International production company Not To Scale launch a ground-breaking campaign for domestic violence charity Refuge with award winning directors Le Cube and BBH London. The film co-funded by all parties which takes form as the official music video to Frances’s ‘Grow’ seeks to raise awareness of domestic violence and let young women know they are not alone.
Being with an abusive partner can make a woman lose her sense of identity and self - she can feel isolated and alone, like she is invisible. In this film, we follow the daily routine of an increasingly ‘invisible’ young woman, Melanie, who is experiencing domestic violence behind closed doors and who feels that no one is there to support her, or can even see her. As the film progresses an increasingly isolated Melanie encounters a character representing Refuge, who recognises and understands what she is going through and supports her to escape the abuse, regain her identity and rebuild her life. The film is a major prevention initiative that enables Refuge, without any media spend, to use an unexpected channel to let young women know they’re not alone.
The film produced by Not To Scale London and award winning directors Le Cube utilises a fascinating production technique in both 2D and stop-frame animation, helmed by Creative Director Ralph Karam. The backgrounds and background characters were printed out and tracked past camera in cycles over a 10 day shoot while the main characters of Melanie, Refuge and Frances were animated 2D at both Not To Scale and Le Cube studios. The technique and stillness of background characters epitomises the vicious cycle Melanie feels like she’s in and highlights her increasing level of isolation and invisibility while reliving the same cycle over and over again – like so many other women – everyday. When she encounters the character representing Refuge, the tone changes and immediately Melanie regains her colour and vibrancy as she is given the support to break this cycle and rebuild her life.
Not To Scale Founder and EP Dan O’Rourke says:
“It was immediately apparent once we saw the rough script from BBH London, coupled with Frances’ powerful music that we had found a very special project, worthy of Not To Scale’s full backing and devotion. Animation was the perfect medium to tell such a delicate story and Le Cube struck upon an ingenious production technique that through it’s own cyclical device, struck a symbolic similarity with the cyclical pattern of abuse so many victims of domestic violence suffer and in so doing have created a film that is impossible to watch through, without feeling both sympathy and empathy for our main character. Needless to say I am incredibly proud of everybody who worked so tirelessly, with limited resources, to deliver such a powerful and thought provoking film.
The female character is based on Melanie Clarke, a real-life Refuge client who benefited from the charity’s expert support following more than decade of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her ex-partner, whom she met when she was 14. On any given day, Refuge’s specialist services support close to 5,000 women and children like Melanie and her family.
Sensitively visualising both Melanie’s narrative and that of Frances’ track, ‘Grow’, directors Le Cube wanted to create a visually stunning and evocative film to help raise awareness of a hugely important issue. The environment, weather, colours and people of London were meticulously researched and considered throughout, with an architect drawing models of each shopfront to truly capture the personality of the city.
“At the end of 2016, Not To Scale sent us a brief from BBH London to create this music video for British singer-songwriter Frances, with Refuge and Universal Music UK. When we discovered that it was the true story of Melanie, a victim of domestic violence, we were stunned and moved. We realised that it was a genuinely important project and our hearts were touched. We want people to empathise with the situation and to sense how lost and sad a victim of domestic violence can feel. But at the same time, we want to inspire hope for everyone who is in a similar situation and needs help. We want these people to look for help, to realise that more individuals are experiencing this situation in their lives and that it is possible to overcome it.” Gustavo Karam - Le Cube.
George Hackforth-Jones, Creative at BBH London commented:
“Grow is a beautiful, bittersweet ballad, and the lyrics chime perfectly with the more positive message we want to put out there about life after domestic violence; that there are people who can see what you’re going through, and things can get better. Being the official music video to such a moving song lets us talk to young women in a powerful and unexpected manner. Using animation felt like a good way to tell what is a heart-breaking story in a sensitive and hopefully heart-warming way, and have fun playing with little details like Frances’ polka dot socks.”
“I feel so honoured to be a part of this campaign for Refuge. I want nothing more than to give something back with my music, and I hope that this incredibly important video which features my song, Grow, will resonate with people all over the world, and especially to women who are experiencing domestic violence and needing help as we speak. Refuge is here for them - we want people to realise they are not alone.”
Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge, added:
“Refuge is delighted to partner with the very talented Frances. Her beautiful and poignant song ‘Grow’ is a perfect t for this incredibly powerful video.
“Music is a powerful and effective way to reach people, especially younger people, with important messages. Thanks to Frances’ legions of fans, more young women will be made aware the support Refuge can provide.
Refuge is determined to use whatever creative means possible to reach young women. I am grateful to Frances and BBH for helping Refuge to bring this appalling crime out of the shadows, and I hope the ‘Grow’ video is watched and shared far and wide.”
Melanie Clarke, who the character is based on, commented:
“I was so pleased to take part in this video. I understand what it’s like to feel as though nobody knows what you are going through. I was living with domestic violence behind closed doors for years – I kept it all to myself and told my family and friends I was ne. My ex-partner had deliberately isolated me; his controlling ways made me isolate myself from people.
“When I received support from Refuge, it was like somebody turning on a light. They supported me to me realise I was not alone and that I could have a safe and happy future.”