The key objective was to create a short film, My Magic Mum, with a hopeful, uplifting message that can be used as an introduction to the challenge of poverty and encourage a discussion about how Australians can help people living in poverty through Opportunity International Australia.
The film aimed to challenge storytelling conventions for non-for-profit organisations, which often rely on pity and sympathy to bring the viewer's attention to the issue of poverty. The film frames the story in a different way, making young girl Rambu the key agent of change and using a playful, imaginative approach to build empathy between her and the viewer.
This three-minute film aims to introduce audiences to the challenge of poverty from a child's point of view, and how poverty impacts the achievement of their dreams. It's an enchanting tale of what microfinance, a sustainable solution to poverty, means to a child.
The mood of the film is playful, giving viewers a different perspective on the problems faced by people living in poverty. It aims to resonate with new and existing supporters, who may be tired of the traditional microfinance and poverty alleviation stories, and is ideal for the internet and social media because of its short duration.
It sets out to speak to existing donors and potential donors, communicating that a helping hand from them is a world of magic to a child – you can give a small loan to a mother like the one featured in the film and help her whole family.
The film crew, headed by the award-winning Director, Stefan Hunt, filmed on location at Sumba Island, in the east of Indonesia.
Stefan and the crew spent time getting to know Lydia (The Magic Mum featured in the film) and three of her children – Rambu, who tells her story throughout the film, and her brother Ridwan and sister, Kudu. The team then used their responses to shape the script.
In her own words, Rambu tells how she had to leave school after her father passed away because her mother could not afford to send her anymore. This made Rambu very sad as her mother told her that going to school enables you to achieve your dreams. Rambu's dream is to be a doctor when she grows up (see Figure 1).
The dream was portrayed through the use of animations and special effects, which created the feeling of a dream (see Figures 2, 3 and 4).
Rambu then describes how her mother received a small loan from Opportunity International Australia. She used the loan to buy stock to open a small shop, giving her a regular source of income to support her family and send Rambu back to school (Figure 5).
Rambu says her mum has magic powers after she received the small loan and started her business. This is illustrated through an animation and special effects (Figure 6).
The emotions of Rambu and her family are demonstrated through facial close ups and body language. So when they are feeling sad they very clearly show it in their facial expression and vice versa (Figures 7 and 8).
Now Rambu can achieve her dream of going to university and becoming a doctor, which is portrayed in illustrations (Figures 9 and 10).
The final frame of the film displays its key theme, which is that a helping hand from you is a world of magic to a child (Figure 11).
Through the film, Rambu communicates several important messages about microfinance as a sustainable solution to poverty:
A small loan gives a family living in poverty the tools they need to start their own business and provide for their children
Investing in a mother with a small loan is an investment in her children's future – she will typically use her income to educate her children, which is the key to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty
The magic of opportunity might be Rambu's perspective, but really it's the hard work of her mum and generosity of a supporter that makes this change possible.
People living in poverty have hopes and dreams just like us. But while talent is universal, opportunity is not. A small loan can change that.
The film is inspirational, telling the story of the way a small loan helped Rambu's mother set up a business and earn a regular income, enabling her to afford to send her children to school and achieve their dreams.
It appeals to a young audience as well as adults. It is quirky and creative, and effectively communicates empathy and empowerment rather than pity and sympathy. What sets this film apart from traditional socially-focused films is that it challenges traditional not-for-profit storytelling conventions. It achieves its aim of connecting an Australian to the need, solution and hope of a young girl and her family.
The film was featured on Vimeo's staff pick of the day, achieving over 35,000 views.
The film is being promoted through several channels:
Film festivals and awards
TV, Newspapers and Radio – it is being offered to the media whenever an interview with the Opportunity CEO is arranged
YouTube – the film is posted on Opportunity's YouTube channel and is regularly promoted through our social media channels. Short segments of the film are posted on social media with quirky questions that make viewers curious to click on the film and watch it.
Opportunity website – it is featured on Opportunity's homepage
PR – a high profile PR campaign is being implemented to promote the film
Schools – it is being offered to schools as an awareness raising initiative for school children.