'Kokoro' is a short film about Marco, a young boarding school student, who is struggling to find exactly where his heart lies. During art class, everyone is presented with a piece of paper and asked to fold an origami heart. Simple enough for most of the class. Not for Marco.
Every day following that, he again and again attempts to fold one, but with no success. He has to ask himself the difficult question of what exactly is he passionate about? Is there anything he loves in life?
Kokoro has gone a long way since the idea first came to our screenwriter, developing more and more at each stage. But at its heart (pun not intended) it has always remained the same - it's the story of being young, troubled, searching, lost, unsure of the future and yourself. It's the story of many teenagers nowadays who find that in doing their all to achieve success in education, they've started to forget what makes them happy.
The idea is inspired by our screenwriter's own experience at boarding school. There were many days when she has felt like Marco, confused and unsure of herself, while everyone else seems to be set in their path. It took her going through A-levels and three years of university to finally find where her own heart is.
We believe the story is important because that internal struggle is something often untalked about. So much attention is put on academic results, but not nearly enough on emotional stability. Through the film we want to showcase a different part of young people's world and inspire conversation. We also want to remind them to remember who they are, what actually matters, what their heart is saying.
Equally as important, through Kokoro, we want to show a leading man who is vulnerable. A boy who is struggling, questioning, scared. And that is ok. A part of why he's under all that pressure is that as a man, he needs to be confident and self-assured. He doesn't ask for help or share his pain, but instead bottles it up inside. By showing that on screen, we want to give young boys someone to relate to. To know that they're not alone, even when it seems that way.
While our key message is geared towards young people, we think this story can be universally appreciated by people of all ages. The problems faced by Marco are things faced by all of us. The lessons he learns are things we can all be reminded of.
Mihaela Stefanova - Writer/Producer
Referred to by the team as Misha, she is a screenwriter with a love of personal stories focused on character. As you got to know earlier, she used to attend boarding school and is now finishing up her degree in Scriptwriting. In her spare time she likes to swim, take pictures with a camera she's borrowed from someone and play her blue guitar.
Vicky Wheeler - Director
Vicky is a screenwriter and photographer from South West UK. She has successfully completed her first short film which is doing the film festival circuit, as well as embarking on a web series adaptation of one of her TV show scripts. She was drawn to directing Kokoro because of the strong message of friendship and the way others can emotionally support you during tough times. She also loves old films and experimenting with film photography, and loves to take visuals to a new level. You can find her on Twitter @dropitdoeeyes or Instagram @vickywheelerfilm
Hana Nagoor - Producer Animation
Filmmaker and Production Coordinator in animation and film. She has a good eye for detail and is passionate about creating content that impacts people. When she's not brainstorming ideas or making long lists, she enjoys clicking pictures, traveling, and participating in activities that benefit the environment and community!
Ali Al Amine - Character Designer
Ali is a graphic designer and illustrator with a love for everything animation. He's been working on character designs for Kokoro, but also helping out on some of the backgrounds and storyboard concepts. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, pretentious coffee dates, art-house films that no one has ever heard of, taking photographs of odd-looking trees, and making checklists. You can find more of his art on his Instagram @aedraws.
Alic Parkes - Background Artist
Alic is a graphic communication student and freelance illustrator, with a love of fantasy and mythology. Using their Instagram platform @alic_parkes to represent the LGBT community and those from minorities through their art.
Born and raised in Spain, Pablo has recently graduated from Bath Spa University with a degree in Acting. He is now looking for exciting opportunities in order to keep learning and maturing his craft. For Kokoro, he has kindly lent his voice to Marco.
Find him on Twitter @Laguna__Pablo or Instagram @pablolaguna_actor
Because everyone on our team is so passionate about the story, we want to hire talented animators who feel the same and can do it justice. The success of the film will directly correlate with the quality of the animation. This is why we are set on finding animators who are not only passionate about the story, but also talented and professional. We would rather pay for the right person, than settle for the cheapest option. This is why we need your help.
While we are currently discussing with composers to produce the score, we will also need a sound designer to bring life to the visuals through sound. This is another role where the right person is of big importance, so again we prefer to pay for them.
In addition, once the film has been completed we would like to enter Kokoro into film festivals, not only to showcase an important story but to showcase the incredible work that has been put into bringing the animation together. We truly believe in the significance of Marco's story and want to share it with as many people as possible.
We've been lucky so far to find enthusiastic and talented people to work with us for free, so the budget we've put is the bare minimum we need to go forward. We would like to also be able to pay everyone currently on the team for all the hard work they're putting in. Again, we have to rely on your help and generosity for that.
Every pound you donate will help us get closer to make this all happen. You may not see it, but we will do a small victory dance/high five for every donation.
If we reach our minimum budget that will go towards hiring animators and a sound designer to work full-time.
If we manage to raise our dream budget, then everyone on the team will be rewarded for their contribution
You don't need to donate to help us: get involved with the project through our social media by liking and sharing our posts. We'd love to connect with you and appreciate your support!
Ask the community
While we are raising the funds to hire animators, we are also looking for the animators themselves. We want to find people who are passionate about animation, the story we're telling and the style of the project. So if you know anyone who may be interested in getting involved then please let us know. We're also happy to hear from other creatives who want to be involved in the production of the film.
If you can help, please message vickywheeler directly.
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- Flexible Funding