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Shorts

Lots Of Animation Studios Worked Pro Bono To Create ‘Imaginary Friend Society’ For Kids With Cancer

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF), a nonprofit dedicated to families facing a child’s brain tumor diagnosis, teamed up with a variety of animation/vfx/commercial studios, including Titmouse, Psyop, Gentleman Scholar, MPC, Lobo, and Hornet, to produce a series of animated videos aimed at making cancer less scary for children.

The project, Imaginary Friend Society, was conceived by the RPA ad agency and consists of 20 different shorts. Each short uses animation to explain a different aspect of cancer diagnosis and treatment in an engaging and relatable way for children. The studios that contributed to the campaign provided their services pro bono.

The idea, according to the PBTF, stemmed from the lack of child-friendly material addressing the medical and emotional aspects of cancer:

Kids with cancer are bombarded with an array of invasive procedures that are equal parts unfair and unfamiliar. These concepts are not only intimidating, but completely foreign to them. The idea for the Imaginary Friend Society was born from cancer survivors who used imaginary friends as a coping mechanism during treatment.

“It’s our goal to help the more than 4,600 children diagnosed with a primary brain or central nervous system tumor each year. That’s 13 new cases per day,” said Robin Boettcher, president and CEO of the PBTF. “These films help us equip, educate and empower families throughout their journey by explaining difficult aspects of cancer care and giving children confidence and courage.”

The PBTF is also developing motion-capture medical-assistance technology using select imaginary friends, as well as hospital-based augmented reality experiences designed to lessen the fear of impending procedures.

The shorts use a variety of different animation styles and techniques. Below are four of the shorts, followed by links and studio credits for all of the films in the series:

“Finding Out You Have Cancer” (Animation: Giant Ant)

“What is an MRI?” (Animation: Roof Studio)

“Blood Transfusions” (Animation: Lobo)

“Returning to School” (Animation: Strange Beast)

LINKS TO ALL PROJECTS AND STUDIO CREDITS
Welcome to the I.F.S.
Animation: Gentleman Scholar
Music: Jeremy Turner
Sound Design: Jeremy Turner

What’s an MRI?
Animation: Roof Studio
Music: Butter
Sound Design: Butter

Feeling Sad
Animation: Hornet
Music: Ambrose Yu
Sound Design: Ambrose Yu

Returning to School
Animation: Strange Beast
Music: Handymartian
Sound Design: Handymartian

Blood Transfusions
Animation: Lobo
Music: Anvil FX Music & Sound Design
Sound Design: Anvil FX Music & Sound Design

Finding Out You Have Cancer
Animation: Giant Ant
Music: Antfood
Sound Design: Antfood

Losing Your Hair
Animation: The Mill
Music: Fidget NYC
Sound Design: Fidget NYC

Why Am I Tired All the Time?
Animation: Airplan
Music: Squeak E Clean
Sound Design: Squeak E Clean

Feeling Angry
Animation: Not to Scale
Sound Design: Lime Studios

Radiation
Animation: Trunk
Music: Daniel Pemberton
Sound Design: Fonic

Who Will Be Taking Care of Me?
Animation: Flux Animation
Music & Sound Design: Digicake

How to Handle Shots
Animation: MPC
Music: Storefront
Sound Design: Storefront

Surgery
Animation: MPC
Music: Mophonics
Sound Design: Lime Studios

Chemotherapy
Animation: Starbeast
Music: Mike Newport
Sound Design: Radiate Sound

Help for Brothers and Sisters
Animation: Psyop
Music: Teenage Diplomat
Sound Design: Lime Studios

What Is Cancer?
Animation: Studio Pigeon
Music: Black Iris
Sound Design: Lime Studios

Long Hospital Stays
Animation: Titmouse
Music: Travis + Maude
Sound Design: Lime Studios

Being By Yourself
Animation: Renegade Animations
Music: We Are Walker
Sound Design: Lime Studios

Being Scared
Animation: Laundry
Music: Butter
Sound Design: Lime Studios

Staying Friends with Your Friends
Animation: Wolf & Crow
Expected Music & Sound Design: Shindig

Title Sequence (for all films): Elastic
Title Sequence Music (for all films): Jeremy Turner

  • Mike

    What a beautiful project. Thank you and amazing work to all involved!

  • Rob S

    I’m freelancing in NYC right now. I wish I could have worked on one of these! It would be so special to be a part of something that has actual power and resonance in people’s lives like that. I love the compassion behind the series.

    Cheers to all involved!

  • Rick Dolishny

    I’m a professional animator and my 17 year old daughter is in remission after her brain cancer journey. I’m in tears and in shock. These are technically perfect: well written, exceptional audio, and of course… the animation. I can’t stop watching all of these with my daughter.

    This sort of project doesn’t just happen. Was it the ad agency that wrangled all of these studios? I need to know more about this project.

  • Jean Paul Medellin

    This is one one most beautiful projects I have seen recently, the way they handled the topics is outstanding.

  • Dominik Bartosik

    I’m so proud that i could be part of it, it was amazing project. Thank you Cartoon Brew for featuring. (I worked on “What is cancer?” / Studio Pigeon as an animator)