Earlier this year we were contacted by The Brighter Futures for Children team based in Reading. The children they worked with wanted to produce a film which told their story and encouraged other children who might be starting their journey in care.

We really felt it would be the authenticity of these children’s actual words and stories which would resonate with other children in similar situations. To best facilitate this, while maintaining their anonymity, we decided to combine their spoken word with their creativity. With the help of some generous art and craft donations from Marby and Elm and Great Art, we set up our very own art studio at TellyJuice Towers. It was there that the TJ team and an amazing group of kids began bringing their stories to life.

Last week the film had its premiere as part of Reading Fringe Festival and Producer Maddie and Creative Harry introduced the film at the event. We asked them a few questions about the project when they got back to the office…

Why did you decide on the route of using art and videos to tell the story?

Harry said…

Due to the fact that the kids needed to remain anonymous, we had to think of ways we could show emotion without showing their faces. Their words were so powerful anyway, I thought it was important to focus on them.

This route gave the young people a platform to express themselves in whichever way they needed to without any fear of judgement and would allow the audience to really focus on their words and their art.

How did you get the young people to tell their story in their own words?

Harry said…

Speaking from experience, I know that expressing yourself isn’t always the easiest thing – especially when you’ve got a load of bright lights and a camera shoved in front of your face!

By getting the young people involved in a day of arts and crafts, they could do whatever they wanted to express how they felt during their journey through care, and we filmed them along the way. It also meant that if they didn’t want to be interviewed or couldn’t find the words, they could just draw.

Their art was the key to this, I think. Being interviewed can be pretty scary and I thought that arts and crafts would be a great way for them to channel their emotions, and also to distract them from the cameras too. We wanted them to feel as relaxed as possible in that situation.

How was the film’s premiere and what has the feedback been so far?

Maddie said…

It was brilliant to see the young people involved in something so creative. Seeing everyone gather together from the council staff to the social workers, foster carers and the young people themselves, it was a great way to celebrate the care system and the young people’s achievements. The feedback has been brilliant from all sides. As well as fulfilling the brief of the young pepole, the film will be used to train social workers and in recruitment for foster carers.

TellyJuice loved being part of this project and the feedback from the charity has been great too

“Working with TellyJuice has been brilliant. From the outset they kept the children and young people at the heart of everything they did. They were able to transform the young people’s ideas into reality and all the time were sensitive and appreciative of their need for anonymity. Thank you to the kindness of the team at TellyJuice. Making the film will be something the young people will remember for a long time and will be able to look back on with fond memories. This has been an incredibly valuable experience for the young people.

The film TellyJuice has created will now go on to help children and young people going into care. It will have a huge impact on how care is viewed and will hopefully pave the way for less anxiety, making the care experience a more positive one.

Everyone at Brighter Futures for Children can’t thank TellyJuice enough for making the magic happen for our children and young people. Thank you to a great team!”

– Catie, Children in Care Participation Officer

The film is now available to watch here!