Seeking Refuge: “Please Don’t Let Me Go” Animated Documentary
Seeking Refuge: “Please Don’t Let Me Go” Animated Documentary

Seeking Refuge: “Please Don’t Let Me Go” Animated Documentary

This short animated documentary, "Please Don't Let Me Go" tells the story of Juliane's journey from Zimbabwe, as part of the award-winning BBC series, Seeking Refuge.

Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme to promote better understanding of why people seek sanctuary in the UK. As part of this awareness week, the BBC commissioned a series of animated documentaries exploring the experiences of young refugees.

Using the testimonies of five children, the series - Seeking Refuge - was designed to offer a unique insight into the lives of young people who have sought refuge in the UK. By exploring themes, such as separation and adapting to a new life, the series aims to educate younger viewers on moral, social and cultural issues.

Mosaic Films, specialists in compelling documentaries, were responsible for producing the series of animations. Director, Andy Glynne approached Mummu to visually tell the story of 12 year old Juliane and her journey from Zimbabwe.

In her testimony, Juliane describes her experience in a Zimbabwean orphanage before being reunited with her mother. However, after escaping together to the UK, Juliane continues to suffer from the effects of being separated from her mother at a young age. She describes the impact of being separated, and how the support she now receives from her school is helping her to move on.

Our team, Animation Director Karl Hammond with Assistants, Matthias Hoegg and Emily Lay, understood the challenge of presenting a sensitive issue while maintaining accessibility to younger viewers. It was important for the animated documentary to emphasise the reality of Juliane's plight and immerse the viewer in her experience.

We began development with extensive research and understanding of the culture, environments and circumstances Juliane encountered. This information was used to create a style driven by texture, pattern and colour to effectively communicate Juliane's youthfulness with the troubles she was facing.

At the first screening of Juliane's story - also known as "Please Don't Let Me Go" - we were very fortunate to meet Juliane and her mother, who commented on the sense of reality and how the animation enabled them to reminisce on their experiences.

The Seeking Refuge series first broadcast on the Learning Zone on BBC2 in June 2012; the series was a key part of Refugee Week, with screenings in schools across the UK. They were also selected for screening at International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and the St. Louis International Film Festival in Missouri.

We were delighted that "Please Don't Let Me Go" and the Seeking Refuge series received a very positive response, with hundreds of shares on social media and press coverage. The series was awarded a British Academy Children's Award (BAFTA) in the Learning-Primary category.

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