The Story of Sanoma Learning

On July 1, 2014 by danielhalsall in Commissioned Work

about / vision

‘The Story of Sanoma Learning’ is a film that was used to introduce the new strategy of Sanoma’s Learning division, one of Europe’s leading learning companies. A big change in this strategy is a shift in focus on personalised learning. The brief was to make a film which would work well internationally. Usually films made to introduce strategies are dull and full of information, we tried to tackle things in a slightly different way by trying to make a more inspirational film, which spoke more on a feeling level then a logical one. Dreams and the potential of children formed the core of this story.


Daniel T. Halsall wrote and directed the film in conjunction with Christiaan Cats from , who shot and produced the film. For the film I tried to set the different story-settings apart by having a different colour palette for each setting; so you could instantly see; ah we are in Asia with the girl or in the Middle-East with the boy. 
The music and sound design was custom-made by , this was an essential part of our strategy to have the film hit people on more of a feeling level. Sound design and music is something that people often overlook, but having it done properly can add so much to the feel and quality of the film. Another thing we initially planned but ran into budget-constraints with was, I wanted to direct the voiceover and have a more human feel to it, someone telling a story instead of the usual wooden corporate voiceover.


During the shoot we had a lot of child-actors and children as extras, which is always a daunting task; kids, animals and boats are the things filmmakers usually try to avoid if they can. Shooting with them can be quite tricky. But actually it went very well, we had a great cast with which it was great fun to work and even the class of kids were extremely focussed and a pleasure to work with.
What turned out to be the most challenging was monks at a temple in Amsterdam which we used to simulate a piece of China. The monks showed up hours late to open the gates and weren’t to keen on the film production, which resulted in short shooting time. Never the less it turned out successfully. And in the end it turns out adults can learn a thing or two from kids ;).