It is no secret that animation can help put a smile on even the faces of even the most unwell children of the world, but STUDIO’s new animated short “Scarlett” is hoping to have an even more direct hand in helping children affected by cancer. For those children battling such a ferocious disease, amputation can have as great of an emotional impact as it does a physical one, a powerfully moving realisation that is depicted in this animated short.
Created with the hope of raising awareness for both the Scarlett Contra el Cancer foundation and April’s Limb Loss Awareness Month (#LimbLossAwarenessMonth), this three-minute short tells the deeply moving story of six-year-old Scarlett Aida Rivero Osejo and her journey following the loss of her right leg due to Ewing Sarcoma, a bone cancer that affects mostly children.
With over 70,000 views in over 150 countries in under three days, the short is quickly becoming a social media success, even gaining unsolicited media coverage from international press.
“It took the passion and commitment of everyone at the STUDIO to pull off a project of this scope,” said Mary Nittolo, Chief Creative Officer/President of the STUDIO. “Every time someone had spare time, they worked on ‘Scarlett.’ We all felt very committed to it, and it’s one of those projects that renews my appreciation for the talented people I work with every day.”
Combining a 3D animated Scarlett within a 2D background, the film poignantly depicts the struggles in overcoming amputation and what can be a very overwhelming ordeal. The symbolic use of darker shades perfectly capture the fear and isolation that can be felt when first adapting to a prosthetic, but as the film progresses and Scarlett experiences the beauty of dance, you see her world blossom into one of colour and joy.
“We wanted to translate her mental landscape into a dimension that amplified the drama,” Nittolo explains. “We didn’t want the metaphor to be so obtuse as to take the audience out of the equation. We wanted to make something between pictorial realism and complete abstraction and have the music bridge the gap. We were fortunate to find the right musical partners in this with Hook+Line.”
"When I was talking with Mary about the song, we knew it had to be a sparse arrangement so that the narrative could come through,” says Hook+Line Partner/Producer/Songwriter Abby Diamond. “I've always loved the simple power and rawness a solo piano and vocal provides, and as her momentum builds in the animation, we likewise pick up the rhythm of the piano and add in cello and violin. My creative partner in this, Kyle Patrick, is a phenomenal pianist, orchestrator and arranger, and from the beginning we all agreed the piece needed to be recorded on real instruments -- not midi -- we wanted it to feel as authentic as possible.”
The video has so far reached over 1.1 million people, receiving thousands of messages of encouragement to keep making more content. After such an overwhelming positive reaction, STUDIO shared a coloring book pages for the kids to continue Scarlett’s story on the video’s Facebook fan page. Their hope is to create more content for children going through pediatric cancer and their specific stories.