Home: A short film for Refugee Week

17 Jun 2024

10 mins
Home (by Aardman and Save the Children)
Home (by Aardman and Save the Children)

Refugee Week (17-23 June) is the world's largest arts & culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

The theme for this year's week is Our HomeAs the Refugee Week website explains: "Home can be a place of refuge, a feeling or a state of mind. It can be found in smells, tastes and sounds. From the clothes we wear to the words we grew up with. It's in food, music and arts. It's in our cultures and in our landscapes."

As horrifying conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine continue to dominate the headlines, displacing huge numbers of people, this year's theme asks: What would happen if we extended our warmth and hospitality beyond our own homes and made entire neighbourhoods more welcoming? Simple acts like having a chat, walking together, or sending a message of welcome can help everyone feel like they belong.

In 2022, Aardman and international children's charity Save the Children released Home, a short film that highlights the experiences of refugee children around the world, making it the perfect accompaniment to this year's Refugee Week theme. We're proud to house such an important and accessible film on Into Film+, and back in 2022 we spoke to Aardman and Save the Children to find out more about how the film came into being.

How did the idea for Home and this collaboration come together?

Aardman: As an Employee Owned studio, we felt compelled to respond to the conflict in Ukraine and the refugee crisis. We wanted to use our storytelling expertise to create a short film which would address a genuine need. This required support from the experts at Save the Children who worked with us to define the brief for our creative team. Together, we developed the idea for a short film that would help children to understand what it means to be a refugee and how they can show kindness to someone who has had to leave their home and make a new life in an unfamiliar country, where they may not understand the language, the rules or the customs.

Save the Children: Aardman approached us at Save the Children because they felt passionate about supporting our Ukraine response. There was a personal connection, as one of their production partners, Glowberry - who create the Brave Bunnies series - is based in Ukraine. After hearing the stories of refugee children around the world, Aardman became determined to represent the experience of child refugees everywhere.

We were really excited about collaborating with such a talented team to create an important piece of communication to share with children globally. Inspired by real-life experiences of children that Save the Children works with, Home tells a story about how child refugees feel and what it's like to be separated from friends, family, and school in a new and unfamiliar setting.

How was the film itself created?

Aardman: Home is a 2D animated film was directed by Peter Peake and produced by Stephanie Miller at Aardman's studio over the summer of 2022. Aardman engaged a few of our directing talent to come up with short film concepts and were overwhelmed by the quality and sensitivity of the ideas. We chose Peter's because his concept transcended language barriers. The short film shows how we can extend a hand of friendship to people who find themselves in a strange new place and how much richer our world can be when everyone is welcome.

Why do you think film and animation are perfect for exploring sensitive subjects like this?

Aardman: Animation is an amazing medium for expressing ideas and messages that would otherwise be difficult to communicate. Subjects such as war and displaced families are difficult to relate to, especially for kids, but we really believe that animation can make these subjects more accessible and understandable, for everyone. Short film is a great way of telling a story and it's also easier to distribute and reach as many people as we can. This was really important to the project.

How do you hope Home will be used in the classroom?

Aardman: It is often difficult to talk about things that are happening internationally and to make these things relatable. We were keen to support Save the Children in growing awareness for the refugee crisis but also helping kids understand what it must be like being a refugee, especially as kids in our schools all around the country are the ones welcoming people from other cultures, into their schools and communities.

Save the Children: We hope this beautifully crafted short film can be used to start a conversation with young children about what it might feel like to be a refugee and the positives of welcoming new refugee friends. We also want the story to provide refugee children settling in the UK with comfort and hope that although a new place to live can be daunting, in time, it really can become 'home'.

We are thrilled that through Into Film+ this moving film and its important messages will be able to reach so many and encourage children to welcome new pupils into their classroom, whatever their background. Aardman is famed for telling rich and inclusive stories without using dialogue, which means that this film can resonate with children and adults of all ages, everywhere.

By teaming up with Into Film, we hope to amplify the stories of real children, raise awareness of the charity's life-changing work to support them right now, and ultimately shape a brighter world that's home for everyone.

What do you hope teachers and young people take away from the film?

Save the Children: We hope that the film will foster an understanding about what it's like to arrive in a new place where everything is different. At first, the new language, the new food and the new culture can be unsettling and overwhelming to a child, which is why it's so important to reach out and welcome refugee children and make them feel included. We hope children all over the UK will be encouraged to forge new friendships and enjoy learning about different cultures.

More resources for Refugee Week

Our dedicated Refugees and Migration page houses many of our most relevant films, resources and articles around this subject. Of particular relevance are our Doc Academy resources around the film Exodus, which includes a Forced Migration Toolkit to help students reflect on and discuss issues around refugees, whilst also inspiring them to learn about and engage with social action and advocacy.

How Do I Get Started?

To access Into Film+, all you'll need is an Into Film Account - it's completely free, and only takes a moment to set up. Into Film+ is free to use for all UK state schools that hold a valid Public Video Screening (PVS) Licence from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia PVS Licences are paid for on behalf of schools by all local authorities in England and by some local authorities in both Wales and Scotland. Into Film NI cover the license cost for some schools in Northern Ireland. For further information on licensing in your locality please see our FAQs.

If you're a state school in England that's funded by the Department for Education, you will automatically have access to Into Film+ Premium, which offers an extended catalogue of 500+ titles. Find out more about Into Film+ Premium in our FAQs.

If you don't have a PVS Licence, or aren't already covered, then a licence can easily be obtained from Filmbankmedia.

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Filmbankmedia licenses and distributes film and TV entertainment to many groups and is the licensing authority we work with to ensure schools, libraries and youth groups have the permissions to screen films from our catalogue.

* Screenings for an entertainment or extra-curricular purpose require a PVS (Public Video Screening) Licence from Filmbankmedia. State-funded schools in England are covered by the PVS Licence.

The core Into Film programme is free for UK state schools, colleges and other youth settings, thanks to support from the BFI, awarding National Lottery good cause funding, and through other key funders including Cinema First and Northern Ireland Screen.

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