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9 February 2021

Planet-sized ambition.

by Andrew MacGregor


Water Aid: “The Girl Who Built A Rocket” - 90s

Neeraja Raj directs this painterly commercial for WaterAid, who also recruit adland's favourite newsreader Trevor McDonald as narrator. The former ITN man reveals that water has been found on Mars, inspiring one budding astronaut to try and help her parched community.

Set in rural Madagascar, the film uses a skilfully controlled colour palette that emphasises both the beauty and the predicament of Fara's home. As the sun bounces off her DIY rocket ship, imagination and desperation beyond her years collide.

The subsequent launch is vividly rendered, as is the inevitable crash landing and rescue mission. Even if McDonald’s closing line sounds like an audition for a straight-to-video revenge thriller ("This…is personal"), Raj's film still has charm to spare.


Film Production: Nexus Studios Ⓟ Ⓦ
Director: Neeraja Raj Ⓦ
Sound Design: String and Tins Ⓟ Ⓦ
Voiceover: Trevor McDonald
Music: Life on Mars - David Bowie (cover)

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