£220
pledged of £1,700pledged of £1,700 goal
3
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, November 8 2014 3:51 PM UTC +00:00
£220
pledged of £1,700pledged of £1,700 goal
3
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, November 8 2014 3:51 PM UTC +00:00

About

The Merciless Beauty is a modern-day adaptation of 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' (a poem by John Keats) – a timeless tale of love, infatuation and melancholic desire, in which an errant knight becomes obsessed with a mysterious beauty who ultimately lures him to his doom.

Frank Cadogan Cowper's La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Frank Cadogan Cowper's La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Our version is a subtle re-telling, focusing on a 21st century return of the beauty and the farmhand she meets and ensnares.

It's an exciting concept to take a poem and adapt it for short film: the mediums complement each other and, as paintings were to the Pre Raphaelite brotherhood in pre-cinema times, the moving image is a perfect alternative to the poetry of the written word.

Dicksee's La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Dicksee's La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Michael's approach to short film is primarily to tell a story: to entertain and transport the viewer to a different place and to hark back to the escapism of myth and wonderment.

This is why 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' appeals so much to him: it takes the classic archetype of the beautiful female and spins a yarn that is representative of the very human-oriented mixed emotions of desire and love, ecstasy and melancholy, that two mutually attracted souls feel towards each other. 

original production design
original production design

If you want to hear the original source material recited wonderfully by Ben Wishaw (in the film Bright Star, in which he played John Keats), please watch this video:

The chosen location that would best suit the classic theme of love in this film is the epic landscape of the Lake District.

Therefore we are asking for your help to send our small crew up to the Lake District to film for four days. We need a £5,000 budget to make this film, which will be used to transport, feed and accommodate the skeleton crew, as well as paying each a token amount for their hard work!

We also have to pay for camera and sound equipment hire, and insurance, as well as paying the National Trust to film on their land.

Where your money will be spent:

We have already raised a significant amount of the budget and require at least another £1700 to make this film a reality, hence this Kickstarter campaign.

Waterhouse's La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Waterhouse's La Belle Dame Sans Merci

DIRECTOR - MICHAEL GROOM

Michael Groom
Michael Groom

Michael has worked in film since 2003. He cut his teeth working with director Michael Winterbottom and went on to work on many British and American films that were shot in the UK, in a variety of roles covering pre-production, production, post-production, and delivery.

Michael (represented by Andrew Mills) has feature scripts in development and has made short films. His latest short The Selkie’s Lover (with Shirley Henderson) is currently doing well in the festival circuit. Please message us if you'd like the private Vimeo link. The Merciless Beauty is his most ambitious short film yet and reflects his love of all things mystical and the awesome power of location (in this instance, Michael’s native Lake District).

Michael Groom
Michael Groom

You can check out Michael's IMDB page and find out more about The Selkie's Lover on www.theselkieslover.com. He is represented by Andrew Mills.

PRODUCER - EMILIA REID

Emilia Reid
Emilia Reid

Emilia's career spans both producing, directing and acting. Her directorial debut The Dinner Party (with Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville) was selected for The London Short Film Festival 2014.

The Dinner Party
The Dinner Party

She has also worked on several feature films such as Fast Girls and Belle in pre production, production and post production.

You can check out her website for more info: www.erfilms.co.uk.

LEAD ACTRESS - DAISY HUGHES

Daisy Hughes, lead actress
Daisy Hughes, lead actress

Daisy will play the role of the Beauty. She played series regular Cynthia Horrocks in Granada's The Worst Witch before attending RADA and graduating in 2012. 

Daisy has since worked at The Southwark Playhouse, Theatre 503, Soho Theatre, and Shakespeare's Globe where she played Phyllida in Gallathea andMarie in Eternal Love. She is currently performing in Doctor Scroggy's War at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Film credits include playing Iona in Kids in Love

LEAD ACTOR - RICHARD RIDDELL

Richard Riddell, lead actor
Richard Riddell, lead actor

Richard Riddell graduated from RADA in 2006 and will play the role of Johnny, the farm-hand who falls under the Beauty's spell.

He has just finished shooting on the new Star Wars Episode VII directed by JJ Abrams. He previous film work includes The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam), Robin Hood (Ridley Scott), Legend (Brian Helgeland) and Blitz (Elliot Lester). 

His most recent TV job was in Penny Dreadful and he has also appeared on MisfitsMerlinWaking the Dead and some comedies for American companies such as NBC and Comedy Central. 

In theatre he has worked at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe, in London's West End, as well as plays at theatres such as the Royal Court and the Almeida.

SUPPORTING ACTOR - JAMES SPEAKMAN

James Speakman
James Speakman

James is a Cumbrian-based, trained actor, who's worked extensively on stage and has featured in various short films and TV adverts. He will play Neil, Johnny's friend.

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY - LUKE BRYANT

Luke Bryant, DOP
Luke Bryant, DOP

A fortuitous meeting led Emilia to Luke, whose style of filming was perfectly suited to The Merciless Beauty and the natural beauty of the Lake District. Luke has shot a number of features and award winning shorts such as BFI/IFTA-nominated short SLR (starring Liam Cunningham), Shades of Beige (starring Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery) and Is This a Joke?(starring Russel Tovey).

www.lukebryant.co.uk

NAMKWAN CHO - COMPOSER

Namkwan Cho, composer
Namkwan Cho, composer

Namkwan Cho is a talented musician and composer of ambient, post-rock, dream-pop music (which will perfectly complement the tone of The Merciless Beauty).

His score for Michael's previous short film The Selkie's Lover garnered a lot of praise at its many festivals and screenings.

BOTTOMLINE...

Quality story-telling is of paramount importance to the team, and if you can help us raise our budget, you will have assisted in the telling of a stunning, haunting and entertaining fable, to be screened on the worldwide festival circuit.

storyboards for The Merciless Beauty
storyboards for The Merciless Beauty

THE LOCATION - The Lake District

Having worked on films shot in British landscapes, Michael champions projects that are locations-based and make the most of the natural resources on offer to filmmakers in this country.

The wonder and vivid energy of the Lakes will translate onto film to create a moody and dramatic, head-turning spectacle that demands your attention from the off.

Michael grew up in the Lake District and knows it well – all the hidden gems away from the more-often trodden tourist tracks (every photograph here is where we'll film). He knows exactly the locations to use in this piece: he is eager and hungry to do so, and to share the resultant product with the world’s film festivals.

So, we’d love for you to help us realise this vision. If you cannot help monetarily, please spread the word to those that potentially could: Kickstarter has some fantastic sharing tools! We’d be eternally grateful!

Risks and challenges

We've already raised at least half the budget for the short film. We need at least another £1700 for such expenditures as permits to shoot on the National Trust's land in the Lake District.

We also need insurance... Add to that camera hire and post-production costs...

Hence the Kickstarter campaign.

Michael has worked in film since 2003 and has had this project in development since 2009. He's tried on a few occasions to raise the money to make this short film, and twice getting close to it becoming an actuality. The idea has never gone away, and whilst it's occasionally gone on the back burner whilst Michael focuses on something else, it's always been anchored in his mind and has recently drifted back to the forefront of it.

Michael has experienced many of the challenged that any filmmaker faces and has witnessed other filmmakers deal with them too. He knows that necessity is the mother of invention, and is mindful of that in his approach to film, whilst at the same time planning ahead to more likely foresee any difficulties.

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    We will thank you personally via our social media accounts and make sure every one knows you helped us make the film!

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    Digital Supporter

    Own the film! You will receive a digital download of the film plus exclusive Behind The Scenes Updates

    BTS updates include:
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    Not keen on digital downloads? For £25 we will send you a DVD of the film plus exclusive Behind The Scenes updates.

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    Thank You credit

    You will receive a 'Thank You' credit on the film. You will also receive a DVD or digital download of the film, as well as BTS updates.

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    Script feedback

    Michael will read your script and give you feedback. Michael has been writing for over ten years and got his first agent (at PFD) when he was 24. He's also had a lot of script reporting experience and in the development of other films.

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    Special Thanks

    You will receive a 'Special Thanks' credit on the film and a cast and crew screening invite. You will also receive a DVD or digital download and BTS updates.

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    Be an extra!

    You can appear in the film! We have a scene in a local pub for which we need five extras. If you can make your way to Cumbria, then we would love you have you join us and be part of the film.

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    Sponsorship - prominently add your company logo to the closing credits of the film (in a title card format on screen for the same length of time as any other title card in the credits and displayed after the rolling credits).

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    Meet the filmmaker

    Michael invites you to have lunch with him at a place and time suitable to you both (he's paying) and chat about all things film-related (or not). He will go over the entire process of making The Merciless Beauty. Maybe you're interested in making your own film and want to ask about how to get such a project off the ground. If you have a script, Michael will be happy to read it, give advice and talk you through the next steps you might want to take with it.

    You will also get a 'Special thanks' credit, a copy of the film, BTS updates and a copy of the script.

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    Associate Producer

    A credit of Associate Producer is yours with this donation. This credit will appear on IMDB, as well as at the end of the film. You will be be invited to the premiere: a private screening with the cast and crew, and receive a copy of the film, BTS updates and a lovingly prepared copy of the script.

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    Executive Producer

    As an an Executive Producer of the film you are one of our biggest donators. Your credit will appear at the beginning of the film as well as being listed on IMDB. You will also receive: an invite to the premiere - a private screening with the cast and crew with a reception, where you will meet all of us and can ask us anything about the process; a copy of the film; a lovingly bound script; and BTS updates.

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    Super Executive

    Not only will you be an Executive Producer on the film and receive all of the above perks, but we will also invite you up to the Lake District with us to get involved with the entire shoot. Accommodation will be provided by us.

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Funding period

- (30 days)