This animated short film tells a moving story of domestic violence for Refuge

Not to Scale London, Le Cube and BBH London have collaborated together on a stop-frame animation for domestic violence charity Refuge.

The four-minute film will also be used at the music video for the film's track - Grow - by UK music artist Frances. The film was co-funded by all parties to raise awareness of domestic violence.

It follows the narrative of an increasingly ‘invisible’ young woman who feels unnoticed and unsupported whilst in an abusive relationship. A Refuge representative enters Melanie's life and helps her to escape the abuse, regain her identity and rebuild her life.

The character is based on Melanie Clarke, a Refuge client - one of the 5,000 women and children the charity supports. The background London environment and background characters were printed out and tracked past a camera in cycles over a 10-day shoot.

The main characters were animated in 2D both by creative studio's Not to Scale and Le Cube, helmed by Le Cube’s creative director Ralph Karam. BBH London wrote the initial script. Le Cube seeks out one charity project each year, and at the end of last year Not To Scale briefed their directors Le Cube about a the script from BBH London to create a music video for Frances in partnership with Refuge and Universal Music UK.

Le Cube says the creative concept included making Melanie physically transparent to reflect feeling of being unnoticed, creating the background in still illustrations to show how detached she was, and to tell the story in cycles to reflect the vicious cycle that can take place with domestic violence. Melanie, the character ,was entirely animated in cel-animation.

“It was important for us that the story looked and felt like a metaphor; an abstraction but without losing its human touch,” says Gustavo Karam from Le Cube. “For this reason we chose 2D animation, exploring the craft and humanity within the technique.”

“We needed to be able to control the mood of each scene, using these backgrounds as support. Lighting and texture were also very important tools. It goes without saying that the whole process of illustrating London – the mood, weather, colours and even people – was a pretty awesome experience.

"For the houses and shops we worked with an architect who did research on the the aesthetics and drew models of the structures to be used as a basis for the illustrations.”

Le Cube is an animation studio based in South America. Not to Scale is an animation production company based in London that works alongside agencies, channels and brands. 

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