Lion Forge Animation, Which Won an Academy Award for the Viral “Hair Love,” Partners with Everytown on “Blossom,” Powerfully Illustrating the Experience of Joining Wear Orange
Now in Its 7th Year, Wear Orange Campaign Brings Together Hundreds of Thousands of Activists, Athletes, Artists, Businesses and Everyday Americans to Demand an End to Gun Violence
NEW YORK – Lion Forge Animation and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (Everytown) today launched an animated short in support of the 7th annual Wear Orange campaign, a nationwide movement calling for an end to gun violence. The film is the first collaboration between Lion Forge, which won an Academy Award for “Hair Love,” and Everytown. The animation, which is titled “Blossom,” depicts the journey of a young girl, devastated and scared after her friend is taken by gun violence. The girl struggles to cope with her sadness, eventually finding meaning and hope as part of Wear Orange and the movement to end gun violence. “Blossom” is viewable here.
“As a St. Louis-based studio, it’s hard to avoid the effect gun violence has on our beloved hometown,” said Carl Reed, president and chief creative officer of Lion Forge Animation, the nation’s leading Black-owned animation studio. “In ‘Blossom,’ we created an animated world that follows a story that’s all too real: a young Black girl, left traumatized by gun violence, and looking for a way to find meaning in what’s been taken from her. Putting this together, we were inspired by the origin story and boldness of the Wear Orange campaign. I hope that viewers will be inspired too, and join the millions of Americans calling for an end to gun violence.”
To create “Blossom,” Lion Forge drew on the experience of survivors of gun violence, including Nza-Ari Khepra, who co-founded Project Orange Tree following the death of her friend, Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed on a Chicago playground at the age of 15, and later co-founded the Wear Orange campaign. On June 2, 2015, which would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday, Americans wore orange to honor Hadiya, beginning the annual Wear Orange campaign. Today, Wear Orange begins with National Gun Violence Awareness Day, which takes place the first Friday in June, and continues with grassroots events throughout the weekend honoring Hadiya and the more than 100 Americans shot and killed every day, as well as the hundreds more who are wounded.
“The story of ‘Blossom’ is deeply relatable for so many Americans – particularly Black families, who are disproportionately impacted by gun violence,” said Nza-Ari Khepra, co-founder of Project Orange Tree and the Wear Orange campaign. “In honor of Hadiya and everyone whose life has been taken or forever changed by gun violence, we must act. With 100 people shot and killed every day in America and hundreds more wounded, it’s only a matter of time before this crisis hits all of us personally. We must do everything we can to demand change.”
The “Blossom” collaboration with Lion Forge is Everytown’s second foray into animated shorts. Everytown previously worked with directors Will McCormack and Michael Govier on “If Anything Happens I Love You,” which depicts parents struggling with the trauma of a child taken by gun violence, and won the 2021 Academy Award for best animated short film.
“Animation, with its ability to move quickly between the real world and the metaphorical, is well-suited to depict the difficult topic of gun violence and the trauma that it leaves in so many communities,” said Noelle Howey, Senior Director of Cultural Engagement at Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re grateful to the Lion Forge team for working with us on this incredible project, and creating a film that so clearly shows how joining the movement to help end gun violence can be healing for so many survivors who want – and deserve – the attention of our leaders.”