Making A Movie During Lockdown

As the Covid-19 lockdown was set in motion worldwide, we were warned that our nation would experience a ‘surge of violence’ in homes around the UK and that conditions such as these would serve as fuel for domestic abuse.

Yesterday, Women’s Correspondent – Maya Oppenheim published an article in the Independent entitled ‘Domestic abuse services bracing for ‘tsunami’ of victims coming forward as lockdown eases’.

She mentioned a report recently released by MP’s warning the pandemic would have “devastating consequences for a generation” if the government failed to urgently tackle the issue. Domestic violence has soared during the lockdown. We now know abuse killings have doubled, and consequently charity helplines have been hugely overwhelmed.

Having been thoroughly impassioned to try and raise awareness of this urgent issue our Nation (and the wider world – see this NY Times article) currently faces, I started writing a short film with this intention.

As well as putting our creativity to good use, our main goal is to give the film a platform to make it as widely available as possible in the hope it may help save lives and keep communities aware of what might be going on around them.

We would also like to make this film available to charities and organisations supporting families and individuals affected by domestic abuse to use in their own campaigns.

We believe film at its best can act as the most powerful empathetic tool, ‘A machine for generating empathy’ – Roger Ebert. Film is our language and a fantastic way of communicating the urgency of this issue. Our hope is that you feel, like us, that this film’s content and what it stands for is something important that needs more exposure at this time. But, to get it out there we will need your help – more on that later.

As many of you are aware, it is rare that films are in practical production at this time. Both myself and Richard Anthony Dunford – who have been working on this film since the beginning, both work primarily in the film industry. Sadly, due to Covid-19 productions have been halted across the world. Barely any projects within the film or television industry are being made, including any new charity or corporate films.

We have been creating ‘Out of View’ since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and are currently in Post-Production. To adhere to guidelines, we have been filming in one location around our families and commitments using our wits and enthusiasm to make it work. I even sat my family down to have a ‘production meeting’ before we started shooting. My dad made a brilliant 1st AD. Richard and I have not seen each other face to face since before the start of lockdown and have had to make specific choices about the most efficient style and use of equipment (box lights and an Iphone XR), albeit having been scripted with this in mind, to match it’s found footage style.

‘Out of View’ follows the lockdown experience of an everyday young woman named Kiera. Kiera has a chronic illness that affects her immune system and sits within the high-risk group. She opens up through a series of Facebook-live style ‘Self Isolation Day’ logs that chart, unbeknownst to her, her escalating abuse.

The script was carefully written & researched. It points to particular traits of mental and physical abuse. We sensitively use suggestion and character monologues to communicate this with the audience. There is no gratuitous violence on screen.

As the film plays out, we discover the manipulation and confusion Kiera is experiencing through a series of confessions. Bit by bit she slowly starts to lose sight of her identity. As Kiera’s lifelines begin to get cut off one by one and the film builds, we hope the audience will feel a rising sense of panic as Kiera’s vulnerable isolation sinks in.

Great question!

We are still working on the final edit. Up to this point we have funded this project ourselves. We have been able to keep costs down in Pre- and Post-Production so far due to using our industry pals and film making networks so far.

This is a short film that aims to shine light on a current National issue. Therefore, our biggest expense will be in distribution, to make sure it’s seen by as wide an audience as possible.

We have just set up a crowd funder on Kickstarter, if you think this may be something you can support do visit our page and please keep an eye out for updates. If we do not raise the target amount, we do not receive a penny.

We have carefully worked out a small minimum budget that we believe will get us on the first rung of the ladder. This will include entering the film into numerous festivals (costs include entry fees, deliverable’s – press kits etc.), and Publicity Tools. For me this has been an eye-opening exercise into film promotion and, the hefty realization as to why smaller films get lost, festival entries alone incur a hefty cost. If, by the grace of God we reach our budget we have a further list of steppingstones that would help propel us further forward.

This is a small non-profit short film, whilst shorts notoriously make little money, any proceeds the film makes will go to relevant charities.

Photo credit – Jian Xhin

If you are interested there are lots of ways that you can support us! Whether or not you can contribute financially, please help us get ‘Out of View’ into the world as far as is physically possible! Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are fantastic platforms for visibility and reaching people! The impact is huge and is super important for us! Your support would be unbelievably helpful.

We are also interested in hearing from charities or publications who might find this film useful. Please get in touch! By spreading the word, hopefully we will make even more of these connections.

We believe the more support there is, the more of a difference we can make. We look forward to partnering with you in this together!

If you’re impassioned like us & want to do something about this important issue we would encourage you to be available to those in your local community & be aware of what’s going on around you. If you are able, do support and keep up to date with domestic abuse charities local to you and those working further afield across the UK.

The household isolation instruction as a result of COVID-19 does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

If you believe you are being abused and you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police – the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.

Friends, family, neighbours and community members can be a vital lifeline to those living with domestic abuse.

If you suspect that any one close to you or those in your community are victims of domestic abuse, we encourage you to report it to the police.

Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which you can call for free, and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. It’s website provides guidance and support for potential victims, those who are concerned they might commit domestic abuse, as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones. It also has a form through which you can book a safe time for a call from the team.

For more information head to:

Useful links:

Refuge – ‘Refuge supports women, children & men experiencing domestic violence with a range of services.’ #Youarenotalone

Women’s Aid – ‘Until Women and Children are Safe’

Safe in Sussex – ‘Safe in Sussex is a registered charity providing help and support for people affected by domestic abuse in West Sussex.’

Domestic Violence – ‘Inspire Hope, be a voice that stands up against Domestic Violence.’ #Lovedosenthurt