the commitment of the fans who had given their time and shared their voices to make real change.

"My parents were refugees so the issue of displacement, home and belonging are really important to me. I hope that the film helps bring the injustices caused by land grabs to a much wider audience. This is something we should all know about."

The film is being released in the week that the World Bank convenes its Annual Spring Meetings. The World Bank influences how land is bought and sold on a global scale. 

Oxfam's GROW campaign has been calling for the World Bank to take action to prevent land grabs. The World Bank has recently acknowledged it has a role to play and has committed to do more to tackle the problem. Oxfam hopes the campaign video will inspire thousands of people to hold the Bank to account on these commitments.

Oxfam's GROW campaign spokesperson, Hannah Stoddart said: "Thousands of Coldplay fans are adding their voices to an ever increasing and powerful global call for action to stop land grabs. The World Bank can help ensure that land deals do not leave poor communities without a place to live or grow food. They must act now."

Last month, a poll commissioned by the Enough Food For Everyone IF Campaign - a coalition of 150 organisations across the UK - revealed 68% of Scots are concerned about land grabs. Land equivalent to Loch Ness is snapped up by investors every 5 hours in poorer countries - a trend some campaigners believe has parallels to the Highland Clearances in Scotland. The poll of more than a thousand Scots (1,016) - conducted by Research Now - showed a clear majority (59%) of Scots want the Scottish Government to play a role in fighting land grabs.

Last month, the International Development Miniser Humza Yousaf MSP attended an IF event in Helmsdale in Sutherland marking 200 years since the Sutherland Clearances. Mr Yousaf branded the IF Campaign's request for the Scottish Government to host a Global Land Hearing giving voice to communities facing modern day clearances a "fantastic idea".

The campaign video can be viewed here.