War Child UK is breaking new ground and challenging the conversation around the mental health and well-being of children affected by war with the release of its newest video.
The film, produced by Raw London, highlights the important issue of the strain that conflict can have on the mental health of children who have been affected by war, long after they have left the actual war zone. It is part of War Child’s wider work prioritising the provision of mental health and psychosocial services for children affect by conflict, and their communities.
There were many challenges involved in creating this film. Thomas Paul Martin, Director and Producer at Raw London, explains; “War Child wanted to make a film about the invisible wounds of war. But how do you visually represent something that is unseen? It was vital to work closely with the client and child psychologists to come up with a concept that would be emotionally impactful, while also not misrepresentative.”
The result is a hard-hitting film which follows a small robot struggling to fit into everyday life; failing to bond with its mother, being withdrawn and struggling to make friends at school, having problems with studying and suffering from flashbacks of traumatic memories in a war zone – all to the upbeat soundtrack of the Marina and the Diamonds track I am Not a Robot.
Dave O’Carroll, Head of Content at War Child UK, said; “We’re really proud to have told an engaging story about a very difficult and complicated subject in two minutes without compromising on the integrity of the script, without dumbing down or making things up. It’s creative and interesting but is infused with truth.”
The film has already been featured on multiple online publications, including Third Sector and Campaign Live, and the responses on social media have been universally positive – from other sector professionals, other charities, brand creatives and the general public.
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This isn’t the first experimental film for War Child. In fact, the charity are known for creating anything but typical charity ads. The Guardian named Duty of Care one of the best charity videos of 2015, while the brilliant Batman won Gold at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and the extremely coveted Golden Radiator in 2017. It was important that this film continued in this vein, so finding the right agency partner was vital. Dave O’Carroll said; “The Raw London team had a real enthusiasm for our work and a strong sense of how we could develop their idea into a wider campaign. Their grasp of the issue was strong and it just felt like the right fit for us.”
Little Black Book have affirmed that the film is “yet another move by War Child to move away from clichéd and disempowering aid videos and instead produce thought-provoking and respectful videos and campaigns”. Silent Boom also agrees that it “navigates away from the cliché tragic imagery of the scenes that cause trauma, typical of charity ads, but still manages to gently explain how these experiences can leave a lasting impact on young people.”