Best charity videos – 18th May

This week’s round up of the best charity videos features films that make the most of some familiar music tracks and TV formats. Clever work from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and startling use of mobile phones from Children’s Eye Cancer Trust plus a sweet film from Save the Children.

1. Cure Eye Cancer with your phone: Childhood Eye Cancer Trust

An attention grabbing title that actually delivers what it promises, along with a clear script make this film a winner.

I’m sure that I remember a news story about a doctor who spotted that her friends child had an eye tumour by simply looking at pictures on Facebook. This film takes the idea further and shows how this deadly form of childhood cancer – Retinoblastoma –  can be detected using a smart phone with its flash switched on. It builds on the idea of the smartphone to work in a powerful call to action by encouraging people to use their phones to make a donation by text. Clever and clear. This film is running as part of World Rb Week and was made for CHECT – the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.


The longer version of this film, has racked up more than a million hits.

2. Den Day: Save the Children

This gentle spoof of Grand Designs delivers a charming story with beautiful photography.

This film features a group of young children building an elaborate den in their garden with a running commentary delivered by a boy who is channeling Kevin McCloud. The video tells the story of their build and the young Kevin’s comments combine the real Channel Four presenter’s mixture of wonder and just-the-right-side of pretentiousness to wonderful comic effect. Den Day is Save the Children’s den Day campaign to get children to build a sponsored den in their house or garden. The pay off is that the call to action is delivered by big Kevin himself. It’s already racked up a list of celeb supporters and there are even some copycat videos on YouTube that have been made by kids.

3. Looking For You: Battersea Dogs Home

An inventive and technologically innovative billboard campaign but the film lacks bite.

I always try to be positive in these reviews and to feature charity videos that I think are clever and witty or ground-breaking and this film is more of an accompaniment to a billboard campaign so it may be a little unfair to be critical of this film.  But whilst the tech and the idea of the interactive signs are wonderful, this film left me a little flat. The billboards show a digital dog that follows shoppers around the mall and interacts with them and my main problem is that the film doesn’t actually show you very clearly what is happening. Unless you already know what the premise is, the film doesn’t make it clear. Also, I’d certainly like to see more amusement or wonder from the passersby – as it is, the action follows a couple through the shopping mall but we don’t really get any strong reaction from them and the music track doesn’t allow for any natural sound from the couple.

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Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with casestudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

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