Stephen's Story Video Goes Viral


When Mediakinetic were asked to work with Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK and Stephen Sutton, I don’t think any of us anticipated the phenomenal global media reaction to #StephensStory. 

We first met Stephen back in February for a pre-production meeting with Make-A-Wish to talk about creating a short documentary that would tell Stephen’s Story. His wish was to spread as much positivity as possible and for people to share his film.
Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK are an incredible charity that grant wishes to children and young people with life-threating illnesses. We’re very proud to work with them and Stephen’s wish illustrates the fantastic work they do.
It’s clear when you first meet 19-year-old Stephen, that he’s an intelligent, articulate young person, wise beyond his years. His drive and passion to make the most out of his time is simply astounding. He was diagnosed with incurable cancer over 2 years ago and hasn’t asked how long he has left to live. He measures his life in terms of his achievements rather than the time he has left, and encourages others to live fulfilling lives. In his words “Life is for living”.
When we began filming in March, Stephen’s fundraising total was just over £0.5 Million and he was embarking on a new target of £1million, an already staggering achievement. We were fortunate enough to film with friends, family, school teachers, local fundraisers and people that had been touched by #StephensStory. Each had incredible stories of Stephen’s outlook on life and his passionate message filled with positivity. It was clear he had affected a community and was already a local celebrity on the brink of national recognition. He had spoken at the O2, receiving a standing ovation, only achieved by the likes of Bill Clinton and David Beckham. He was already a hero, just not everyone knew it yet.

We filmed over 2 days with a Canon C300 and prime lenses to make the most of the intimate settings and changeable lighting conditions. With lightweight equipment we were able to move quickly to each location. It was the perfect camera and fantastic for post-production grading. The additional Philip bloom pocket dolly was also great for some sliding moves and tracks used in the opening titles. We love this piece of kit.

The final film was due to be released on 29th April, #worldwishday, to celebrate the amazing work Make-A-Wish International does. Between finalizing the film and the release date, Stephen’s condition took a dramatic turn for the worse. He was taken into hospital and the nation was gripped by the media coverage of his final “thumbs up” posted on his facebook page.

Celebrities and the public took to twitter to help Stephen reach his £1million fundraising target for Teenage Cancer Trust.
Stephen’s Just Giving page rocketed from £0.5 million to just over £3million in just over a week.
On Friday the same week, Stephen and Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK decided to release the film early in order to fulfill Stephen’s wish of spreading his positivity to as many people as possible. The film was uploaded to Stephen’s YouTube channel  and instantly went viral. It was picked up by every major news channel and shared on facebook and twitter.
At Mediakinetic we feel privileged and humbled to have been involved in helping to tell Stephen’s Story to as many people as possible. It was Stephen’s wish that as many people as possible share his film. His message is to live life to its fullest and take nothing for granted. Please take a few life-changing moments to watch his story “When life gives you cancer” and share with others.

We would also like to highlight the amazing work Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK do to make wishes like Stephen’s achievable. If you would like to make a donation please visit
Posted: 01/05/2014 09:42:55 by Lindsay Barker