Shot in Kenya, UK Book Aid Sendak Short Is Up for Two UK EVCOM Awards

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The short film ”Reading Where the Wild Things Are in The Great Rift Valley’ was released last October and has been singled out for its sweeping vistas and atmospheric rendering of Sendak’s prose.

Image: From ‘Reading Where the Wild Things Are in The Great Rift Valley’

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Dramatic Storytelling’
Having produced a three-minute “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) film of beauty and drama—in cooperation with the Kenya National Library Service and the Maurice Sendak Foundation—the Book Aid International reading charity finds itself nominated for two awards in London.

The EVCOM Industry Awards recognize “excellence in both craft and communications across the live, screen and digital communities.” And the program’s Clarion Awards focus on “the importance of corporate social responsibility across both the agency and client landscape.” The Clarions are particularly geared to “an emphasis on far-reaching and specifically global impact.”

Reading Where the Wild Things Are in The Great Rift Valley is the work of Raw London, a “specialist branded content agency,” and you can read some of the company’s conceptual thinking on its development of the piece here.

The piece follows schoolgirl Pascalia, as she discovers and voices lines from Maurice Sendak’s 1963 Where the Wild Things Are. In the course of her day, Pascalia hears lines from Sendak as she moves from a gallery to school to the hills and home.

Raw London has provided information on those whose work went into the making of the the piece. They are:

  • Directors: Lee Jones and Amber Parsons
  • Director of Photography: Lee Jones
  • Producer: Amber Parsons
  • Edit: Lee Jones
  • Colorist: Coda Post Production
  • Sound Design: Gustaf Jackson

The Raw London agency’s staff is here. More about the agency’s projects and productions–for programs including War Child UK, the British Red Cross, Concern Worldwide UK, Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services, and Parkinson’s UK–is here.

Image: From ‘Reading Where the Wild Things Are in The Great Rift Valley’

‘A Significant Part of Who We Become’

In a prepared statement from Jones and Parsons, we read, “The film was born out of a mutual ambition, client and agency together, to truly bring to life the magic of reading. We wanted to create something that would stay with audiences long after they’ve viewed it, so we went for a cinematic style of direction and dramatic storytelling.

Featuring a real child–and not an actor–was a creative and practical risk, but she reminds us that the stories we discover as children never really leave us.

“She answers the key question that is often asked of Book Aid International about why children need literature–because while we cannot point to one particular thing it changes, stories nevertheless form a significant part of who we become.”

The effort is successful on many levels. Simply in terms of concept, for example, the Raw London production avoids the kind of fetishism of books, themselves, that too frequently overtakes efforts of this kind. Instead, it focuses on an internal dialogue between a young reader and the language of a key work for children.

Of course, the message of this CSR film is that Pascalia is one of the 24 million people in various parts of the world that the charity says have received new and engaging books thanks to the work of the UK-based Book Aid International. The lush images and sound here may make you want to dash to donate.

Book Aid International’s Emma Taylor is quoted on the news of the shortlistings, saying, “Being shortlisted for the EVCOM Clarion Awards and the EVCOM Industry Awards is absolutely fantastic – it’s amazing to have so many people watching our new film.”

We’ve embedded the film for you here.

A special viewing of the film is set for September 5. Winners from the shortlists when the Clarion winners will be announced then.

The EVCOM Industry Award winners are to be named on November 21 in the London Live Awards event at Southbank.

“I’d like to thank the [awards] panel and particularly players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting both the making of the film and much of our work supporting readers in Kenya.”

As we reported earlier this month, the charity says it has received £1.85 million (US$2.2 million) to date thanks to its partnership with players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Postcode African Trust.

Image: From ‘Reading Where the Wild Things Are in The Great Rift Valley’

More from Publishing Perspectives on Book Aid International is here, and more from us on Africa is here. More  from our Industry Notes series is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.