Whilst December 25th marks the wonder and excitement of Christmas Day for most children, for some it’s just any other Thursday. Children’s charity Kids Company launched their #GiftofChristmas campaign on Thursday (27/11) with the release of ‘Thursday The 25th’. Grading and VFX for the online film has been completed by Finish.
Christmas can be a lonely time for vulnerable children and the film tells the bleak story of a poverty-stricken child. With the absence of adults in his life, the youngster spends his Christmas day roaming the cold streets alone. Waking up to no presents, it only becomes clear that it’s Christmas as he wanders past a house packed with life, decorations and joy on his way back to a dirty, messy and empty flat.
Finish carried out the post-production work on the film, co-directed by Debbie Ninnis and Hayley Williams, intensifying its desperate and despairing tone. The duo are primarily producers, however they found themselves switching to the other side when directing the project.
Debbie comments ‘It was quite different, although the role of the Producer in commercials has evolved somewhat over the years it wasn’t too much of a shift, and certainly a very enjoyable one.’
Hayley adds ‘My background is in casting and script development as well as producing, so the transition felt quite natural. The interesting and enjoyable part was collaborating with Debbie - we've been good friends for many years - and great creative friends and colleagues who all gave their time pro bono.’
Despite its bleak narrative, the move into directing proved to be an honourable experience for the pair.
Hayley comments ‘It was an honour to tell this story. Droga5 wrote a beautiful script which we shared with Kids Company. They felt that it was accurate and true so we had confidence in the integrity of the story. We spent the next months finding out about the lives of children who benefit from the work of the charity. We visited their centres and heard stories that were often heart-breaking and made you question how this could be possible in our great city.'
She adds ‘Ultimately, the work that Kids Company does is so amazing that it's difficult not to feel inspired. Their success stories, alongside working with the wonderful Kasey (our young boy) and our brilliantly talented crew, made the whole experience very enjoyable.'
Debbie says ‘We were very lucky to have Somesuch & Droga5 involved, we felt incredibly well supported practically and creatively. It was brilliant to have the opportunity as directors to work with DP Robbie Ryan and colourist Paul Harrison both of whom we’ve known and worked with for some years. This, coupled with the fact that Fi is a wonderful woman with a great big heart who insisted on generously giving us what we needed for post-production, made Finish the only choice for us.’
The pair became involved in the worthy cause after hearing Kids Company founder Camila Batmangelidjh speak the charity’s work. Hayley comments ‘We both live in South East London not far from two of Kids Company’s centres. We’d heard Camila speaking about the charity and read about the incredible work they do and talked together at the beginning of this year about the possibility of offering our services in some way. To hopefully leave Kids Company with a film that has some longevity seemed like it could be the most beneficial way to help.’
Kids Company are targeting donations of £100,000 so that they can host the UK’s biggest children’s community Christmas dinner for over 4,000 vulnerable children, young people and carers.
The film – including a link to donate – can be found here.
Credits Client: Kids Company Project Name: Thursday The 25th Agency: Droga5 London Production Company: SOMESUCH Director: Debbie Ninnis, Hayley Williams Executive Producer: Sally Campbell Producer: Dougal Meese DOP: Robbie Ryan Post-Production: Finish Producer: Fi Kilroe Colourist: Paul Harrison Flame: Judy Roberts & Jason Watts