Video: Laura’s story

This animation, by mission partner Anna Sims, tells the story of one of the women prisoners she has accompanied in Peru.

Every week Anna visits English-speaking women prisoners, many of whom are from countries outside of Peru.

She studies the Bible with them. She brings them food and supplies and most importantly, hope, that life will one day be different.

Here, Anna shares the story behind the creation of this video:

“Last July, while having a few days retreat in Ollantaytambo, God gave me some ideas for creative projects relating to prison ministry.

“Laura’s Story – a short, animated video sharing the story of one of the women I work with – is the first of these ideas to be realised.

“I approached Laura, one of the inmates who attends our Bible study, last year with the idea of the video and she was happy to share her story with me in the form of a written interview. I edited her words into a script, trying to keep her voice as audible as possible.

The homemade lightbox on which Anna made the video.

“My colleague Mary was encouraging and supportive by allowing me to have a block of time off normal prison ministry duties to work on the project. I spent some time trying to source a giant lightbox to use (or find someone to make one for me!) when my housemate Sharon, who is still quite dubious about the need to store the giant empty tomb from last year’s Easter service under my bed, suggested I make one. She was more than happy for me to turn our living space into an animation studio for the week so I set about constructing a makeshift lightbox.

Spanish version also available

“The only thing I bought was a large sheet of Perspex. I created the lightbox using Christmas lights and bedside lamps for the light source; the Perspex was supported with a wall of DVDs and books, and the camera was mounted in a plastic tray which chicken fillets had come in, with a hole cut out for the lens. It was supported on a frame consisting of boxes, stools and a pair of crutches held in place with broom handles, shoelaces, chopping boards and a pair of dumbbells.

“It was important to me that the sand came from the sand dunes surrounding the prison. However, this meant that it was actually quite polluted and dirty and probably wasn’t the easiest sand to work with. The actual process though was therapeutic for me as I experimented with the movements, chose the key frames with which to tell the story and then experimented with the transitions between each frame.

“I asked an acquaintance, Kim, to narrate for me as she is South African and I wanted the voiceover to be in English but with an accent that wasn’t from the UK or the USA. She happily agreed and I went around to her house to record her speaking. It was the middle of summer and sweltering hot. We waited for her children to go to bed and then shut all the windows and turned all the fans off. Sweating, we took take after take as we were interrupted by car horns, barking dogs, loud music and motorbikes revving.

“She turned to me and said “Shall I go and check if the recording studio downstairs is free?” I couldn’t believe it! She had rented out the ground floor to some friends who had a music studio and a surf shop (only in Peru!). It was available, so we were able to record both Spanish and English versions in a soundproof, air-conditioned booth. Give thanks that God often provides in very surprising ways.”

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