BAFTA-winning studio Blue Zoo Animation recently launched a touching new short film with a message of hope for those struggling with their mental health, marking World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). Sinking Feeling tackles the heartbreaking reality that many children and young people are suffering in silence without the vital help and support they need, according to PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.
The charity hopes the film will encourage more people to spot the signs and reach-in to guide young people away from thoughts of suicide. The animation signposts to PAPYRUS and its HOPELINEUK service, which offers confidential help and support to young people and anyone who is concerned for a young person who may be thinking of taking their own life.
Blue Zoo reached out to PAPYRUS after learning that suicide is the biggest killer of under 35s in the U.K. — the collaboration is timely, as the 2021 theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Creating Hope Through Action.’
Over the last six years, Blue Zoo has released a comedy short every year. With the challenges that 2020 brought the world, the studio decided to create something that would use their platform for good. The brief to create a film for PAPYRUS was given to the entire studio, and anyone was able to pitch their idea to direct the film.
“As a studio, it is our ambition to use animation to make a positive impact on the world,” said Tomm Box, Co-Founder of Blue Zoo. “We couldn’t be prouder of how the team came together to produce a film that does that so beautifully.”
In a studio-wide pitch, first-time director Mark Spokes won with his idea of following a young boy struggling with his daily life. “Working with PAPYRUS and Blue Zoo on Sinking Feeling was an uplifting and enriching experience, especially in the midst of lockdown. The film’s message is one that is close to my heart and I’m proud to be part of something that could save lives,” Spokes shared.
More than 60 artists volunteered to help on the animation project which took four months to complete using Blender. For many artists working on this project, this was their first time using the open-source program for an entire production. The film is accompanied by an a cappella rendition of “True Colors,” recorded remotely by the Blue Zoo Choir. Made almost entirely during the 2021 lockdown, this project hopes to spread a message of hope for those who may be struggling in the wake of a difficult year for all.
PAPYRUS HOPELINKUK can be reached for practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice by phone 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the U.S., contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by phone 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more resources.