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
Sound Design: Butter