This Award-winning film sensitively raises awareness about the trafficking of vulnerable young people in North America.
Director Manddy Wykens handled this difficult subject with great empathy and care, and her response is both elegant and bold; pairing seemingly effortlessly drawn figures against striking block colour backgrounds.
Commissioned by Ohio agency Catbird, the film is shared by Bellefaire JCB, through educational programming delivered in schools to children aged 11 to 18. The brief from Catbird was to tell the story of a victim of trafficking, and character design was to play an integral part in engaging young people, so they relate to the issues.
The character’s fluid performances were animated by hand in TV Paint and After Effects and the environments that both entrance and ensnare the protagonist evoke the trials of the abusive relationships in which the trafficked victims often find themselves.
Manddy says of the film:
“Bellefaire was a singularly beautiful project. The most challenging part was figuring out how to represent complex notions; depersonalisation, isolation and entrapment, while staying relatable for teenagers who might be facing those situations. We relied a lot on visually impactful colours to convey the fluctuating feelings of happiness, uneasiness, fear and hopelessness that represents the emotional journey of the victims. The client guided us on real-life experiences and how to best to depict them, and I hope that visually the viewer experiences the emotion and empathy in this film”
Catbird creative directors Kevin Floyd and Paul Forsyth on the film:
“Manddy and Studio AKA did a wonderful job of delicately telling a story of vulnerability while doing it in a way that both educates and empowers our audience. Our hope is that this piece raises awareness for a growing issue not only in Northeast Ohio but across the globe. Ultimately, helping Bellefaire JCB in their ongoing fight to end trafficking.”
Director Manddy Wyckens has been recognised by the Communication Arts Annual, for this stunning work, as ‘an example of the best illustration work in the animation category. To garner recognition at this level is outstanding. Out of 4,000+ submissions, only 128 projects were selected.