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The Best Work You May Never See: Not To Scale, BBH London Team On Frances' Music Video To Combat Domestic Violence Via Refuge Charity

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Robert Goldrich
Monday, Mar. 20, 2017

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International production company Not To Scale and agency BBH London have partnered with Universal Music UK to launch a music video--to singer/songwriter Frances’ “Grow”--for domestic violence charity Refuge. Directed by Le Cube, this film follows the daily routine of an increasingly “invisible” young woman, Melanie, who is experiencing domestic violence behind closed doors and who feels that no one is there to support her, or can even see her. As the film progresses an increasingly isolated Melanie encounters a character representing Refuge, who recognizes and understands what she is going through and supports her to escape the abuse, regain her identity and rebuild her life. The film is a major prevention initiative that enables Refuge, without any media spend, to use an unexpected channel--a music video--to let young women know they’re not alone.

The film utilizes a production technique spanning both 2D and stop-frame animation, helmed by creative director Ralph Karam. The backgrounds and background characters were printed out and tracked past camera in cycles over a 10 day shoot while the main characters of Melanie, Refuge and Frances were animated 2D at both Not To Scale and Le Cube studios. The technique and stillness of background characters epitomizes the vicious cycle Melanie feels like she’s in and highlights her increasing level of isolation and invisibility while reliving the same cycle over and over again--like so many other women--everyday. When she encounters the character representing Refuge, the tone changes and immediately Melanie regains her color and vibrancy as she is given the support to break this cycle and rebuild her life.

Not To Scale founder and EP Dan O’Rourke said: “It was immediately apparent once we saw the rough script from BBH London, coupled with Frances’ powerful music that we had found a very special project, worthy of Not To Scale’s full backing and devotion. Animation was the perfect medium to tell such a delicate story and Le Cube struck upon an ingenious production technique that through it’s own cyclical device, struck a symbolic similarity with the cyclical pattern of abuse so many victims of domestic violence suffer and in so doing have created a film that is impossible to watch through, without feeling both sympathy and empathy for our main character.”

The female character is based on Melanie Clarke, a real-life Refuge client who benefited from the charity’s expert support following more than decade of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her ex-partner, whom she met when she was 14. On any given day, Refuge’s specialist services support close to 5,000 women and children like Melanie and her family.

Sensitively visualizing both Melanie’s narrative and that of Frances’ track, ‘Grow’, directors Le Cube wanted to create a visually stunning and evocative film to help raise awareness of a hugely important issue. The environment, weather, colors and people of London were meticulously researched and considered throughout, with an architect drawing models of each shopfront to truly capture the personality of the city.”

Credits

Client Refuge Agency BBH London Joe Seller, Lance Boreham, creative team; Jack Smedley, creative director; George Hackforth-Jones, creative director/executive producer; Natalie Parish, executive producer; Clay Kaytis, creative consultant; Sarah Finnigan-Walsh, producer. BBH Music Sync: TMS Black Sheep Music  Music: Frances “Grow” Production Company Not To Scale; Ralph Karam, Le Cube, director; Dan O’Rourke, Gustavo Karam, Juan Manuel Freire, exec producers; Francesca Di Muro, Mechi Serrano, Fernando Soma, producers; Sergio Slepczuk, animation director, layouts, and 2D animation; Pablo Kondratas, stop motion animation director; Ralph Karam, art director; Franco Vecchi, Juan Barabani, Martin Lara, Vanina Sáez, background design; Franco Vecchi, Martin Vinograd, Matheus Muniz, character design; Maki Yoshikura, Geoff McDowall, Robert Milne, Stephen Vuillemin, Kehinde Omisore, Cintia Czeszczewik, Martin Lara, Pablo Rago, Guadalupe Vyleta, Adriano Nízzoli, 2D animation; Julieta Culaciati, Juliana Gorgati, Julieta Soloaga, Yas Hanna, Eugenia Casal, Patricio Rey, Valentina Candia, clean up; Christian Rey Willis, 3D animation; Marilina Martignone, construction chief; Carolina Mena, Carolina Steanini, constructors; Pablo Kondratas, Gabino Calonico, stop motion animators; Juan Maglione, DP; Geronimo Gassman, electrician; Sergio Pickelny, postproduction.

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