Every child deserves a superhero

Journeying across three continents a documentary crew travel from the dust filled streets of Chiapas, Mexico to the cramped slums of Delhi, India and onto the vast maize fields of Nairobi, Kenya. Along the away they hear strange accounts from children who tell of visiting superheroes.

This was an undertaking of epic proportions. We were tasked by Agency Don’t Panic, production company Unit9 and charity Save the Children to raise awareness for the millions of children struggling to survive around the world. The goal was to create an 'on the fly' documentary set over three countries with some of the toughest living conditions for children. The ‘superheroes’ however are not the tight and cape wearing variety but real heroes, killing Malaria carrying mosquitoes and bringing clean water to dehydrated children.

This was one of our most ambitious undertakings and had to be turned around incredibly fast. We traveled to three countries on opposite sides of the globe in just one week. We ended up just ignoring what timezone we were in, it was a race against time to get the footage in the can and move onto the next location. The core of the film was the imagination of the children. It was important that we only planted the seed of a story in their minds, and then let them run away with that story in the way only a child can. Much of the time they were writing the script for us.

The cultural contrast was apparent from the outset. In Mexico they have no concept of ‘superheroes’ in the way we do. It was a challenging exercise to find new ways of describing superhero like powers and in turn, translating them onto screen. 

We were not in each location for long so it was about getting an ‘on the fly’ documentary feel while capturing the iconic elements of each landscape. The landscape in each country was so photogenic that it was a constant battle to steer away from nicely composed, well lit shots and stay in keeping with the run and gun documentary film style that you see in the finished cut.

The film was very well received, with prominent features on Time Magazine, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Adweek, Brand Republic and The Drum. 

Comment