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Written & Directed by Liz Crow
3 minute animation drama 2007
With audio description and captions


When five-year old Nell yearns for trainers which flash, imagination proves a powerful thing.

Illumination is a heart-warming story for children and adults, capturing a child’s view of the world. This is a tale about a child’s belonging, a parent’s resistance to marketing, and the power to imagine a solution for yourself – sometimes in the most unexpected of ways.

Combining animated photographic stills and digitally created backdrops, Illumination has a strongly defined look. Influenced by children’s book illustration, yet with digital images of real people rooting the film in the everyday, Illumination is a story that sits at the interface of reality and imagination.

Illumination was commissioned by UK Film Council’s Digital Shorts scheme in association with South West Screen.


  • Maia sits on a low stool against a uniformly bright green screen and floor. She wears a red top and skirt, a flowery headband and purple tights and battered old trainers. Her elbows rest on her lap and her chin on her hand. She gazes dreamily upwards, a small smile on her face.
  • A boy of around five, wearing a bright orange flowery shirt and jeans poses against a greenscreen ready to kick a ball. Liz faces him, demonstrating how she wants him to place his arms.
  • Matt and Liz look intently at the display on Matt’s camera. In the background, two of the children are in position from the last shot, giggling..
  • Blutak’d onto cupboard doors are copies of the backdrops that will be used in the final animation, domestic and outdoor scenes.
  • Two boys of around four years old are dressed in brightly coloured clothes and stand poised on the greenscreen floor. On the sofa, facing them, is Liz who uses her hands to demonstrate the movement she wants from them.
  • Director Liz Crow gives directions to a boy dressed in a multicolored rainbow t-shirt and brown trousers who stands in front of a greenscreen. He carries a long fabric ribbon in rainbow colours which is being held aloft at the other end by Bryan to look as though it is streaming in the breeze. Matt has his back to the camera.
  • Matt and Liz look intently at the display on Matt’s camera. Liz points at the image whilst one of the child actors can be glimpsed in the background peeping in.
  • Against a greenscreen, a girl of around five years old stands facing towards the camera dressed in a white top and blue flowery pinafore, a blue ribbon in her hair. Liz kneels to her side, gently moving her arms into position.
  • During the shoot, Bryan Panks and Liz Crow, with photographer Matt Bigwood looking on, look intently at a computer laptop.
  • Maia stands on one leg with her arms outstretched, looking dreamily, in front of a greenscreen. Liz sits on a sofa just to the side.
  • Against a greenscreen, a boy of about six stands in position, looking towards Liz who is talking to him. Two of the other children sit next to her on the sofa.
  • Bryan Panks sits at a desk in front of two computer monitors which display a greenscreen shot of Nell (Maia Tamraker) and her mother (Kiren Jogi). This image has been dissected to show Nell's skirt and legs, against backdrops of white and black.


  • UK

    Arnolfini, Bristol
    Liberty Festival, London
    Open Air Cinema, Bristol
    Cinekid Screening Club, Amsterdam
    Animated Exeter
    Animate the World, London Barbican
    Sefton Park School, Bristol
    Raindance TV
    Big Screens in 19 UK cities


  • Illumination

    Liz Crow

    Liz Crow
    Rachel Drummond-Hay

    Animation Producer
    Domonic White

    Bryan Panks

    Matt Bigwood

    Digital Effects
    Dave Thomas

    Sound Design
    Armin Elsaesser

    Barnaby Taylor

    Nell played by – Maia Tamraker
    Mother played by – Kiren Jogi

    Roaring Girl Productions in association with Suscito


  • “A wonderful piece of cinema; a well told and moving story and a visual feast to boot.”

    Jonny Persey, Producer, Deep Water, Wondrous Oblivion
  • “A lovely story, elegantly told with a really effective and innovative combination of photos, graphics and drawing.”

    Peter Cattaneo, Director, The Full Monty, Opal Dream
  • “A delightful film that can be understood on many levels from a simple tale of a little girl’s heartfelt wish to a wry comment on consumerism that many a parent will appreciate. This is a beautifully and imaginatively constructed film suitable for children (and adults) of all ages."

    David Green, primary school teacher
  • “This short film enlightens and highlights the importance of a child’s imagination. We forget that imagination and dreams will take you beyond possessions. Recommended.”

    Buy Nothing Day UK
  • Even in animation, you seem to excel! There too, the images speak! Well done!

    Reviewer, Raindance TV


  • South West Screen
  • itv West
  • UK Film Council

To cite this page: Crow, Liz (2007) Illumination, Roaring Girl Productions [online] [Available at:] [Accessed 30/05/2024]