CAMBODIA — Global content company The Sweet Shop has teamed up with 17 Triggers, a Cambodian agency that focuses on development and social issues, to create a short animated piece for Friends-International. Directed by Julian Stokoe from Assortment, ‘Orphanage Factory’ is a strikingly bold film that follows the negative effects of a well-intentioned orphanage donation as it plucks a young girl from her family and puts her on a traumatic path of neglect, isolation and abuse.

“I am excited that this piece will work towards better outcomes for Cambodian families. The subject matter of the short required a semi-realistic and textural representation. This was achieved via traditional 2D animation using hand painted charcoals and sketched textures,” says Julian.

Developed for Friends-International’s ChildSafe Network, ‘Orphanage Factory’ was created to inform viewers about the over-saturation of Cambodian orphanages and point volunteers to opportunities that support long-term strategies like family welfare instead.


”This is a serious issue with a serious message”, adds Claire Davidson, Managing Director / Executive Producer of The Sweet Shop Asia/Mena.  “The work that Friends-International and 17 Triggers do resonates very strongly with myself and The Sweet Shop Asia as a company. It is always an honour for us to collaborate with clients who have such a strong social conscience and aim to better humanity.”

Formed in 2010, 17 Triggers is a marketing agency with goals that extend past just raising awareness. Taking a cue from mega corporations like Starbucks and BMW, 17 Triggers has developed a ‘customer service’ like approach to developmental aid issues by treating their beneficiaries not like take-it-or-leave-it recipients of goodwill, but rather highly specialised customers in need of a better service.

Through a multi-step process of analysis, testing and customer feedback, the company has been able to find real workable solutions that not only solve problems but also service needs and inspire positive change.

‘Orphanage Factory’ is one such solution and was designed to address many of the common misconceptions about Cambodian orphanages without having a negative impact on other, better-structured international services that may appear to be similar.

“Making people aware of the impact of their actions when dealing with such an emotive issue is a real challenge – that’s why as an agency we work incredibly closely with clients and stakeholders to understand the issues, and then transform them into creative work that resonates,” says Gordon Candelin, Former Creative Director of 17 Triggers.

Friends-International is a leading social enterprise that works with partners to support over 70,000 at risk children and families each year in South East Asia and around the world. By combining boots on the ground efforts with innovation, media and positive social messaging, programs like their ChildSafe Network have raised worldwide awareness of the many issues surrounding children placed in harmful institutions. ‘Orphanage Factory’ is yet another example of The Sweet Shop using its global presence to help deliver socially significant content where it is needed most.

Watch the animated film here.