Treasure tells two irrevocably intertwined stories, centuries apart; a treasure hunter’s tenacious quest across the British countryside, and a community led by a mother whose precious sacrifice provides a connection through the ages.

Watercolour paintings and hand drawn animation create a timeless and beautiful celebration of the enduring power of love and human connection. Layers of colour, light, and texture bring to life the atmospheric 3,000 year old narratives that have shaped the landscape of Shropshire on the border between England and Wales.

Samantha Moore has worked with a team of archaeologists and historians from Shropshire and the British Museum to make sure that this evocation is authentically portrayed. Elizabeth Purnell’s score beautifully carries the emotional weight of a community centred on the sun, and a man whose obsession leads him to discover a spectacular treasure.

The discovery of the Shropshire sun pendant in 2018 was the most significant finding from that culture in Europe in a hundred years. Its pristine crafting, evoking the suns rays, calls into question everything we think we know about the community that made and eventually sacrificed it.

  • Samantha Moore
    Bloomers, Loop, Shadow Stories, An Eyeful of Sound, doubled up
  • Abigail Addison
    I'm OK, Bloomers, Nude Triumphant, Chado, The Flounder, Loop, Sleepless
  • Elizabeth Purnell
    Black Mirror, Annihilation, Devs, The Great Fire, Wildlife on One
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short
  • Genres:
    Docu-Drama, Historical Drama, Ethnographic, Anthropological, Archaeological
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 14, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Norwich Film Festival
  • London International Animation Festival
Director Biography - Samantha Moore

Sam is an award winning animated documentary maker. She loves the joyfulness and eclectic nature of animation. No one ever finds animation intimidating, and yet it can convey complex or challenging ideas to a wide audience in an engaging way. Sam has made work on diverse subjects, from competitive sweet-pea growing, to cutting edge microbiology, and her own experience of having twins. Her most recent film Bloomers (2019) was about a knicker factory in Manchester and has won several awards including ‘Best British Film’ at London International Animation Festival and was nominated for a British Animation Award.

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Director Statement

Making a film about a 3,000 year old object that no one really knows the purpose of is a daunting task. The sun pendant is intensely beautiful and had retained the crisp freshness of the engraved lines despite having languished under the earth for so long. Everyone who had seen it in real life said that it appeared to be alive; the way the light played off the faceted design meant that it appeared to breathe when it was touched by light. Making the connection between the precious object and the precious baby seemed like a good way of creating an emotional connection in the film. The music sound by Elizabeth Purnell describes and guides us through the narrative with delicate poignancy and humour, emphasising the emotional cost of the sacrifices made.

Treasure is partly a love song to the Shropshire hills. It was made building up luminous layers of hand painted watercolour backgrounds combined with 2D hand drawn animation, which is created digitally but retains its hand made roots. The animation was hand coloured frame by frame to retain the tactile feeling of analogue animation. An important element was rendering the light in the film, so much so that it became a character in the film, heralding important events and signalling the emotional inner life of our silent protagonists.