In an effort to engage Persian-speaking children with stories about Jesus, the creative team at SAT-7 Persia are producing a new animated Bible series. These unique animations depicting the life of Christ are bound to draw the attention of children and adults alike.
In the SAT-7 PARS studio in Limassol, volunteers and staff have been patiently hand-crafting props for a unique new animation. After months of hard work, the elements are finally coming together to create an impressive miniature world.
The team are filming the first episode of Bible Stories, a series of short animations that bring gospel accounts to life in chronological order, sharing the life of Jesus in a unique and engaging way for children.
The stars of the show are hand-drawn paper stick puppets. Each tiny character slots into a horizontal groove running along the set. To bring the characters to life, the ‘puppet master’ moves them from beneath the platform. Unable to see what happens on the set of the miniature world, the puppeteers rely on a television screen set up at their level which mirrors what is being recorded and shows them what is happening above.
The result is a unique and fascinating animation style, which Director and Producer Mironas Leys hopes will appeal to children of all ages.
“The set is full of tangible, real objects, which makes it feel more ‘real’ than a digital cartoon,” Mironas explains. “I hope that it will make the stories more interesting and understandable for the children, and maybe even teenagers.”
“We have never made a program like this at SAT-7 before,” he shares. “When I was a kid there were animations like this that I used to watch, and I really enjoyed them. I learned a lot from those shows, so I thought this could be an effective way to teach kids about Jesus.”
Mironas grew up in Iran and did not learn about Jesus until later in life. “That was my inspiration for this show,” he explains.
“In Iran, children do not learn about Jesus or Christianity -there are very few sources of information. But through this program we can teach children from an early age about Jesus. Even very young children can enjoy this kind of animation.”
As well as appealing to a wide range of ages, the animation can also be voiced over in any language. It could therefore also be used by SAT-7’s Arabic and Turkish Channels to reach children across the MENA region.
Setting up the stick puppets, moving them across the set and timing the movements correctly is a meticulous and time-consuming process. It takes a full day of filming to produce the five-minute clips. However, it is the thought of the children who will one day benefit from these programs which drives Mironas and the team to persevere.
“My hope is that the children who grow up watching this show will remember these stories, and that they will come to know who Jesus really is.”