World Children’s Day - Reimagining the pandemic!
A day to reimagine a better future for every child
Children are often bound to act and think in a certain way, but when they are given the opportunity to express freely, they unleash limitless creativity. Since the future depends on young people, it is important to embrace their voices and help them expose their potential. World Children’s day is celebrated every year with the purpose of promoting togetherness and imagining a better world for children, by children.
In celebration of the international event that takes place on the 20th of November, we wanted to give children the chance to voice their imagination with no boundaries, so we worked on a creative concept visualising this idea and decided to pitch it to UNICEF Egypt.
At first, the creative team came up with a set of questions that will allow viewers to take a deeper look on children’s perceptions and imagination. We wanted to ask the kids about abstract concepts such as love, happiness, dreams.., aiming to gather their answers in a video that shows the world through their own pure eyes. We called for a meeting with UNICEF and pitched our simple, yet very emotional idea; and without so many pitching lines, they liked the idea. However, due to the pandemic, they shifted our attention to a different direction to make this whole concept Covid-related, and we made it happen.
Living through a pandemic
2020 was an exceptional year, living through a pandemic isn’t something one does every day, it’s hard and new to everyone, particularly to children. They have a lot to process, from understanding what the virus is, to having to stay in for days and even months away from school, friends and their normal lives.
By focusing on the pandemic effect, we decided to hold a social experiment, where we arranged an interview setting to ask kids questions about Covid-19 and their time at home. We gave them a blank paper and some colors to sketch and paint their own perception of what Covid-19 is. Children often lack the words to express their spectrum of emotions, that’s why we decided to let them express it in sketches done by their own hands from their own imagination.
In order to express the children’s playfulness and energy, Basel Ayman, the art director, designed a colorful set using bright colors and elements to complement the kids’ cheerful nature. Placed in a playground-like setting where the kids felt familiarity and belonging, they sat down together and let their imaginations flow.
The stylist, Maram Elbanna, also followed the same direction with matching light colored outfits to reflect the children’s energy and purity.
When it was time to start rolling, we started with individual interviews. We had a set of questions related to Covid-19 to ask the kids. We began by asking them what they know about it, how they can protect themselves against it and how they can help diminish it if they had a certain superpower. Then, we moved on to asking them about the effect this pandemic had on their daily lives, what they learnt at home and how they spent their time in quarantine. We wanted to wrap the questions up by asking them if Covid-19 was a person, how it would look like, and we got the most imaginative answers that opened our eyes to a fresh perspective; one filled with innocence and creativity.
As a part of the experiment, we left them to draw their imagination to what their answers would have been if they were drawings. They spent time on their own, expressing using colors with no limitations. By the end of the experiment, every child held their drawing in front of the camera, then headed to a big, empty wall where they all hung their work next to each other. It was heartwarming to see how supportive the kids were, they were all complementing each other and discussing what they drew in the most wholesome way!
One of the main challenges we had to face on set was directing the children. Before shooting, the director, Mohamed Elwy, had to find ways to break the ice with them, to make them feel comfortable in front of the camera. Some kids are always more responsive than others, younger ages are often the hardest, but the process of befriending them until they feel at ease is invariably fun and the genuine reactions we eventually get from them on camera are absolutely worth it!
Our first interviewee was Lara; the youngest one in the video. She was adorable and extremely comfortable until she was put in front of the camera, she completely froze. We couldn’t get the desired responses nor reactions, she only nodded to most of the questions and we could feel how scared she was. After multiple trials, the client requested that we move forward with the next interview and try to loosen her up off camera, we then spent a good amount of time playing with her on set hoping this would eventually help. The interviews that followed were thankfully a success, we got the spontaneous reactions we needed and some unexpected answers that made us laugh our hearts out. By the end of all the interviews, we still had to try again with Lara, to our surprise, this time, she was extremely comfortable and gave the purest answers. One thing we will never forget is how she expressed that she wanted to be Elsa from the movie Frozen to freeze the virus and kill it.
After we finished shooting on the 16th of November, we only had 3 days to deliver the final cut to UNICEF so that they can publish it on World Children’s day on the 20th. With such a tight schedule, our editor Aly Dahawy, immediately took the footage and started working on it. After finishing the first rough cut, he amended some things according to the client’s feedback, added the final touches, managed to finish it all on time and the video was ready to go.
We, at Flink Studios, certainly love to be a part of leaving a positive mark. One of our main goals is using our storytelling skills to make a beneficial impact on children and society, and serve important causes. With UNICEF being one of our main and constant clients, they always make this a reality for us and we couldn’t be more grateful.
People Behind It!
Director: Mohamed Elwy
Creative Team: Sara Adel, Farah Elhefny, Shahd Tarek
DOP: Marwan Zakria El-Kady
Camera & Assist: Yossef Eldaw
Gaffer: Mohamed Ammar
Art Director: Basel Ayman
Assistant Art Director: Mariam Hassaan
Line Producer: Ahmad Abdullah
Production Manager: Hadi Hamed
Production Team: Mostafa Gamal Elsayed, Mohand Hamed, Eslam Maro, Abd El Rahman, Shehab El Hosiny
Prop Master: على الزهار
Stylist: Maram El-banna
Editor / Colorist: Aly Amr Dahawy
Sound Assistant: Mohamed Ezz