More than just marketing content…
Here at Forward we believe that story is key. Whether it’s someone’s personal story, the story of a business/brand, or just a good fictional narrative, we feel the best way to engage your audience is by taking them on a journey and hopefully inspiring them in the process.
Our entire company ethos is based around this passionate belief but as creatives sometimes we doubt, sometimes we question whether what we do works; “Do people get it?”. Last Thursday we got an answer to this in the form of two very shiny awards from The Royal Television Society East Centre. One of these was for ‘The Best Short Film’ and the other, ‘The Diversity Award’. It was a huge honour to be nominated and to be included alongside the BBC, ITV, Lambda Films, Ember Films and so many other great companies from across the region. We honestly didn’t expect to win, as I’m sure our terrible acceptance speeches showed.
So how did this happen?
Last summer we were approached by Wex Photographic with an incredible brief entitled #MoreThanAnImage (MTAI). We were to tell the stories of three inspirational photographers, who each use photography to help their own lives, and the lives of others. This was new ground for Wex as this would be the first series of content they had commissioned that wasn’t about a specific product or technique. With MTAI they wanted to inspire and to show their audience the inherent power of photography, which goes far further than just cameras and lenses.
The story of Hannah who uses photography to help cope with her Multiple Sclerosis and raise awareness about the condition, and Daniel who uses the process of photography to help him deal with mental illness and teach others are both really powerful and we’re immensely proud of both them.
But something quite magical happened when we came to tell the story of Giles, a documentary photographer who lost both of his legs and an arm when he stood on an IED in Afghanistan. It is a truly harrowing tale, but that isn’t the core of the film. The most incredible thing about Giles is his determination, and despite his injuries he still journeys to countries affected by conflict, capturing stories that need to be told. Once we captured his interview and started piecing it together with visuals of his house and the Hastings sea front, it created something even more powerful than we’d envisioned. But, it wasn’t until we started showing people that we realised that a rare thing in filmmaking had happened, and something that as filmmakers we’re always striving towards; all of the disparate ingredients had come together to create something far stronger than the sum of its parts.
The film was screened (along with a director’s Q&A) in London at Short Sighted Cinema’s TRANSFORM event and has just been selected to be part of the short films evening at the Maui Film Festival which is also featuring giant Indie films that star the likes of Gerard Butler and Salma Hayek (crazy!). And whilst it isn’t success or awards that drive us, its a great feeling to know that we’ve produced a piece of work that has engaged and inspired others. And that’s what we strive for.
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