The Best Work You May Never See: White Ribbon, Bensimon Byrne, Director Hubert Davis "Knew All Along" About Raising A Daughter


Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022


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White Ribbon’s new campaign, “I Knew All Along,” captures a new father’s fears about raising a daughter. Conceived by Toronto-based creative agency Bensimon Byrne and directed by TIFF 2022 People’s Choice Award winner Hubert Davis (Untitled Films, Toronto), the public service announcement encourages men to consider how they can facilitate gender equity, and eradicate gender violence, by considering these things even if they do not have daughters.

The work highlights a new father who, while holding his child in his arms, reflects on how he has behaved toward women and girls in the past. It becomes clear to him that he not only knows what she is likely to face; he could also have made the world better for her by considering his own actions sooner.

“The inspiration for ‘I Knew All Along’ came from the multitude of videos on social platforms, often played for laughs, detailing father’s worries about ‘other boys and men’ as their daughters grow up. It seemed like there was a total lack of self-examination about how they may have treated women or girls in their past,” said Joseph Bonnici, chief creative officer, Bensimon Byrne. “We felt in order for this to have a powerful emotional impact and cause the self-examination that we wanted from men, it was imperative to have the penny drop for the viewer at the same time as it does for the father in the film.”

“Displays of harmful gender norms and stereotypes are so ingrained within our culture that it often takes personal experience, such as having a daughter, for many men to recognize these unhealthy behaviors,” added Humberto Carolo, White Ribbon’s executive director. “‘I Knew All Along’ sheds light on the gender-based aggressions that men may have engaged in, whether verbal or behavioral, intentional, or unintentional, and reveals why they should not be ignored or minimized.”

Displays of unhealthy masculinities such as violence, misogyny and discrimination are learned behaviors, not something men and boys are inherently born with. The mission of “I Knew All Along” is to highlight the experiences many women face and encourage male-identified individuals to become conscious of, and accountable for, their actions.

White Ribbon works to highlight the systemic and societal issues that lead to gender-based violence. Its mission is to help men and boys understand the reality and dimension of this issue so they can become allies, challenge harmful behaviors, and make real change. Now in its 31st year, White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls and promote gender equity, healthy relationships and new perspectives on masculinity. It was founded in 1991 as a response to the murder of 14 women engineering students at Polytechnique Montréal in 1989. Since then, among its many calls to action, White Ribbon asks men to wear white ribbons as a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.

“This film has the power to present complex social issues in a way that is both compelling and universal,” said director Davis. “To make an emotional impact, it was important for us to highlight a profound personal experience - like becoming a new parent. While not everyone may be a parent, many understand what it feels like to want to protect a loved one.”


Client White Ribbon Humberto Carolo, executive director; Louise Moyer, sr. program manager. Agency Bensimon Byrne Joseph Bonnici, chief creative officer; Debbie Chan, David Mueller, creative directors; Ana Seguajauregui Sanchez, associate creative director; Nina Hang, art director; Sophia Wilby, Megan Radisa, copywriters; Michelle Pilling, exec producer; Katie Link, co-producer. Production Company Untitled Films, Toronto Hubert Davis, director; Kiel Milligan, DP; Tom Evelyn, exec producer; Ian Fingland, line producer. Casting Jigsaw Editorial Rooster Post Production Michelle Czukar, editor; Matt Blakely, assistant editor; Sam MacLaren, producer; Melissa Kahn, exec producer. Postproduction Fort York James Marin, online editor; Valerie Moss, producer. Color Alter Ego Eric Whipp, colorist; Spencer Butt, producer. Audio Berkeley Inc. Jared Kuemper, director/engineer; Tyna Maerzke, producer.

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