I received an email in June from Gayle of the Human Trafficking Charity "Freedom Project Ireland." in late June. It tested my interest in a new project they were producing for the Unchosen - Film campaign against Human Trafficking. Gayle produced a strong point and conveyed a powerful passion for the issue. Something she was dedicated to getting made. I saw this straight away and knew I had to get involved as well. I'm constantly on the look for inspired, dedicated people to collaborate with in producing new exciting content for the screen.
Since I was in Belfast for a total of three weeks (due to other commitments in Dublin), there was a massively ambitious turn around from page to screen. I had to write the screenplay from scratch and wrap production all in just three weeks! Crazy! But who doesn't like a challenge.
The story follows Katerina, a woman from Slovakia trying hard to provide for her family, and her journey accepting work in Ireland as a Nanny. Only what she has been told isn't as originally agreed. Tricked and enslaved into Human Sex trafficking, she struggle to cope in desperate conditions. No Help, No Hope.
The story is hard-hitting and heavy going. Very, heavy going. It has to be. If I truly wanted to get audiences to open their eyes and widen their perception of what is really happening on their very own doorsteps; I had to shock them. Make them feel uncomfortable, sympathetic and appalled. I want them to come away from it, still thinking and still discussing the film and the issue within.
Once again, I managed to generate interest in the film. And once again, an overwhelming response from some amazing people who helped to get the project in the bag!
I was joined from the very beginning by Director of Photography, Drew Curran from pixol.co. Drew and I immediately hit it off with our shared interests in cinematography and everything and anything technical. He proved to contribute a whole lot to the film with tracking down lighting gear, grip equipment, camera lenses etc. An absolute pleasure to work with! He was very understanding that I in fact am very precious over the cinematography of projects I work on. He was able to work very closely with me in achieving the look I wanted. We shot the film on the Canon c100 w/ Ninja2 External Recorder for prores HQ output and Samyang cine lenses.
Shane McCaffrey was a hidden gem. He was involved from the very start and I don't know what I would have done without him! He was a powerhouse of contacts. Basically took on the role as Casting Director. I'd mention at a meeting who I needed to cast and he would be on to me two hours later with a long list of names and headshots. Seriously, true legend. I can't believe this is the first time that I have worked with him. Where have you been Shane! Very glad I have him on my radar now, because not only was he an essential resource, but he also proved to give a fierce performance. The role he took on had quite a high mental demand. It was truly terrifying (and I know I speak for all cast/crew who seen it) on set to see him transform from this lovable gent into this sinister, intimidating and dam scary Human Trafficker. Just before a take, I would see him pacing and whisper to the rest of the crew, "Don't disturb him, he's in the zone!" Love it!
The film has progressed amazingly fast and it was all thanks to those who gave their time to help. My AD's Edel McCormick and Erin O'Rawe, whom I would have been totally lost without! Some serious organizational skills for any production is a must. And they had them... and then some! Special thanks to my Gaffer/AC and Sound Recordist; Ciaran McIlhatton and Conall McLean. Although given certain positions, ended up multi-rolling throughout production. Fantastic Hair & Make-up design from Kerry Lawlor. Actually had forgotten she'd applied a bruise to Kate's face and end up gasping at the sight!
I feel as if I'm rambling on here... So I'll mention one more thing. James Everett, music composing genius. Enough said.
If you want to see the film it will be screening at the Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival on Friday the 6th of September (Movie House, Dublin Rd) and the Devour Film Festival on 9th September (Black Box, Hill Street). The film has also been shortlisted into the Unchosen Film competition and will be screening in London October 8th and then on afterwards all over UK & Ireland as part their Film campaign roadshow.
I'll leave you with the teaser trailer and yet another never seen before film poster by Leo McGuigan!