Brave Alec gets to make his own Lego movie

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Alec Syphas suffers muscular dystrophy and wanted to make a Lego movie. Catherine Scott reports.

An eight year old who suffers from an incurable muscle-wasting condition has had his wish to make his own Lego movie come true.

Alec Syphas, who lives in Sheffield is living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The degenerative illness is increasingly limiting Alec’s movement and he uses a wheelchair to get around as well as taking medication.

Alec is a big Lego fan and creates new worlds with the bricks to give him an escape from the physical limitations of his illness.

Mum, Rachel, and Dad, Roy, turned to children’s charity Make-A-Wish UK to give Alec a chance to create the action and adventure he craved.

Alec chose his One True Wish – to write and direct his own Lego movie.

Alec Syphas with his mum and dad

Alec Syphas with his mum and dad

Wishgranter Dan worked with Alec and London-based creative studio, Picturesmith, to design a storyboard, and Alec devised a stop-motion adventure crafted entirely of Lego.

Dan arranged a special trip for Alec to stay at a London hotel, and then to travel by chauffeur-driven limousine to work on his movie.

As word spread about Alec’s wish, donations flooded in to Make-A-Wish, including Lego sets to help Alec create scenes for his movie.

And last month Alec, Rachel, Roy met Christian and his team at Picturesmith, who had been working on Alec’s movie in advance, ready for his arrival.

The Picturesmith team showed him the set-up and how to create a stop-motion sequence.

Alec designed the title frame for the film, chose characters and recorded a voice over and sound effects.

Earlier this month, Alec was overjoyed to receive the final version of his movie, titled ‘Saviour of Bat World’, to keep.

“We have reviews at hospital every six months, but there’s no cure for Alec so this wish, and his film, will be his legacy,” says Alec’s mum, Rachel Syphas.

“Alec is such an imaginative and creative child and he made a great director, asking questions and giving instructions.

“From start to finish he’s had an amazing time. Make-A-Wish has given Alec, his Dad and I memories that will last forever.

“Christian and all his colleagues at Picturesmith made everything so accessible for him. Thank you for an experience of a life time.

“Make-A-Wish gives children who’ve been through so much something to aspire to, an experience of completely their own design and something for them to be proud of, whatever their limitations. Alec has been truly inspired by his wish and is working on his next stop-motion Lego film using my phone now!”

Jo Micklewright, Director of Wishgranting at Make-A-Wish® UK said: “Alec came to us with an incredibly imaginative and exciting wish and we pulled out all the stops to make it a special experience for the family. We couldn’t have made this happen without the kind support of Picturesmith and all the members of the public who donated Lego sets.

“Children like Alec face many challenges, but we think that by providing quality time away from the daily realities of living with their condition we can give children hope for the future, strength to cope and resilience to fight their condition – whatever the future may hold.

“We hope Alec’s wish will give him and his family many happy memories.”

Christian Hopkins, Creative Director, Picturesmith said;

“When we were contacted by Make a Wish for this project we immediately said yes.

“It’s a wonderful charity and helping Alec to make his wish to be a Lego film director come true was such a fantastic challenge.

“We spent a week building all the sets and also made a start on the animation before Alec and his family came in to the studio.

“We had a really fun day with Alec, his mum and his dad who all got involved in directing, recording the voice over and creating some pretty awesome sound effects. We hope that Alec loves the film, we certainly loved being involved in making this happen.”

Make-A-Wish UK grants wishes to seriously ill children. More children than ever are turning to Make-A-Wish so every donation really makes a difference.

To make a donation to help other children experience their One True Wish or to find out more please visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk or telephone 01276 40 50 70.