Award for film’s serious message

They Call Us Maids: The Domestic Workers Story, received the Best Short Screenplay Award in Los Angeles International Philippine Film Festival.

They Call Us Maids: The Domestic Workers Story, received the Best Short Screenplay Award in Los Angeles International Philippine Film Festival.

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An animated film made in Leeds about migrant domestic workers has scooped a gong at an international film festival.

Leeds Animation Workshop’s latest film, ‘They Call Us Maids: The Domestic Workers’ Story,’ received the Best Short Screenplay Award in Los Angeles International Philippine Film Festival.

The seven-minute film, which was chosen from among 2,000 global submissions for screening in the festival, tells the story of thousands of women from very poor backgrounds in the Philippines, Indonesia, South East Asia or Africa who have to work abroad to support their families. Most are sent to Middle Eastern countries but many have found themselves visiting the UK with their employers and some have ended up here in Yorkshire.

A Leeds Animation Workshop spokeswoman said: “Migrant domestic workers tend to be isolated and vulnerable. They are often exploited, abused or treated as slaves. But if they do end up in the UK, many manage to escape.”

A self-help organisation which assists ‘maids’ in Leeds, asked Leeds Animation Workshop to make a film about their experiences, to raise awareness and help their campaign to end modern-day slavery.

The spokeswoman said: “These women need fair working conditions, and the right to leave a bad employer and find a better job. Many have experienced terrible suffering. The need was so urgent that even though we had only enough funding just to begin the project, we began work, hoping to raise the rest of the budget as we went along.”

The film, which has also been short-listed for a Research in the Arts - Innovation Award by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was entirely hand painted and animated by Roundhay artist Jo Dunn.

Gill Dalley.

Tribute paid to Leeds-born champion of animal welfare