Picturehouse and Refuge announce the start of a three year campaign



  • Domestic abuse is the biggest issue affecting women and children in our society today
  • Picturehouse and Refuge announce national partnership and awareness raising campaign
  • Prominent national cinema charity advertising campaign – Hide and Seek – launches to bring this hidden issue from the shadows into the public domain
  • £50,000 fundraising target by Christmas; the equivalent of 962 nights in emergency refuge accommodation

From 19 April 2019, Picturehouse and Refuge announce the start of a three year campaign to raise funds and awareness of domestic abuse; an issue which affects one woman in four in her life and around 800,000 children every year.  This insidious life and death issue remains poorly understood and hidden behind closed doors yet across the country today, thousands of women and children live in daily fear of violence and abuse in their own homes.

To launch the campaign the cinema group will run a powerful 60 second short film – called Hide and Seek – across its 25 Picturehouse Cinemas nationwide to shine a light on this shocking issue and raise awareness of the life-saving and life-changing support Refuge provides. The short film launches on Good Friday to maximise the high cinema traffic over the Easter holidays.

‘Hide and Seek’, created by creative agency BBH and directed by Lucy Bridger, highlights the fact that 90% of domestic abuse which takes place in a family home is witnessed and experienced by children.

The short film tells the story of a child  and his game of hide and seek. A little boy is seen playing, eyes covered and counting; as the film unfolds the viewer hears the sound of abuse in the background. It is soon evident that the child is not actually playing, but trying to escape his abusive father. Finally, we see him and his mum safe in a refuge, free to play.

The film draws attention to wider forms of domestic abuse, beyond the most noted physical violence, to coercive control. It draws into question the emotional and economic control many perpetrators have over their victims and hauntingly shares the frightening, but true reality experienced by so many up and down the country today. The immersive power of cinema brings to the big screen the harsh reality of domestic abuse and the profound effect the issue has on women and children; but also the positive and empowering change that support from Refuge can make to their lives.

Alongside the vital awareness Hide and Seek will raise, Picturehouse Cinemas has also set a target of raising £50,000 by Christmas to support Refuge’s financially challenged services.

Clare Binns Joint MD of Picturehouse Cinemas said: I’m delighted to have Refuge as our new charity partner. At Picturehouse, we believe cinema can really change lives and broaden perspectives. Seeing the work Refuge does and the transformative effect the services have on people’s lives makes this a charity we’re proud to be working with. Using our growing family of cinemas we can raise huge awareness and much-needed funds for the important work Refuge does. We can’t wait to get started.”

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge says: “Never before in Refuge’s history has such a major campaign been launched. The unprecedented exposure that Hide and Seek will receive by being aired before all ‘15’ certificate films that run from now for a minimum of three years, day in, day out, across all the screens housed in the 25 cinema locations is phenomenal.

“This unique opportunity will reach many women in need of support, as well as concerned friends and family members, giving them a way to access support.  The £50,000 fundraising target is also much needed – at a time when Refuge faces ongoing funding cuts and threats to running its services this funding provides essential support. We would like to thank all at Picturehouse for this momentous opportunity; never before has so much exposure been given to this issue which is often seen as too gritty and challenging to attract interest. With one in four women experiencing the issue and two women a week being killed by a current or former partner I have no doubt that the impact of this partnership will save and change many lives.”

Refuge’s work has attracted some brilliant ambassadors. These include Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, Helen Mirren, Fiona Bruce, Helena Bonham Carter, David Morrissey and Bafta and Oscar-winning actor Olivia Colman who starred in the shocking domestic abuse 2011 drama Tyrannosaur, as well as the multi-award-winning 2018 film The Favourite.

Speaking of the Picturehouse Partnership Colman said: “Picturehouse partnering with Refuge is a perfect way to connect huge audiences to important, life-saving matters. Cinema has an unequivocal power to create compassion and illumination for subjects we find difficult to talk about or recognise. Through Picturehouse’s partnership, thousands of people will be made aware of the crucial work of Refuge.”


Further information:    

Special thanks for making this important short film to BBH, Black Sheep Studios, Lucy Bridger, The Assembly Rooms, Framestore, 750mph.