Eight teams have been selected from the iFeatures slate for further development funding, as the UK’s most exciting low budget feature film initiative from Creative England enters its full development phase.
In early 2015, three of the projects will be greenlit. Partners Creative England, the BFI and BBC Films will fully-finance, with the BBC pre-buying UK free TV rights. The accompanying professional development programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund.
Christopher Granier-Deferre, iFeatures Executive Producer, said: “Covering a wide range of genres from dark unsettling thrillers to intoxicating period dramas while tackling the universal themes of grief, guilt and pride, and raising thought-provoking questions about religious, racial and sexual identity across a variety of locations, the eight filmmaking teams represent an eclectic mix of stories and illustrate the rich diversity of voices and ideas to be found in the English regions.
“Selecting the eight teams for full development was an incredibly tough process for the panel. This was a remarkably rich cohort and I can't praise the departing teams enough for all the hard work they put in to get this far. I know we've not heard the last of these wonderful projects by any means.”
For more information on iFeatures visit www.ifeatures.co.uk
The Shortlisted 8:
19-year old Bobby lives a solitary existence, scratching a living off the fenlands. His dad and last known relative shot himself when he was twelve. The only real human interaction Bobby has is with the itinerant vegetable pickers who come for the season. This year, Katerina from Serbia and Pavel from Bosnia, make up his surrogate family and Bobby finds himself falling in love for the first time with Katerina. When their Gangmaster drunkenly tries to force himself on Katerina, the trio kill him and bury the body. As the finger of suspicion is pointed their way, Bobby has to lead them to safety before going back to his isolated plot of land. But the journey forces Bobby to consider whether he should return alone or try to make a new life with his friends.
Setting: East Anglian, Fenlands
Writer/Director: Rupert Raby
Producers: Andrew Start and Yaw Basoah
White sisters Nat (22) and Max (19) are devoted to each other and to their faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their mission is to convert the large Pakistani community of Oldham before Judgement Day. But when Nat survives a severe car accident, she discovers her sister allowed her a blood transfusion. Nat’s life is thrown into turmoil. Max refuses to repent; Nat and the congregation have no choice but to cast her out. Pained by the decision, Nat becomes troubled by terrifying images of worldly destruction. When the great day of Armageddon is finally announced, Nat is determined to lead her sister back into the light. But Nat’s increasing efforts to save Max draw her into a world of uncertainty and confusion. Nat must decide if the depth of her love for her sister is strong enough to defy her God Jehovah.
Setting: Oldham, North West
Director: Dan Kokotajlo Writer: Charlotte Wise
Producers: Marcie MacLellan and Mike Elliot
The Last Tree
Daniel, black, 30, is a charismatic Journalist based in Birmingham, who was raised by white adoptive parents in Lincolnshire. After being diagnosed with an illness, Daniel is forced to go on a transformative and surreal journey across the English Landscape to find his biological father, in need of his help. Distorted realities, spirituality and British and Nigerian culture collide as Daniel’s future merges with his past.
Setting: Birmingham, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Cumbria
Writer/Director: Shola Amoo
Producer: Lee Thomas
Gone From Here
Summer is drawing to a close in small-town suburban Manchester, but the reckless 25-year-old Daniel continues to milk it for all it’s worth. With his younger, more reserved brother Jamie at his side, fun comes in the form of joyriding, girls and drugs - but the good times come to a sober end when a tragedy strikes and Jamie disappears. Daniel is left to deal with their devastated proud Mother and faces challenging questions about Jamie’s recent state of mind.
Writer/Director: Lewis Metcalfe
Producer: Lauren Pouchly
Marooned in an isolated house in the wilds of nineteenth century Northumberland, the childless and friendless Katherine is stifled by her marriage of convenience to a rich industrialist twice her age. She misses the barefoot freedom of her childhood and finds nothing in her existence to hold, to love, to occupy her for even the briefest of moments. Then she meets Sebastian, a farm worker on her husband's estate, and her life is altered irrevocably. Sebastian seduces the lonely Katherine, not realising that her passion, once ignited, will burn so fiercely that she will stop at nothing to keep him.
Director: William Oldroyd
Writer: Alice Birch
Producer: Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
God's Own Country
Johnny's family have worked the land on a Yorkshire Pennine smallholding for generations. With his father partly paralysed by a stroke and his grandmother now too old to work, responsibility passes to 22-year-old Johnny. Yet his world is thrown into confusion when his elders draft in Gheorghe, a twenty-something Romanian migrant worker, to help with the week of lambing.
Setting: The Pennines
Writer/Director: Francis Lee
Producers: Manon Ardisson and Jack Tarling
Clover, 25, returns home to her Somerset family farm for her beloved brother Charlie’s 21st birthday party. She promises him she won’t argue with their father AUBREY that weekend despite his pompous campaigning for Tory councillor. After a drunken argument with Clover, Charlie shoots himself using an old gun of Aubrey’s. Heartbroken, Clover is desperate to know if this suicide was her fault, and she starts to investigate what what has been going on in his life. As she discovers how hard it has been on the farm since the floods a few months earlier, and how Aubrey has abandoned Charlie to run the farm since the disaster, she accuses Aubrey of being the one to blame for Charlie’s suicide. Just as she thinks she has the answers, she discovers a secret that Aubrey had told Charlie alone - and doing so realises that noone is innocent in this tragedy.
Writer/Director: Hope Dickson Leach
Producer: Rachel Robey
When Ceci’s son kills himself she becomes unhinged by overwhelming grief; fearful of her loss, the repressed middle-class society she inhabits abandons her.
Feeling completely alone in her pain, Ceci looks elsewhere, anywhere to ease it. Knowing that her son had a Psychoanalyst, she considers asking him for help; but unable to admit his suicide, she pretends that her son has left home. Outside of the therapy rooms Ceci notices the Shrink’s very alive teenage son, Tom. Impulsively taken by Tom, she begins to stalk him, seduce him and fuck him.
Between father and son, therapy and sex, motherhood and passion, Ceci experiences the beautiful dirt, chaos and imperfections of her life. When faced with the shrink’s son’s inevitable heartbreak, all of Ceci’s self-deception is exposed and she finally confronts the suffering that her son experienced in the perfectionist world that she and her husband had created.
Setting: East Sussex
Writer/Director: Camille Griffin
Producer: Sarah Brocklehurst