A £30,000 crowdfunding campaign has been launched to pay for the completion of an animated film designed to combat racism.
The making of the film has involved 40 black and brown children, aged seven to 18, who have grown up in Cumbria and is based on their real-life experiences of racism and their hopes for the future.
The campaign has the backing of British TV presenter Nigel Clarke best known for hosting Cbeebies’ Baby Club, co-hosted a premier of the part-completed film at Brewery Arts in Kendal on Friday (April 1).
The film is a project run by Anti Racist Cumbria (ARC), but Mr Clarke said he would try to get the film distributed across the world.
He said he was supporting ARC as it was addressing issues that needed raising nationwide.
“This is the first organisation in the country that I have seen as doing something that makes such a big difference.
“And I have taken an executive producer role on the film because, as someone who works in the media, I can help them get it in front of the right people.”
Lou Kneath, chief executive officer of +3K Animation, who are guiding the process and making the film, said the 13-minute film has so far taken 18-months, during the pandemic, to reach about two thirds through the production process.
It is now at the animatic stage, with sketches, and needed £30,000 in the next 30 days, to be completed to Hollywood standard animation in six months.
The packed Brewery Arts theatre, which holds 250 people, gave the film, and the children involved, a standing ovation after the screening.
Donations poured in as soon as the crowd-funder was launched, with more than £1,000 raised within minutes.
The evening was kicked off by a powerful rendition of Labi Siffre’s ‘Something Inside So Strong’, sung by the Anti Racist Cumbria choir led by Ella Jarman-Pinto, from Penrith, who is the composer on the film.
The audience then heard more about the creation of the film and how important the Animated Future group has been for young people and mentors alike.
The title is inspired by “The Hill We Climb” written by American poet Amanda Gorman and recited by her at the inauguration of Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021.
“In Cumbria, we don’t have hills, we have fells,” said Farisa, age 9 from Windermere.
A highlight of the premiere evening was the reading of another poem written by Guiliana, age 9 also from Windermere, about how hair is a sensitive issue for young black and brown people.
‘The Fell We Climb’ follows some of the life of the star character Hamira as she navigates experiences of racism in Cumbria.
Once completed the film will be offered for showing in schools, cinemas and other venues, initially across Cumbria, but then wider afield.
Anti Racist Cumbria is a registered charity which aims to make Cumbria the UK’s first anti-racist county. Co-founder an chief executive, Janett Walker, said the youngsters had created the story for the film by telling their own stories.
“The film sends the message that racism exists. Through education and hearing people’s life experiences, people can understand racism better and start to learn what Anti-Racism means, so we can all start on our own anti-racism journeys,” she said.
“Through mentorship, animation and storytelling these young people share their hopes for the future.
“They have been busy for the last 18 months not only making friends and supporting each other, but also learning new artistic, digital, and creative skills as they develop and bring to life the storyline, plot and characters for their film ‘The Fell We Climb’.
“The film isn’t quite finished and we need to raise £30,000 in 30 days make it happen!”
To contribute go to Crowdfunder https://antiracistcumbria.org/the-fell-we-climb-crowdfunder/