Victoria Bessonova, Jason Harrison and Lisa Somerville


Animated film which shines light on children living in care hits global film festival

An animated film created by a collaboration including The University of Hull will be screened to the world at a global festival.

The film, titled ‘Just Like Our Lives,’ explores the lives of young people in care, including their experiences of education.

Experts from the University have worked alongside the East Riding Children in Care Council and the East Riding Virtual School, to highlight the experiences of young people in the care system.

It was decided a film would be produced to bring their stories to life, and with the help and expertise of East Yorkshire filmmaker My Pockets, ‘Just Like Our Lives’ was borne.

The animated film has reached the finals of the World Health Organisation’s Health for All Film Festival.

The festival, which received over 1,200 submissions from 119 countries, will culminate with a virtual awards ceremony on May 12, where ‘Just Like Our Lives’ will be aired.

Dr Lisa Jones, from the University’s School of Education, was involved in the project alongside Dr Charlotte Dean.

She said: “It is a privilege to know that a short film we have been involved in will feature at a global film festival, seen by people across the world.

When the idea of producing ‘Just Like Our Lives’ was first discussed, we wanted to make a film which would truly make a difference, and highlight the challenges faced by so many young people living in care – I think we can say the film has achieved that.

Dr Lisa Jones

University’s School of Education

“It has been humbling to be part of a collaboration working on both this research project and the film itself.

“The young people involved in co-creating the film have been so generous - both through the time they have spent being involved in designing the film, and through the sharing of their often-difficult stories.

“The film is being extremely well received and we’re just so pleased that people seem to getting as much from watching it as we did from being involved in co-creating this.”

Research led by the collaboration highlighted that young people living in care felt teachers and other professionals needed more information and training on their experiences.

The creation of the animated film was driven by an ambition to enhance this knowledge.

‘Just Like Our Lives’ will now feature in the finals of the World Health Organisation’s Health for All Film Festival on May 12, with the Director General announcing the winners live on their YouTube channel from 4.30pm.

It is in the running in the animated film category, alongside a total shortlist of 15 entries.

Organisers of the film festival said: “The Health for All Film Festival aims to put storytelling power in the hands of film-makers, and seeks to showcase the role of individuals and communities as champions for health and well-being.

“Film has a unique ability to make us feel, laugh, cry and think - to influence how we behave and the decisions we make.

“Filmmakers have the potential to influence health and catalyse change.”

‘Just Like Our Lives’ has also been shortlisted for four other international film festivals - Positively Different Short Film Festival; Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival; Scout Film Festival and Life-Off Global Network First-Time Filmmaker Sessions 2020.

You can watch the animated film here.

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