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The Napo Story

The origins of Napo

Napo is an original idea conceived by a small group of OSH communications professionals in response to the need for high quality information products to break down national boundaries and address the diverse cultures, languages and practical needs of people at work. The films are not designed to provide comprehensive coverage of a topic, nor should they be seen as training or teaching films. The role of Napo and his friends is to provide an appetiser to OSH through their engaging characters, amusing story lines, and their humorous and light-hearted approach. “Safety with a smile” is Napo’s contribution to safer, healthier and better workplaces. Each film is co-produced by a number of European Institutions. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao, Spain has funded the development of the website.


The Napo Film Consortium emerged from the European Year of Safety and Health 1992/3, and European Film Festivals organised by the European Commission.

The Commission supported Film Festivals in the belief that it was possible to identify and adapt the best films for use throughout the European Union. This proved difficult. Many films were made by commercial production companies unwilling to give up their rights. Cultural differences meant that images, storylines and the ‘look and feel’ made it difficult to adapt and transfer films across national boundaries.

Following the Film Festival in Strasbourg in 1995, four active communications professionals from France, Germany, Sweden and the UK met to discuss ways in which it might be possible to commission and produce a film for use throughout Europe.

The Napo Consortium currently comprises the following members: AUVA (Austria), CIOP (Poland), DGUV (Germany), EU-OSHA (Bilbao, Spain), INAIL (Italy), INRS (France) and TNO (Netherlands).

The creation team

Napo films are written and directed by Eric Scandella for Via Storia

3D animation is produced by Fabrice Barbey for Protozoaire

The original music is composed by Henri Muller.

The birth of Napo

The Group put together a proposal, a specification and an Invitation to Tender to produce a video about safety signs, and identified two production companies from their own country who were invited to put forward a treatment. Via Storia, a French company from Strasbourg, won the contract. Napo was born!

The first video, Best Signs Story, featured at the EU Film Festival in Edinburgh in 1998, and won awards at the World Congress in Sao Paulo in 1999, and at national film festivals in France and Germany.

In 2003, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in Bilbao expressed interest in a third video to support the European Week and its theme of Dangerous Substances. An agreement was reached with the Consortium to enable the Agency to supply master copies of the video to all member states, candidate and EFTA countries with clear provisions on non-exclusive use, rights and costs. This collaboration has continued.