Why a story for children about death?
When Cassi, my daughter's grandparents' dog died, we didn't know how to explain to her why her good friend wasn't there anymore. We began to search and realized that other parents around the world were also looking for children stories about death.
About the story: Malaika, the princess who travels with elephants!
Princess Malaika evokes the literary figure of the wild child. The little one who grows away from civilization accompanied only by nature.
The little princess is adopted by an elephant herd. The relationship between Malaika and her parents "Komba and Nari" is reciprocal. They give her the honey and sweet fruits from the earth while Malaika is always alert when poachers approach. Poachers symbolize the continuos danger of death and how all of us coexist with it.
Malaika's and the herd's lives are harmonious as is nature. She will learn that memory is the key to the survival of the elephants.
But everything will change when Komba starts to feel his death approaching. He has worn-out the last of his three sets of teeth. The wear and tear of the body leads to a natural death, and without his teeth, he is bound to die. The idea of death appears as an inevitable and universal fact.
Malaika must understand that every creature that lives must also die, and that death is necessary in the cycle of nature. The herd must leave Komba alone so he can give his body to the earth. Malaika begins to feel the great sorrow of death as a final farewell.
Finally Malaika will discover that existence remains in memory. We will always be alive in the memory of the ones who loved us. The elephant's journey continues as life must also continue.
How was Malaika made?
The idea of creating a short film based on the Lotte Reiniger's silhouette animation technique rises from the strong relationship between life an death, light and darkness. With the help of an animation software we began to give life to the characters of Malaika's story. We created articulated puppets to help us understand and faithfully reproduce the technique used by Lotte.
The black shapes always appears in contrast with light and color. Each color was carefully chosen to communicate an emotion and create an atmosphere. This is how we started to create what we called the "Emotional Geography" of Malaika.
The geography that began to take shape with colors and light that later would be complemented with the music composition. For the music theme we used the "vocal sampling" technique, voices that could helps us to evoke the beautiful african savannas.
Each theme in Malaika presents a complete universe that grows through the combination of sounds, all generated by the human voice.
Malaika, the Book App
We believe that a story like Malaika should not be limited to only being a short film. We want to create a book, something you can share with your child and that takes advantage of technologies offered by devices such as the iPad.
Malaika the Book App will be developed in versions for iPhone, iPad and computers. Each scene from the movie will have interactions specially designed for children, which we believe will enhance the reading experience that can be shared between child and parent.
The App will also include additional contents that aim to entertain both children and adults. One of these will be a musical workshop in which you will be able to make your own mix of the voices used in the vocal sampling, so you can create your own songs based on the movie’s soundtrack.
In order to create the App, we must first complete the animation. With our HTML5 animations, we will begin to program the interactions for each scene, as well as other features to make our App accessible to the greatest number of people, such as the option of changing the language.
This is not the first time we are producing a Book App. In the past, we have developed “The Bird of a Thousand Songs”, a beautiful story that talks about the importance of finding our own song, that is, our identity.
4 languages = Malaika in the hands of more children.
As mentioned above, our short film will be available to watch for free on Youtube. In order to reach more people and to bring our story to more children, we will produce both the film and the Book App in 4 languages (English, French, Spanish and Portuguese).
To date, we have used our own resources to hire narrators in English and French. We are counting on your support to help us make this short film also available to Latin American children in Spanish and Portuguese.
What we have done and what we have left to achieve
We have worked hard to reach our goal, and so far, and we have completed 75% of the animation process. But we still have a lot to do to realize our dream of finishing this project.
With your support and help we could reach the funds to:
- Finish the animation process.
- Make the video edition and finish the short film in HD format.
- Complete the audio edition and mastering.
- Develop the Book App of Malaika. An initiative that seeks to bring this wonderful story to iOS devices and computers as an interactive book.
- Contract voices for the spanish and portuguese narration.
How you can help us and which rewards have we prepared?
We appreciate all kinds of contributions, not only monetary donatios. If you can share this project with your friends or family, we will feel that our message is reaching more people.
If you want to make a donation we have prepared some wonderful rewards to thank you.
We are so proud and happy to make Malaika with the help of a small but committed team. At the moment there are 5 people working on this project:
- Lizardo Carvajal (Writer and Illustrator): He is in charge of creating the story. He writes, illustrates and brings it to life by leading the animation process. He’s always on the lookout for interesting stories he can bring to life for children and youth to read. He currently lives in Toronto where creation never ends in his literature workshop.
- Juan Saab (Developer): He is in charge of determining our developing lines and ensuring that everything is running smoothly in the technical layer. At the moment, Juan has written a considerable amount of the code necessary to create the app once the animation process is concluded. Juan Saab studies Systems Engineering at the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá and has strong interest in web usability.
- Diego Palacios (Music Arranger): He converts words and images into music. Scene by scene, he recreates sensations through melodies, harmonies and rhythms that accompany the voices of our narrators or your voice (because you can be the narrator in our Book App). Diego Palacios is the musical producer for the Universidad del Valle in Cali, where he has been working for more than 15 years creating magical sounds.
- Renée (Translator): She will make our story available in multiple languages. She grew up in the bilingual province of New Brunswick, Canada, and is in charge of translating our story to French and English from Spanish. Her love for children’s literature is what allows her to enjoy every chapter she translates.
- Hugo Orjuela (Vocal themes composer): Composer and interpreter of vocal sampled themes.
Risks and challenges
The first and obvious risk could be not reaching the funding goal. In that case the project would have to be delayed until we find some funding from our own resources to finish it, as we have done so far.
In the case where we reach our goal, we have made time considerations to ensure that the movie will be launched on the estimated date. Also, our project is already at an advanced stage, which will allow us to complete the short film without any major setbacks. About the rewards, we have also allowed enough to ensure that you will receive that material on time.
We can't guarantee that there won't be any delays, but we can promise that we are committed and in love with our project, and that we will focus all of our efforts to reaching our goal on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)