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Seeking Refuge: Julianne’s Story

Seeking Refuge is an animated short about a young girl, Julianne, and how she reunited with her mother after a difficult migrant journey from Zimbabwe to the UK. The BBC commissioned Mosaic Films to create five films to educate people on the critical refugee crisis, especially regarding the struggles of young people. Documentary specialists, Mosaic Films, approached us at Mummu with an opportunity to get involved with one of the five inspirational refugee stories they had.

After pitching the original storybook-like style, the production team at Mummu, as well as four other animation companies, were given the opportunity to choose who’s story they would like to make. There was a clear decision for us because our Animation Director and Illustrator, Karl Hammond, had lived in South Africa as a child. Karl understood the area that Julianne grew up in, resulting in an authentic representation of the landscape. It was our intent to capture the array of textures and patterns in the bustling streets of Zimbabwe, while appealing to a young audience.

Mosaic Films provided us with a live recording of Julianne telling her story. The next six weeks consisted of storyboarding, style development, and animation to reach a final product. The design brief was fairly open, allowing the team at Mummu to create rich textures amongst abstract designs. Throughout the production, we kept in close contact with Mosaic Films. This was to ensure that the five different animations still had a unity to them.

It was an incredibly rewarding experience for the team at Mummu to work on such a relevant project. The collection of animated shorts was premiered at the MPC in London. We were able to meet Julianne and her mother, who complimented our animation, saying “it was almost like I was back there again”. Seeking Refuge is used in primary schools as a learning resource on the current refugee crisis. Not only is it used in its original animated form but also as a published book, illustrated with stills from our animation. It also won a BAFTA Children’s Award in Primary Leaning in 2012.

Created by: Mummu
Directed & Produced by: Mosaic Films
Animation Director & Illustrator: Karl Hammond
Executive Producer: Andy Glynne
Animation: Sam Atkin, Matthias Hoegg

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