Monday, June 15, 2015
'Needlecraft' FGM Awareness Short Film Released (Updated)
During most of my twelve year stint at TANDEM Films (2002-2014) I worked on many television commercials and promo films in the service of all manner of products and services. I often worked on ads for breakfast cereals, fruit-based drinks, travel websites and even once a TV-based dating service, but towards the end of my time there, an altogether different project came in... Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM) could perhaps be on of the most difficult and complex issues of any that one could ever imagine making a short film about. Ruth Beni of Animage Films had previously made several pioneering short films using animation to bring attention to important social issues and campaigns. Ruth's idea was to make a film that principally could be shown to school-age children to raise the issue of FGM, promote awareness and further discussion as well as provide links to supportive agencies working in the area. One of the main areas of concern was the extent to which the practice of FGM can happen within 'diaspora' communities, even after migrating from the countries where the practice is known to be most prevalent. Ruth had worked with TANDEM Films before and approached Director Daniel Greaves to help put-together the short film. Dan pulled-together a small team at TANDEM to work on the project, and I was fortunate enough to be called-on to animate,composite and edit the piece. Ruth and Daniel especially wanted to achieve a 'hand-stitched' aesthetic for the film. So in as much as would be possible they wanted to create the work using 'practical' (hand-made) techniques. A small team of embroiderers and artworkers were called-on to craft most of the artwork. Stop-motion animator Tobias Fouracre came in to animate as much as possible in-camera using traditional techniques. There was also a live-action shoot required too, bringing-in DOP Simon Paul to light and shoot. Due to the many complexities of making such a film, the production period was fairly extended and there has been quite a few months passed before the film could be released, but I'm pleased to say that 'Needlecraft' has finally been officially published online. Although it's been almost a year since the TANDEM Studio has closed its doors, I hope at least this work we did there will go on to to have at least some ongoing positive influence in the world at large ... And now Ruth Beni has posted a short making-of video about the 'Needlecraft' project on her Animage Vimeo page. I think this shows quite nicely the craft and effort that went into this production.