WaterAid: The Girl Who Turned To Water

The Girls Who Turned To Water

  • Style: Stop-motion
  • Client: WaterAid
  • Year: 2021

The project

Access to clean water and sanitation are fundamental human rights.

WaterAid (est.1981), was created with a key goal: making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a normal part of everyday life for everyone, everywhere. In 2021 WaterAid continues to change millions of lives, working towards their goal in 28 countries with the support of donations. 

Each year the charity shares a focused winter appeal to raise further awareness with the hope of encouraging donations. Our brief was to produce a conceptual animated film to support the winter appeal and start a conversation on gender, WASH and education. 

This year the focus was on the impact a lack of access to clean water affects thousands of girls’ educations. It is often a girl’s responsibility in a family to walk to collect water, which is often dirty, resulting in days away from the classroom. Without clean water, they miss out on the knowledge to create change. 

Still taken of outdoor scenery from WaterAid
WaterAid: Exterior Set

The Creative 

The client wanted to use stop motion puppets and real miniature sets imbued with detailed textures. Initial tests of a puppet, which looked hand-carved, won the client over. For this reason, we retained (and celebrated) this chiseled, faceted look across the whole puppet cast. All the characters, costume and location designs are based on image references of real people in and around a school in Lehan, Nepal which the charity has previously supported. 

A key element and also the trickiest part of the story was turning the girls into water. This was executed in camera using a mixture of coloured pallet wrap, resin replacements and ink. Smaller elements were shot against glass in the lighting set up of each scene and composited into shot.

Capturing the correct emotions was extremely important. Single beaded eyes used to give wide eyed spark to the characters. Simple mouth movements were done in camera, hand drawn for an authentically timed performance rather than being added in post. 

Still taken from the WaterAid classroom set
WaterAid: Interior set

Post-Production 

In house we completed rig removal, clean ups and VFX. The music used is a piece by a contemporary Nepalese artist, Ankit Shrestha. Our Designer sourced the music which mixed with the sound design by our team. Other elements supplied included 9:16 social cut downs and textless versions of the film for future usage. 

Client Testimonial

“…a fast turnaround on this project and for high quality work – it’s been a pleasure working with you all. Everyone who’s seen the film internally has been really impressed…”