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Nelson the Giant: The journey continues

Nelson the Giant: The journey continues

In May 2021, we first reported on voestalpine employee Sandy Gemmill and her heart project “Nelson the Giant“. Almost two and a half years later, she tells us where Nelson’s journey toward more empathy has taken him.

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A Dream come True

"It really has been an incredible journey," says Sandy Gemmill, summarizing the events and developments following our first report on Nelson the Giant. At the time, she had just met Scottish filmmaker Matthew Todd and and was on her way to making her big dream come true: to make the story of the gentle giant “Nelson the Giant“ into a short film. Today, her dream is a reality, as an optimistic 15-minute educational social-emotional film for children now supports Sandy Gemmill’s mission of spreading more compassion worldwide.

Screening the film

On September 2, 2023, Sandy Gemmill travelled to Glasgow, Scotland, to meet members of the film team at a private Cast and Crew Screening at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. The event proved to be a heartfelt boost of confidence that the film would indeed touch hearts and make a positive difference in schools and communities around the world.

On November 19, 2023, in recognition of National Bullying Awareness Week, the first official community screening of the short film took place at a movie theatre in Milton (a suburb of Toronto), Canada. Mayor Gordon Krantz of Milton, Ontario, was the Distinguished Keynote Speaker. Additional speakers were Sean Rogister, the film’s Executive Producer; Child and Youth Care Practitioner, Kate Pipe; Co-Founder of The Dads of Milton, James Secondino; Kim Jesch, Milton Youth Theatre Productions; and further support was kindly provided by The Special Friends Network.

A giant on a journey: Having come a long way together

Sandy Gemmill worked with Matthew Todd for almost two and a half years to bring the message of ‘Nelson the Giant’ to life on film. During this time, the project was able to win over numerous supporters worldwide: From “The Dads of Milton“, one of the largest community organizations in Milton, with 2,600 members; to Anthony White, a multimedia composer and conductor, based in Scotland; to international actors, Kerry Browne, Olivia Anastasiades, Jonah Paull, Andrei Eliseev, and Sergio Reifs; to a young British singer, Cormac Thompson, who in 2020, at the age of just 11, became the youngest singer ever to be signed by global record label, Decca (Universal Music Group). For the film, Cormac sang the title song “Far Across the Playground“, composed by Sandy Gemmill and arranged and orchestrated for the film, by Anthony White.

7 Kinder stehen vor der Leinwand und singen bei der Vorführung des Films über Nelson The Giant

A Premise with Purpose

In the short film, three children go on an exciting journey – a Fantasy Journey which sheds light on the topic of prejudgment, and, ultimately, the true meaning of compassion and friendship. In this case, a young international student struggles with social and emotional challenges as he settles into a new culture. With ‘Nelson the Giant’s’ example of kindness, the journey ends with a deep understanding of empathy and compassion among the students.

Nelson the Giant’ is perhaps needed today more than ever. The importance of empathy and compassion continues to grow, as difficult conversations and feelings of fear and prejudice develop in the face of current crises around the globe.

Sandy Gemmil
Management Assistant, voestalpine Rotec North America Corp in Ontario

Staying Focused

Sandy Gemmill knows that the film’s simple, yet profound message is more relevant than ever – this message extends far beyond childhood and the school environment. It is imperative and should be of great importance to everyone, in all stages of life.

It is also the current relevance of the subject that motivates Sandy Gemmill to continue pursuing her “heart” project with passion. “It’s not just about the film. Seeing how much the message of empathy resonates with children, youth, and adults around the world, validates the need of spreading that message and compels me to continue on this journey.” says Sandy Gemmill.

A message on the pulse of time

Together with ‘Nelson the Giant’s’ global supporters, Sandy Gemmill will continue to raise awareness for the importance of empathy and hopes to make the short film available in different languages with accompanying teaching guides and lesson plans for educators and caregivers. She also hopes to continue screening the film in surrounding communities, followed by a major premiere event with a live performance in 2024, to make the music and the experience of ‘Nelson the Giant’ even more tangible.

The impressive story of Nelson the Giant shows how much the initiative of each individual can achieve. We therefore not only fulfil our social responsibility directly within the company, but also support our employees in their personal social commitment to projects close to their hearts.

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Die voestalpine ist ein weltweit führender Stahl- und Technologiekonzern mit kombinierter Werkstoff- und Verarbeitungskompetenz. Die global tätige Unternehmensgruppe verfügt über rund 500 Konzerngesellschaften und -standorte in mehr als 50 Ländern auf allen fünf Kontinenten. Sie notiert seit 1995 an der Wiener Börse. Mit ihren Premium-Produkt- und Systemlösungen zählt sie zu den führenden Partnern der Automobil- und Hausgeräteindustrie sowie der Luftfahrt- und Öl- & Gasindustrie und ist darüber hinaus Weltmarktführer bei Bahninfrastruktursystemen, bei Werkzeugstahl und Spezialprofilen. Die voestalpine bekennt sich zu den globalen Klimazielen und verfolgt mit greentec steel einen klaren Plan zur Dekarbonisierung der Stahlproduktion.