ABOUT CHOCOLATE MOOSE MEDIA

Chocolate Moose Media is an animation and documentary creator specializing in social and behavior change media productions to better the human condition



Established since 1995, we create our international productions from offices in Ottawa, Canada and Geneva, Switzerland


Firdaus Kharas

Firdaus Kharas - Founder & Chairman

Social innovator, renowned director and global humanitarian Firdaus Kharas produces animation, documentaries, films and television series designed to educate, entertain, and change societal and individual behavior via a process he calls Culture Shift. His goal is to positively influence viewers’ knowledge, attitude and behavior, especially that of children and young adults, in order to better the human condition.

Kharas’ work provides innovative solutions to some of the world's toughest issues by confronting and overcoming the fault lines which separate us: language and culture; religion and ethnicity; tradition and history; stereotype and stigma; racism and prejudice; hatred and fear. “I get around the obstacles that separate human beings. I go beyond them to think of us as a human family. Using basic, core human values, we can take any issue and create cross-cultural campaigns to tackle those issues and save or improve the lives of people”, says Kharas.

In a nutshell, Firdaus Kharas’ work saves lives.

Jasmine El Mulki

Jasmine El Mulki - Managing Director & Producer

Jasmine incorporated Chocolate Moose' Swiss entity in partnership with Firdaus in 2010.

Before Chocolate Moose Media, she was Associate Producer with Academy Award winning independent film production house BreakThru Films in London, working on animation and live action projects and managing European distribution.

Producing her first short documentary in 2004, her growing interest in communication techniques and multimedia content production led her to join the United-Kingdom’s largest independent Radio and Sound Direction company Somethin’Else which had just launched its Interactive Department wherein she worked on 360 degree live and interactive online content productions such as the BBC's Africa Beyond websites, the BBC Online Music Reviews, and the BBC World Music Awards. She is also Senior Sound Producer on seven of Sony International’s best selling game titles of the Buzz! Quiz Show game series.

A defender of the environment, human and animal rights, she proudly acts as a member of the Commission on Education and Communication of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Jasmine has a diploma in Script Development from the National Film and Television School of England, a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters in Cultural Studies from Goldsmith’s College, University of London.

Jasmine speaks English, French, German, Swiss German, Arabic, Italian, and some Spanish.

  • …fantastic work done by producer Firdaus Kharas... to save lives around the world
    Focus
  • Discover a man determined to make the world a better place...
    Director of the documentary The Animated Activist
  • …Firdaus Kharas used talking condoms to shift global attitudes about HIV/AIDS and saved millions of lives in the process
    Reader's Digest (CA)
  • Eminent Canadian producer...
    The Times of India
  • ...he has positively influenced millions of lives
    Named one of the world's 50 Most Talented Social Innovators
  • A celebration of culture and an innovative exploration of the animated medium
    Animation Insider
  • ...one of the richest veins of culture...
    The New York Times
  • ...remarkably cross-cultural...
    The Globe and Mail
  • Ground breaking
    Africa Film & TV
  • A very powerful tool in communicating to people...
    United Nations Under-Secretary-General
  • ...a case where translation has been effectively deployed for the purposes of global social activism, and where this globalized aspect plays a more positive role than usual
    Luise von Flatow in The (Globalized) Three Amigos: Translating and Disseminating HIV/AIDS Prevention Discourse

Current Work

  • Creator and Director of Nature For All, an animated video designed to get people to interact with nature
  • Co-Creator and Director of Beyond Survival, an animated video designed to deal with the stigma of surviving Ebola
  • Co-Creator and Director of In Praise of Ebola Prevention, an animated video designed to prevent the next outbreak of Ebola
  • Co-Creator and Director of Ebola: A Poem For The Living, an animated video designed to stop the further spread of Ebola in West Africa
  • Creator of a series on the rights of children with diabetes
  • Creator of an animated series on values for young children
  • Creator of a whiteboard animated video on violence against children and young women in Malawi
  • Creator of The Solar Campaign designed to get people without electricity to switch from harmful sources of light like burning kerosene to clean solar lights
  • Director of a short documentary on women from conflict zones
  • Co-producer and Director of two animated shorts designed to encourage universal birth registration

Recent Work

  • No Excuses, an animated campaign to prevent domestic violence throughout the world (launched at the United Nations in New York, USA)
  • Producer of the iconic television series George of the Jungle (distributed by DreamWorks)
  • No Thanks, We're Fine, two behavior change videos for caregivers to people with dementia
  • Conversations About Dementia, a feature-length documentary about people caring for loved ones with dementia
  • Audio Producer for the pre-school series Ella Bella Bingo
  • A Child Without A Country: Pedro, a documentary on an unaccompanied child refugee claimant going through the Canadian refugee determination system.
  • The Three Amigos, an animated series to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS
  • Buzz and Bite, an animated series to prevent malaria infection
  • A series of individual documentaries on Canadian children at risk
  • Nan and Lili, the 300-episode first animated pre-school series in Arabic
  • Magic Cellar, the first animated series based on African culture
  • Honk, Toot and Swo-Swoosh, the early learning pre-school children’s series

Dedicated to capacity building

For over 20 years Firdaus Kharas has been committed to improving the skills of media professionals around the world sharing his expertise, pro bono, via workshops, seminars and multi-month courses particularly in Asia and Africa. Kharas’ commitment to sharing his vision and methodology also includes meeting with students, lecturing on mass communication, and speaking at children’s festivals of film and television.

Kharas’ humanitarian work in countries other than his own includes organizing and leading a multi-faceted program in South Africa to train South Africans in producing, writing and animating.  This capacity-building training aims to create a vibrant long-form animation industry capable of world-class story-telling.

  • Firdaus-Kharas-at-UN-launch-of-No-Excuses-campaign.png
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 0131
  • With-the-Peabody-Award.jpg
  • Firdaus-Kharas-with-awards.png
  • 045.1
  • Firdaus-Kharas-American-InterContinental-University-London.png
  • Firdaus-Kharas-talking-with-villagers-in-Bangladesh.png
  • Firdaus-Kharas-with-Masai-man.png
  • Firdaus-Kharas-head-shot.png
  • High rez Explaining solar energy to Masai women
  • 008
  • 007
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Firdaus-Kharas-iHeed-talk.png
  • Firdaus Kharas talking about Culture Shift
  • 006
  • 069
  • 010
  • 011
  • 071

Topics addressed

Human Rights: children's rights and gender based rights

Health: Ebola prevention, HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention; Polio eradication; clean energy, Diabetes, dementia, Vitamin A deficiency

Environment: promoting conservation, kindness to animals, fostering interaction with nature, raising awareness, climate change, water management, solar power, sustainable energy for all

Universal Values: anti-racism, gender equality, honesty, anti-bullying, cultural tolerance

Culture: the preservation of culture especially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia

Education: early childhood and middle children’s education, street children, children at risk, training in mass communications

Literacy Promotion

Governance: universal values, human rights, children's rights; rights of children with diabetes

Migration: refugees, child refugees, refugee systems

Violence: violence against children, rape within families and conflict situations, various forms of sexual abuse, using culture as a justification for violence, perceived right to commit violence within families, gender-related violence

Crisis Communications

150 countries, 188 language versions, over a billion viewers

Firdaus Kharas began creating media in 1995, founding Chocolate Moose Media, a hybrid social enterprise making for-profit television series and not-for-profit media campaigns. He also established television production companies in Canada and in Asia including partnerships with the Royal Family of Malaysia, the News Corporation and UTV of India.

To date Kharas has created, directed and produced nearly 2,500 animated behavior change communications shorts. The animations have been shown in more than 150 countries, adapted into 188 language versions, reaching more than a billion people in their own language. Wishing only to positively influence viewers, Kharas distributes his campaigns free of charge to any requester located anywhere in the world. “I’m just trying to make a small contribution”, said Kharas to the Globe and Mail.

Kharas’ firsts in long-form television include the:

  • First pre-school animated series in Arabic
  • First animated series based on African culture
  • First animated pre-school series in Holland
  • First English-language daily hour-long drama in Asia


Media

Firdaus Kharas is profiled in several publications including in Wikipedia and Canadian Who’s Who.

He has been profiled over 500 times by the world’s press, from The New Yorker, Reader's Digest, MacLean's and The Atlantic magazines to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and dozens of other media around the world in several languages. His methods, particularly his methodology of linguistic adaptation and ability to create mass communication across cultural boundaries have regularly been the subject of academic study. Kharas and his work are noted in many books and publications and his work is in the permanent collection of several museums including the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest.

Awards

Firdaus Kharas has been internationally recognized more than 80 times for his humanitarian efforts. A sample of the honors he has received includes:

  • George Foster Peabody Award (the equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize)
  • United Nations Peace Medal
  • ReelWorld Trailblazer Award
  • World's 50 Most Talented Social Innovators
  • Global Development Award
  • WAEE Award
  • End Malaria Award
  • Honorary Doctorates and Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • Honorary Fellowship
  • Golden Eagles
  • Telly Awards
  • Gold and Silver World Medals, New York Festival

A man whose work has been described as "ground breaking" (Africa Film & TV), "remarkably cross-cultural" (The Globe and Mail), and "one of the richest veins of culture" (The New York Times), Kharas is the subject of a television documentary, Firdaus Kharas: the Animated Activist (Chispa Productions).

Kharas' work has been strongly and publicly supported by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Of Kharas and his work, Archbishop Tutu has said “We need efforts like yours... a powerful communicating tool to encourage people to change their behavior... an outstanding contribution...".


Documentaries

Kharas has produced several documentaries related to human rights, in particular on children's rights.  He has also completed two behavior change films related to dementia and a documentary on a child refugee claimant.

  • Peabody-Award-023.jpg
  • Peabody-Award-015.jpg
  • 0030
  • 016
  • 015
  • 014.1
  • 2007_NY_Festivals.jpg
  • 012
  • 018
  • 066
  • 020
  • 028
  • 023
  • 024
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 074
  • 008.5
  • 025
  • 0040
  • 070

Firdaus Kharas is a renowned global speaker. Speaking engagements include:

  • TEDx talk
  • World Humanitarian Summit
  • Game-Changers Summit, USA
  • Media For Social Impact Summit, United Nations
  • Global Health and Innovation Conference, Yale University, USA
  • United Kingdom Department for International Development
  • InfoPoverty Conference at the United Nations
  • WAEE, Saudi Arabia
  • Global Mobile Health Education Conference, Ireland
  • Mobile Health Summit, South Africa
  • Children's Media Conference, England
  • Lake Geneva Innovation Society, Switzerland

Firdaus Kharas regularly sits on international juries for academies and festivals, including:

  • Head of the Animation Section Jury, Banff Television Festival
  • Head of the International Jury, Cairo International Film Festival For Children (a retrospective of his work was shown during the festival)
  • Final selection International Jury, International Emmy for the Children and Young People Programs category
  • Regional jury, International Emmy (Documentaries category)
  • Jury member, Ontario Arts Council's grants to Established and Mid-Career Professionals

  • ...his innovative work...(in) public health and children's rights in a global context        
    Honorary Doctor of Laws citation, Carleton University, Canada
  • Empathy, ambition, compassion, intelligence and determination are all traits the renowned social innovator and humanitarian, Firdaus Kharas, possesses
    CHAIM Centre
  • ...a worldwide expert on behavior change communications
    Mipcom News
  • Kharas and his team are connecting important messages with mass audiences
    New Empire Builders
  • ...one of the world's top animation producers
    Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking
  • ...Kharas’ work justly fills the void where before... there was a lack of effective strategy
    Blogcritics
  • Fully animated, with their memorable casts of animated characters and polyglot audio dubs... his public service announcements are designed for mass appeal. Enduring protagonists deliver clear messages, usually through a series of comic encounters.
    UNEarth News
  • I have to admit I was pretty skeptical that issues such as rape and verbal abuse could be turned into 30-second humor clips, but I think what Mr. Kharas has done is remarkable: he has found tasteful and informative ways to make people laugh and teach them something at the same time.
    Resilient Ambassadors of Change
  • ...deceptively lighthearted and extremely effective attack on a deadly world epidemic...
    Peabody Award citation
  • We consider Firdaus Kharas to be the modern equivalent of Dr. Seuss
    Director of the Malaria Museum
  • We did some pre-testing… and we found that the animation form… is really engaging adults into the actual message. It’s unique, it’s innovative, it’s exciting, it has an element of surprise. It’s very well produced, concise and simple and has all the elements of effective communications.
    Tommi Laulajainen, Chief, Communication for Development, UNICEF (MG) in The Animated Activist
  • Firdaus Kharas has completed several media campaigns to bring to the world’s attention some tough global issues
    IPS wire story
  • Firdaus Kharas is a world-renowned director and producer of animation, documentaries, television series and films.
    Sorbet Brut(e) International
  • We need efforts like yours... a powerful communicating tool to encourage people to change their behaviour... an outstanding contribution...
    Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Hands on, in-country

Hands on, in-country


Firdaus Kharas has been instrumental in strengthening the media industries in Holland, India, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa, by creating original television series in each of those countries and by training thousands of media professionals on his projects. Kharas has conducted in-country research for his humanitarian projects including talking to hundreds of mass rape victims, children's rights activists, torture survivors, and doctors in small villages coping with epidemics. He has visited animation studios in Asia, war zones in Central America, refugee camps in South-East Asia, and medical facilities, NGOs, and youth centers in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Kharas’ campaigns can be found in multiple languages on the internet, including on the UN's YouTube Channel. He has also appeared on television shows and radio programs in every continent.

Promoting policies of change

A member of several high level Canadian trade missions, Kharas has discussed broadcasting and content policies with foreign government Ministers and senior officials from around the world. Kharas was instrumental in impetus for film and television co-production treaties between Canada and South Africa, Singapore and India.

Education

Education


In addition to honorary doctorates, Firdaus Kharas has earned nine degrees and certificates from eight educational institutions including:

  • American University, USA
  • Carleton University (Norman Paterson School of International Affairs), Canada
  • Harvard University (Kennedy School of Government), USA
  • London School of Economics (LSE), UK
  • Stanford University (Center for Social Innovation, Graduate School of Business), USA
  • Thiel College, Pennsylvania, USA
  • University of Ottawa (MBA and Law faculties), Canada
  • Waterloo University, (School of Peace Research), Canada

Early life

Firdaus Kharas was born in Calcutta, India during its most turbulent period of social upheaval. He was first introduced to progressive causes by his mother who taught him the realities of disenfranchised people and at the age of eight was taken to Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying. Kharas’ love for creative content began as a young boy when he started writing plays and acting in school productions. Not only a creative but also an intellectual, at age 17 he was the first recipient of the Rotary Club of Bombay’s international exchange-student scholarship.

Firdaus Kharas has been a Canadian citizen for over 35 years.

Before mass media

Before mass media


Prior to his present work in media content, Firdaus Kharas was Executive Director of the United Nations Association in Canada where, for his work he was awarded a United Nations Peace Medal by then UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar. His focus then turned to refugees and he served as policy adviser to the Honourable Barbara McDougall, Canada’s Minister of Employment and Immigration, before being appointed Assistant Deputy Chairman of the Immigration and Refugee Board, where his mandate was the help clear up the backlog of more than 121,000 refugee claimants from 115 countries. In 1995 his desire to impact social problems drew him into the private sector, into media.

A published author

Kharas has published over twenty widely-distributed papers and articles on international issues such as using mass communications, disarmament, development, international finance, and strengthening the UN system. He has also consulted to global corporations and the governments of developing countries such as Togo, and wrote a widely-used manual on Canadian immigration.

  • Firdaus-Kharas.png
  • prez.jpg
  • 110
  • 0661
  • 060
  • 056
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 055
  • 053
  • 073
  • 052
  • 0041
  • IMG_1525(1)
  • 050
  • 0051
  • 3_amigos_launch.jpg
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 054
  • un5.jpg
  • 070.1
  • ...one of the world's top animation producers
    Informer
  • ...unique and inspiring individual...
    University of Nippissing's Agents of Peace
  • Known for his long track record and remarkable experience in educational animation content production...
    Oman Tribune
  • ...a new campaign by ... Kharas could reinvent the do-gooder paradigm. Kharas has understood the theory of culture shift for a long time.
    Unfolding Arts
  • Firdaus Kharas, an outstanding television and animation producer...
    From the book Creative Dissent
  • ...the internationally renowned Firdaus Kharas of Canada
    Screen Africa
  • ...Globally renowned Canadian producer Firdaus Kharas.
    http://kharas.ca/media.html
  • Firdaus Kharas used talking condoms to shift global attitudes about HIV/AIDS and saved millions of lives in the process
    Reader's Digest (CA)
  • I know you will join me... to recognize an amazing Canadian who makes us all proud of the great difference he is making in the lives of people all over the world
    Senator Mobina Jaffer in the Senate of Canada