Animated conservation film made by Hull children set to make history

An animated conservation film made by Hull school children is set to make history during its world premier on Europe’s only Cinerama screen, Pictureville Cinema at the National Media Museum in Bradford this Saturday at 12.30pm.

‘I wish I went to Ecuador’ tells the true story of a life changing expedition by a primary school teacher, Mrs Jones, to the Andes, the Cloud Forest and the Rain Forest. Her story enthralled her pupils so much they decided to make an animated film to help create awareness of rainforest conservation around the world. It is believed to be the first film made by children to be presented in the new industry standard high definition Digital Cinema Format and surround sound. Filmed in Cinemascope, over 600 children worked on the film in collaboration with animator and filmmaker David Bunting. The film plays alongside ‘This is Cinerama’, the first 3-strip film ever made and the pupils will see the film for the first time at the premier.

‘One Hull of a Rainforest’ is a project started by a group of primary school teachers, including Victoria Toothill Jones, with the vision of inspiring the children of Hull through a sustainable curriculum and direct action. The project aims to raise approximately £250,000 to enable One Hull of a Rainforest to purchase and protect 100 hectares of land which lie adjacent to the Maquipucuna reserve. By creating their film in Cinemascope, the young filmmakers hope to show the scale and beauty of the rainforest. In showing their support to One Hull of a Rainforest, the museum is granting free entry to children to see the film.

Animator David Bunting said, “The sights and sounds Victoria mentioned seemed beyond a TV experience. I am a huge fan of big screen cinema and you don’t get any bigger or influential than Cinerama, the grandfather of Widescreen cinema. I asked Tom Vincent, the National Media Museum’s film programmer, if he would ever consider showing a film made by children alongside “This is Cinerama”. Tom’s response and that of his whole team have been so generous and supportive and have allowed us to allow children to experiment with state of the art filmmaking technology. I just can’t wait to see the children’s reaction at the premiere!”

The film has attracted support from Kudlian Software and AT Computers who provided state of the art computer technology to make the film. Dave Aston from the Digital Audio Company, who is known for Sound Design for ITV classic dramas ‘A Touch of Frost’ and ‘Wire in the Blood’, worked with children in Hull to mix their film in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. James Betts, managing director of Kudlian, spoke about their decision to back the project: “Supporting ‘One Hull of a Rainforest’ and providing the tools for this film really was an easy decision to make. The children have produced a wonderful animated film on a subject close to their hearts and their passion for the subject comes across in every frame. They should be incredibly proud of what they have accomplished!”

The film is big in every way. Teacher Sarah Newton said,” We had 61 animators, 23 researchers and storyboarders, 13 musicians and about 630 set builders… I think it must count for some sort of record! The project is helping children to raise their skills within their own classroom – It’s an enormous confidence booster for the children, making them feel really worthwhile, sometimes for the first time in their education.”

Quotes from children include:

“I’ve watched a lot of animation but never done it before, and now I want to do more.”

“I feel really special having been selected to be part of this”

“Before animation, I was OK at storytelling, but this is making me much better”

“This has helped me helped me work in a team. I am a co-leader of filming”

‘I wish I went to Ecuador’ will be donated to One Hull of a Rainforest as a resource to further their inspiring conservation campaign. If only takes each primary and nursery pupil within the city of Hull was able to raise £12, to reach their target.


About ‘One Hull of a Rainforest’

The Maquipucuna Reserve is a privately owned reserve covering over 6,000 hectares in North Eastern Ecuador, and the area in which it is in is ranked as one of the world’s top five “biodiversity hotspots”. The reserve harbours an astonishing array of life – over 2000 species of plants have been identified, alongside more than 350 species of birds, 45 species of mammals and countless invertebrates. The project aims to raise approximately £250,000 to enable One Hull of a Rainforest to purchase and protect 100 hectares of land which lie adjacent to the Maquipucuna reserve. This would be donated to the foundation to be restored and managed, hopefully supporting the local people through providing a means for sustainable micro-enterprise.

Details about One Hull of a Rainforest can be found at