Crimestoppers 'The Hardest Call'

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Crimestoppers 'The Hardest Call'

Facility work for heartbreaking new campaign from Academy Films

Words by Paul Sumpter, Wednesday 14 Apr 2021


We were absolutely privileged to be asked to be part of the latest campaign from director Seb Edwards (John Lewis Christmas, James Blake, Jon Hopkins) for The Metropolitan Police / Crimestoppers, a powerful series of films entitled The Hardest Call.

The series of short films tells the individual stories of five incredible mothers, all of whom have tragically lost their sons as a result of knife crime.

The concept of the campaign from AMV BBDO focuses on a phone call each had to make in the immediate aftermath of the incident and striking a parallel between the impossible difficulty of having to make that hardest call of their lives, with the need for people to come forward and make similarly difficult calls to Crimestoppers that could prevent knife crime in future.

Produced by Academy Films, our role was to facilitate six 2 hour interviews between Seb and the mothers, to capture voiceovers and their stories in detail. However, unlike normal voiceover recording, these sessions needed to be managed in a highly sensitive way, with a soft-touch approach from us to allow the mothers and their chaperones to feel as at ease as possible and minimise the sense of the feeling overly under the microscope. 

So we replaced VO tables and script stands for sofas, comfortable soft furnishings and flowers in our main live room and set up discrete microphone placements for the minimum of intrusion. Likewise an invisible in-ear talkback for the director was implemented so the creative team, either in house or listening in remotely, could suggest ways to steer the conversations whilst keeping things organic and uninterrupted.

The campaign has already garnerd widespread acclaim and interest, including national coverage from the Guardian and The BBC.

Watch all the films at:

Production Company Academy Films
Director Seb Edwards

CD Martin Loraine
TV Producer Rebecca Scharf
EP Simon Cooper
Producer Ash Lockmun
Production Manager Cara Mills
1st AD Clara Paris
2nd AD Charlotte Miller
Runner Kitty Rajakulasingam
Runner Felix Bos
DA Stephanie Okereafor
Director of Photography Stephen Keith Roach
Focus Puller Catharine Brown
Focus Puller Alison Streatfield
2nd AC James Tilyard
Camera Trainee Harry Bonham Carter
DIT David Palmer
Video Playback Nick Forrester
Teleprompter Tech Ryan Carroll
Key Grip Daniel Essex
Gaffer Jonny Franklin
Desk Op Phil White
Electrician Paul Roe
Electrician Laurentiu Maria
Rigger James Molloy
Hair & Make-Up Louise Hinton
Editor Tom Lindsey
Edit House Trim
Edit Producer Polly Kemp
Audio Engineer Paul Sumpter
Recording Facility The Futz Butler
Sound Designer Anthony Moore & Mark Hill
Sound Design Factory Sound
Audio Producer Lucy Spong
Colourist Jean-Clement Soret
Grade/Conform Company MPC London


Posted by

Paul Sumpter

Founder & Creative Director

Wednesday 14 Apr 2021