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This Beautiful Film Captures the Heartbreak of Child Abandonment in Romania

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Agent Elson’s Tom Wilson directed the campaign for 'Hopes & Homes for Children, Romania'
This Beautiful Film Captures the Heartbreak of Child Abandonment in Romania

The main driver of child abandonment in Romania is poverty. The charity ‘Hope & Homes for Children Romania’ is working to change this, and contacted director Tom Wilson to help create their new fundraising campaign. Together with lead creative Felicia Stoica, Tom helped come up with a direction for the TVC, after discussing various different ways of telling the story. One thing was clear: they needed something powerful and emotionally engaging to bring in donations - and help people understand the causes of children being institutionalised. Children usually end up separated from their parents due to poverty, and it was critical that the TVC didn't place any shadow of blame on the parents, instead explaining the material factors that lead to families being broken up. 

Tom settled for a simple cinematic motif to connect each shot: the camera slowly moving away from the child. This aimed to be a kind of visual representation of the slow but inevitable rupture that takes place within families when children are left on their own for long and longer. Everything was shot using a single wide-angle anamorphic lens, to give the TVC a kind of childs'-eye view - a literal ‘wide-eyed’ perspective on the world - a look compounded by the gently observational gimbal camerawork. Doors and doorways were also used as a visual theme. The TVC begins with the child performing adult tasks, waiting for his mother, and ends with the sudden but barely perceptible shift to the orphanage or institution, again a visual representation of the tragic inevitability of institutionalisation in such situations.

Together with DP Bogdan Filip, Tom created a look that harks back to classic Russian cinema (Tarkovsk, Vadim Yusov) that worked with the Romanian rural setting and helped underline the bleakness of the orphanage in the final shot.

"It's always amazing to get social projects to direct," explained Tom, "and even more amazing when you have the freedom to come up with different ideas and approaches together with someone like Felicia."

Tom has a long background of shooting in rural Romania - his feature film "Matthew Mark Luke John" (nominated for a prize at Raindance 2019) was shot in a Romani village, where Tom lived and even taught in order to get to know the community better. He's also shot films about social issues in rural villages for the BBC, and has created campaigns for Romanian charities such as Ovidiu Ro. 

"The heartbreaking thing when you visit these villages is the children," Tom explained. "They're so full of life and excitement and potential. And yet you know that if you come back in a few years, they'll be stuck exactly where their parents are - struggling to cover basic necessities. Organisations like Home and Homes are working to break this cycle."

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Director: Tom Wilson

DOP: Bogdan Filip

Lead Creative: Felicia Stoica

Edit: Bogdan Orcula

Sound Design: Ina Bozdog

Post-Production Co-ordinator: Mihnea Trancu

Wardrobe & set: Retrofuture

Make-up & hair: Andreea Lupu

1st AD: Andreea Raducanu

Talent: Petru Calin


Production: Studioset

Executive Producer: Adrian Smarandache

Producer: Sorin Baican

UPM: Anca Bogos

Colour Grade:

UK Rep: Agent Elson

Genres: People, Storytelling, Dialogue

Categories: Charity, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Agent Elson, Mon, 19 Oct 2020 16:06:10 GMT