Sinking Feeling is Blue Zoo's 2021 short film, created for PAPYRUS UK, the charity working to prevent youth suicide.
As the studio celebrates its 21st year, it was very much felt that we wanted to use our platform to aid a positive change and bring awareness to a lesser known subject.
Here, in 2021, we are all faced with a new set of challenges from those of two years ago, pre-pandemic, particularly with mental wellness. So it was upon learning that suicide is the biggest killer of under 35s in the UK that we reached out to teenage suicide prevention charity, PAPYRUS UK to lend our support.
We worked closely with PAPYRUS to form the brief. First learning about the specific challenges they face and what objectives an awareness film could help them overcome. It was also important to understand how the charity communicates and avoid the commonly misused terminology associated with the subject.
As with all Blue Zoo Shorts, the brief was an open invite to pitch for any Blue Zoo employee, and following a studio-wide vote it was Animator, Mark Spokes, who’s truly emotive narrative and poignant visual metaphor of a young boy physically sinking into the ground, struggling with his daily life as the world around him carries on oblivious, which won.
Mark, and Art Director, Grant Berry, worked closely to develop a film that beautifully walks the line between sensitively portraying the subject of suicide whilst imbuing the film with the emotional weight to cut through and raise awareness to the tragic frequency of youth suicide.
With over 60 artists involved in the making of Sinking Feeling and the “True Colours” soundtrack performed by our very own Blue Zoo Choir, it’s fair to say the studio put it’s heart and soul into the film.
Ged Flynn, Chief Executive of PAPYRUS, said: “This remarkable animation captures the overwhelming struggle of a young person who is literally sinking below the surface, weighed down, unable to function normally, incapable of keeping up and close to giving up on life.
“Sadly, in real life that’s exactly what many young people are experiencing right now. They feel sad, isolated, worthless, bewildered, in emotional turmoil with seemingly no way out."
“The film challenges me to reach in when a young person might be distressed, ask how they are, to really hear them, to offer help and to assist life itself.”