School is a magical place, if you are lucky enough to go.
Interview with Director Raj Yagnik
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I have worked on many films highlighting the value of education which is taken for granted in richer countries. It is heart-breaking to visit areas where children are desperate to learn and have no opportunity. In South Sudan less than half of the children will ever go to school. Apart from this, it was a commission for UNICEF.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I hope you’ll enjoy it. It’s less than 2.5 minutes long. You might learn something. You’ll see a little bit of what life is like for a 12-year-old in South Sudan.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I hope that people will relate to the children on a personal level, and their aspirations on a universal level.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
We had to cut down the scope of the script when the duration of the shoot was halved to 4 days due to security concerns. During this time we were confined to the hotel in the capital, Juba. There we had to decide how to make the film work. We cut the script a little, but we mainly sacrificed time that we would have normally worked with the actors. We were lucky to get all of our shots, but sacrificed making a better connection with the children we worked with. The shoot was less fun than it could have been
.What type of feedback have you received so far?
Very good. The film has played in a couple of festivals in China and won a prize. Hopefully this is the start of its festival run.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
No. We wanted to make a very accessible film.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We would like the film to be very widely seen. I hope people will share the film, support education initiatives, and donate to UNICEF.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Festivals Directors should contact me if they want to show the film. Journalists could do more to keep the ongoing conflict in South Sudan in the news.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Obviously I’d like it to result in change, but all change in development is slow and incremental. I hope people will support UNICEF, donate and advocate for them.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How can a country develop and have a peaceful future without education? South Sudan isn’t alone. Look at the conflict zones where education has been disrupted and ask yourself what will we reap if we do not help these countries thrive.
Would you like to add anything else?
The area where we filmed is now in active conflict, The school in Ayii is currently closed. I have not been able to get any information about the well-being of those children who featured in the film.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We’re making an animated film about children crossing front lines to take their exams in Syria. It is using mixed animation styles, with motion capture and an environment made from exam papers.
Interview: January 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
A MAGICAL PLACE
SCHOOL IS A MAGICAL PLACE, IF YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GO
Length: 2 minutes 23 seconds
Director: Raj Yagnik
Producer: Raj Yagnik
Writer: Raj Yagnik / Shona Hamilton
About the writer, director and producer:
Raj Yagnik has produced and directed over a 100 films for charities, broadcasters though his company Wiredvideo.net. He lives in London, works internationally and is frequently an idiot.
Shona Hamilton is a multi-skilled film-maker who has worked for many years in development. She is best known as co-director of "Because I Am A Girl” promo for Plan International
.Key cast: Eunice Aber Betty, Otii Nelson Ochola
Made in association with: UNICEF