Animation film project: Immigration stories

February 23, 2023

Immigration stories

Lili Kaddish recounts her role in this powerful and moving animation project at JCoSS

Between September 2022 and February 2023, I was lucky enough to be involved in making a short film exploring what immigration is all about.

According to a Migration Policy Institute report it was estimated that in 2020 there were a staggering 280 million global migrants.

What is immigration?
Immigration is when someone moves from their home country to a new country or region. People may need to move for difficult reasons; to escape war, poor living conditions, domestic violence or to reunite with family.

There were seven of us from years Eight and Nine involved in the project and initially we shared ideas and opinions about the immigration stories we found online. Then we divided up into three groups each telling a separate story.

The story that grabbed my group’s attention was about a young woman who illegally moved from Mexico to Arizona at 15, but soon after getting married, was arrested and threatened with deportation.

We were incredibly lucky to have the support of a professional special effects (SFX) animator and film-maker

We each took responsibility for different tasks, selecting images from the internet, gathering statistics and collecting powerful headlines. We worked well as a team and managed to meet deadlines. Getting everything together was hard as we only had two lessons a fortnight.

However, we had three amazing teachers to support us. It was a privilege to work with teachers from different key stages.

Mr Gunessee, a sociology teacher, helped us plan our initial ideas to figure out the story and then helped us edit the script. For a couple of lessons, we had Dr Socrates, a film and media teacher, who helped us with media research and creating our story board. I found this part tough – getting the shots, angles, and speech together.

Additionally, we were incredibly lucky to have the support of a professional special effects (SFX) animator and film-maker, Ross Edwards from Shooting Stories. He took time out of his day to come to our school to help us with the recording, editing and visuals. Ross helped us make this project look the best it could.

The lesson I found most confusing was when we had to edit our story down to two minutes. There was so much to tell, our group struggled a little bit, but we selected the most important parts and started cutting it down to time.

This project has made me realise how hard it can be for people trying to make a new life in a foreign country

After we finalised the edited story, we recorded the voice over in a quiet place. This took a while and, after getting over the giggles, we managed it! Narrating a story isn’t easy. As nobody could see our faces, we had to portray emotions solely through our speech. We learnt how to use different tones in our voice.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of learning about the pros and cons of immigration through all the different stories and research I have read. I liked how we did something different every session and how each step brought us closer to the final film.

This project has made me realise how hard it can be for people trying to make a new life in a foreign country.

It wasn’t the easiest project but it was so interesting and I learnt so much. I would definitely get involved again. Next time I would search deeper into statistics and find ways to fit more into the final film.

I’m really proud of the work we all created. Big congrats to all my teammates; Maya Cohen, Naomi Wilson Smith, Daniel Bozo, Asaf Ableman, Charlie Solomons, Curtis Epstein-Richmond. Thank you to Ross Edwards and to all the teachers that made this project possible.

Lili is a Year 9 student at JCoSS currently choosing her GCSE options. She is thinking of taking Drama, Modern Hebrew and Sociology and is very excited to study these subjects further. In her free time, Lili likes to play guitar, socialising with her friends as well as writing poetry.

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