JULIET REMEMBERED is about an actress with Alzheimer’s disease who has been transferred to a carehome after the death of her husband. Although she cannot remember day-to-day things, or even recognize her son when he visits, she can remember every word of her most famous role: Shakespeare’s Juliet.
What if you could only communicate through Shakespeare's words? Is Juliet constricted by this or do his words transcend experience to strangely beautify her disease?
Shakespeare has given us a feisty, passionate young heroine in Juliet. But in JULIET REMEMBERED, exploring this iconic character through the “lens” of an older actress, urges us to see both the actress and Shakespeare’s character in a new light. The effect of having a seasoned and well-respected stage actress playing a role that is traditionally for the ingenue both challenges our cultural fetishization of youth and refutes the notion that passionate love is only for the young. In this film, the role becomes charged with all the life and loss that our “Juliet” has lived through.
LOOK & FEEL
The stark winter light and the muted palette of greys and browns will themselves almost be a character in this film. Juliet, a lone figure of beauty and life, will be surrounded by the harshness of winter and the hard surfaces and clinical coldness of a care home. Moments of golden light (a precursor to the theatre bathed in golden light in the denouement) will describe the gorgeous life Juliet remembers in moments, before muted greys bring us back to her “reality”. A bittersweet, heartfelt piano score will tell the story of that single voice reaching for beauty in a world that won’t or can’t understand her.
We have phenomenal cast on this short film, which is a testament to Tamzin's script.
MAGGIE STEED as Juliet
Maggie studied drama with the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, graduating in the late 1960s. She has worked on stage with both the Royal Shakespeare and National Theatre Companies, and in 2002 was a commanding Lady Bracknell in a revival of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. She is most known for SHINE ON HARVEY MOON, A BIT OF A DO, PIE IN THE SKY and THE PAINTED VEIL.
MATTHEW LEWIS as Toby
Matthew is best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the HARRY POTTER films, Jamie Bradley in THE SYNDICATE and Corporal Gordon “Towerblock” House in the BBC Three comedy drama BLUESTONE 42. He will next be seen in MGM’s film adaptation of ME BEFORE YOU alongside Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. Matthew has appeared in many television shows, including HAPPY VALLEY , RIPPER STREET, HEARTBEAT and DALZIEL AND PASCOE.
RAKHEE THAKRAR as Deena
Rakhee is currently playing Shabnam Masood in EASTENDERS. Prior to this, she appeared in the BBC's live Bollywood show CARMEN. Other television credits include: PEEP SHOW, THE JURY, DCI BANKS, CLOUD 9. Her film work includes PAGE EIGHT alongside Bill Nighy and JAYDEN for New Talent Productions.
JOSHUA HIGGOTT as Mercutio
Joshua’s theatre credits include BIRDSONG, REGENERATION, THE ALCHEMIST, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and 1984. He most recently appeared in Robert Icke’s critically acclaimed ORESTEIA. Film credits include THE MACHINE, (winner of Best UK Feature at Raindance Film Festival, 2013).
JAMES SMITH as Mr Bellamy
James’ extensive television work includes EGO HUGO, CASUALTY, HEARTBEAT, KAVANAGH QC, LOVEJOY, THE BILL, INSPECTOR MORSE and SILENT WITNESS. He is perhaps best known for his work as senior advisor Glenn Cullen in the THE THICK OF IT and as Clive in GRANDMA’S HOUSE. Latterly, he has been seen as Trevor in BOOMERS and has spent the summer filming a second series for the BBC.
Writer-Director: TAMZIN MERCHANT
Tamzin’s first short film as writer-director, AMERICAN VIRGIN, won a Jury Award and came in the Top 5 films at the 2015 Louisiana Film Prize in 2015, and has (so far) screened at seven more festivals in the USA. She attended the Royal Court Theatre's Young Writer's Program in 2011, after graduating with a First from Cambridge University in English Literature and Education Studies. She started her career in film in 2005 as an actor playing Georgiana Darcy in Joe Wright's PRIDE & PREJUDICE. Since then, she has played Queen Katherine Howard in Showtime's THE TUDORS, Mary Rivers in Cary Fukanaga's JANE EYRE and currently stars in SALEM for new US TV network WGN. She is excited to be beginning her career behind the camera and is developing several feature scripts alongside multiple short projects.
Producer: JESSICA BENHAMOU
Jessica is a British-Israeli producer who works in film and journalism. Her first short film, THE MAIDEN, was screened at the Hardy Festival. She has produced news packages for BBC London and worked for Netflix on THE CROWN, BBC Panorama on four films and on three features including NOTES ON BLINDNESS. She has completed the Cannes Producers Workshop and studied Modern Languages at Oxford University.
Director of Photography: OLIVER FORD
Oliver started his career as a stills photographer and soon found himself camera operating on a feature film under BAFTA-winning cinematographer John Mathieson BSC (Gladiator). He recently shot award-winning Canadian director Alan Powell’s short PHONE BOX, which premiered at Vancouver Film Festival 2014 and won Triforce Short Film Festival 2014 hosted at BAFTA. He has just come off Powell’s latest film AS ONE staring Neil Morrissey. Oliver shot Neneh Cherry’s latest music video and has worked for the BBC, Adidas and Mercedes amongst others.
Composer: ALEXANDER CHAPMAN-CAMPBELL
Alexander completed his first album TEN SKETCHES OF LIGHT at the age of 19. The album was picked up by ClassicFM when it was voted album of the week on the popular show, Drive, quickly to be voted again as ClassicFM’s album of the weekend. Alexander then re-released the album, entitled SKETCHES OF LIGHT under Decca Records. In March 2015, he recorded his second album PORTRAITS OF EARTH. His music has appeared across radio and TV, including the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon and the Commonwealth Games.
The Full Crew:
Writer-Director: TAMZIN MERCHANT Producer: JESSICA BENHAMOU
Line Producer: SEAN GRIFFIN
1st Assistant Director: STEVEN OLUGBENGA
2nd Assistant Director: TOM BOND
Script Supervisor: EMILIJA PAULAUSKAITE
Script Editor/EPK Producer: CALLUM BARRELL
Director of Photography: OLIVER FORD
Focus Puller: THOMAS NICHOLSON
Steadicam: ILANA GARRARD
2nd Assistant Camera: TOBY MCKAY
Stills Photographer: STUART MACK
Gaffer: TOM NOWELL
Spark: RORY HARBORNE
Sound Recordist: KIRSTIE HOWELL
Production Designer: SARA MORENA MERRITT
Art Assistant: NED BOTWOOD-SMITH
Costume Designer: SAFFRON COOK
HMU: MARINA SEYGAS
Runner/Driver: STEPHANIE JACZNIAKOWSKA-MCGIRR
We are shooting in East Sussex at a local care home and at the Theatre Royal Brighton. We see the iconic Juliet Balcony moment through Deena’s eyes. We re-see Juliet from a point of view the audience have never experienced before: through the eyes of the Nurse. This is an inversion of the way theatre audiences traditionally see Juliet on her balcony. This re-framing shows the audience a “faceless” Juliet, which turns the romance of the moment into something vaguely disturbing.
For the scenes at the theatre, the POV is from on-stage to the audience. Through looking back at the audience, rather than from the audience at this moment, we are with Juliet in the reality of her memory. We are immersed in her world.
WHAT WE NEED
Filmmaking is an expensive process, particularly post-production. We already have some of the funding in place to start us off, but absolutely need your help to take us through the shoot, post production, marketing and festivals. For production, we need your support for camera rental, sound recording, transport and catering. With low-budget filmmaking, it's crucial to prioritise funds for post including video editing, colour grading, sound design, Additional Dialogue Recording and music composition. Finally, we want JULIET REMEMBERED to be screened at as many festivals as possible and win lots of awards. Marketing, promotional materials and submission fees are costly. In short, we need you to get involved with bringing this poetic story to life.
Here is our budget breakdown:
This is Tamzin and Jessica's first short film together and their second each. We want JULIET REMEMBERED to knock the socks off our respective first short films by qualifying for major Oscar and Bafta-accredited festivals around the world, such as Cannes, Raindance, Tribeca, Sundance and London Film Festival. Our first short films have already screened at eight festivals combined and Tamzin's has won two awards. We are confident that JULIET REMEMBERED will raise the bar. Ultimately, we want our short film to pave the way for us to make feature films. Tamzin and Jessica both have feature scripts and TV pilots in development.
As two young, female filmmakers we know how important it is to tackle gender inequality on and off the camera through representation. Only one in ten Directors in the UK are women and we wish to tell stories about underrepresented groups.
Our story also combines entertainment with a strong social imperative. We hope to boost public awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025.
Finally, we want to engage young people with their heritage and encourage an appreciation for Shakespeare. 2016 marks 400 years since his death and we want to celebrate Shakespeare’s life with an original interpretation of his most iconic heroine.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Follow @Remember_Juliet on Twitter and tweet with the hashtag #rememberjuliet Like our page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JulietRemembered
Risks and challenges
We are ambitiously raising the funds as we start shooting. This is because of cast and crew availability. This means that we really need to reach our goal to finish JULIET REMEMBERED. If we do not raise the full funds here, we will tirelessly work to make sure we find funds another way and finish the film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)