Who makes our children’s toys? The cruel twist is that they are often made by other children. In Toy Stories, a feature documentary made in collaboration with Wishing Step Pictures, we reveal a hidden world of child and forced labourers in India, of sweatshop workers in China – and those who fight to end the abuse.
Why focus on toys?
This is a story that needs to be told: the joy and innocence of toys conceal the fact that forced and child labour are used in their making. Cheap, disposable toys have propelled this manufacturing and retail sector into a US$90 billion a year industry. But it’s very hard to know where a toy comes from, or what goes into it. Nobody wants a toy to be dangerous to a child, but what about the people who labour to make the toys? What if people are suffering so that our kids can play?
Toy Stories is a long-form documentary that will reveal what goes into the making of a ‘fashion doll’, like Barbie or Bratz. We will tell the personal, dramatic stories of the people who make these toys and expose the hidden abuses of a global supply chain. They range from imprisoned teenage fabric workers in India, to struggling migrant labourers in China, to small-time manufacturers squeezed by big international chains, to working families in Canada.
One movie, many stories
Wishing Step Pictures is experimenting with cutting-edge interactive platforms to create an interactive version of the film, to be released alongside the linear version. Clickable tags on the screen will allow viewers to follow different storylines, including coverage of forced labour in the apparel and fireworks industries. Clickable pop-up boxes will allow them to learn more about the objects, people, and buildings that appear on the screen. Integrated snippets of virtual reality content dispersed throughout the film will offer the viewer an opportunity to experience a seamless transition to a 360-degree perspective of some of the most imposing settings of the film.
Additional features such as chapterization, interviews manoeuvrable by individual question, video sliders, and hot links further put the storytelling decisions in the hands of the viewer. The film is currently slated for release in the second quarter of 2019.