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War Child marks 30 years with a hopeful film that puts children front and centre

Made in collaboration with a range of British creatives, musicians and ambassadors, the film uses War Child’s story to bring awareness to children affected by conflict.

In 2023, War Child marked 30 years of work supporting children in conflict with the release of an emotive film. Titled ‘We Are War Child’, the film is both a ‘story so far’ and a renewed appeal for action, raising awareness of the organisation’s international work and reaffirming its mission during a time when help is needed now more than ever.

Directed by Creative Director and War Child Ambassador Ross Stirling, the core inspiration for ‘We Are War Child’ comes from the idea of expression in art, which can be a powerful and calming tool for children – especially those in areas affected by war. With the help of filmmaker George Maguire, War Child worked with the children at John Perryn School in Ealing, who represent a diverse range of backgrounds from around the world. Footage of the children's mark-making was combined with footage from the organisation's past three decades of work, highlighting the universal importance of creativity in all children’s development.

Bringing together British talents from music, art and design.

Evocative wax crayon illustrations from artist Lucy Mahon, animated by James Phillips, use the visual language of childhood to help tell this story, which was set to a powerful score by Grammy Award-winning musician Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons) showing the fragility of conflict. While the voiceover charts the course of War Child’s journey – touching on its unique relationship with music to raise funds and awareness – the footage intentionally puts children front and centre. 

Three unique versions of the film were made and released to speak more specifically to War Child’s different audiences. This is reflected in the choice of voiceover artists: award-winning actress and War Child Global Ambassador Carey Mulligan voices a purpose-focused edit and Tiara Ataii, War Child’s Global Economic Resilience Advisor, voices the full-length version of the film.

Putting creativity at the heart of the organisation’s story.

“There is much to be said about art as a means to calm, and War Child have seen this first hand” says Director and War Child Ambassador, Ross Stirling. He added: “After seeing the monumental effect that drawing had on children in bunkers in the Ukraine, I wanted to show War Child’s story from the child’s perspective, drawing contrast and tension between the hand-drawn creative against the destructive backdrop of war.”

Commenting on the project, artist Lucy Mahon said: “Often one of the first creative things we do as children is to make pictures; there is an uninhibited way that children draw - and ultimately a vulnerability. The immediacy and naivety of crayons was therefore a natural choice of medium. Projects don’t get much more meaningful than this one.”

Ben Lovett remarks “I believe in doing what we can to help those that need our help and one thing I personally can do is contribute music - a gift that was nurtured in circumstances far more favourable than any child being helped by War Child. I’m proud to support this collaboration.”



Director: Ross Stirling

DOP: George Maguire

Editor: George Maguire

Score: Ben Lovett

Artist: Lucy Mahon

Motion: James Phillips

Voiceover: Tiara Ataii, Carey Mulligan and Griff

Special thanks: Leah Wright (Headmistress) and the children at John Perryn School in Ealing

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We help keep children safe and support them to heal, learn and thrive. We understand their needs, respect and stand up for their rights, and put them at the centre of everything we do.
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