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Special Olympics PSA Leaves Audiences “Speechless”


Susie Doyens literally shatters her fears in this PSA for Special Olympics.
Director Martin Rodahl, recently produced a public service announcement for Special Olympics Illinois, which provides year-round sports training and competition and leadership programs for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Illinois. The spot focuses on athlete Susie Doyens. Born with Down syndrome, Doyens remained practically mute for most of her childhood due to social pressure and anxiety. In “Speechless,” she literally shatters those fears and attributes her transformation to the confidence gained through Special Olympics.

Having maintained a professional relationship with Special Olympics Illinois for several years, Rodahl immediately accepted the opportunity to direct, produce and edit the PSA: “It’s an honor to work with Special Olympics and the individuals that this wonderful organization touches, whether it’s an athlete, volunteer or staff member. I have a sister with special needs so the subject is very close to home.”

According to Barbara DiGuido, director of communications for Special Olympics Illinois, “In a short PSA, Martin was able to capture the essence of Susie’s powerful story in a dramatic and compelling way that leaves a lasting impression about the power of Special Olympics to change lives.”

Tom, Dick & Harry Creative of Chicago, Illinois, provided support for the concept, spearheaded by creative director Amy Markley and art director Taylor LeCroy. The PSA relied heavily on its postproduction team, including visual effects by Chris Ryan of Chaos Studios, color by Tyler Roth of Optimus, sound design and mix by Cory Coken of NoiseFloor and music composition by Shawn Sutta of Audiocastle.

“I am so grateful to everyone who dedicated their time and effort to this project,” said Rodahl. “This was one of those rare moments in advertising where everyone recognized the value of the product and its importance to our community as a whole.”

“Speechless” is posted on the Special Olympics Illinois channel on YouTube and is currently airing on select television and cable stations in Illinois, including RCN in Chicago, with tentative plans for national distribution later in 2012.

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