What is the story?
Unseen is a short film exploring the importance of being recognised and valued for who we are. It tells the story of Lien, a young woman who is desperately trying to escape the underclass. The film explores a tension between how we see ourselves and how society see us. Everyone can relate to having to conform or compromise to enable ourselves to get ahead sometimes, to push through barriers in life that hold us back. Lien plays the system, takes on an identity which she thinks will help her get ahead. But how long can you be someone else before the real you is diminished?
Why this story?
Unseen was born out of feeling frustrated and struggling as a woman, trying to make my own mark in the world and have my voice heard. I think all women understand the challenge of being seen and valued for something beyond their gender. This reductive way of valuing women is felt more intensely when you bring in other factors, like class, wealth, race. When race is involved, objectification can take on a different and insidious dimension. I wanted to ask; why do some people make assumptions about a whole ethnicity including personality traits? Why is it desirable to see East Asian women as obedient and submissive lovers?
What are the funds for?
As one of this year’s Directors UK Alexa Challenge films this meant we had access to world class film equipment from ARRI and a very small amount of funding to make this film happen - every penny has had to go so far. Because of unmovable timescales myself and the producer Chi Thai have had to personally finance the film. And now we need your help to get us to the finish line. Your funds will be used towards the post-production costs including editing, grading, music, sound design and more. Furthermore - our Kickstarter funds will be key in helping us share Unseen with the world through screening at special events and film festivals. Having your support is critical to our success and we hope you see the value a film that gives the stage to a voice rarely heard in mainstream culture.
In line with our film, we've titled our Perk levels with names from cinema history. They are the forgotten stars of Asian American cinema and this is our little tribute to them: Edward L Park, Ah Wing, Anna May Wong, Sessue Hayakawa, Olive Young, James Wong Howe and Willie Fung.
Unseen was built to be inclusive from the ground up. Not only is this the way I want to work as a filmmaker but it was even more important given the story I wanted to tell.
As a director and woman I've struggled with the inequality in the film industry. Through working with Directors UK I take an active role in campaigning for gender and race equality in the film industry.
Jan Le - Lead Actor
Jan trained at the Young actors theatre in Islington from a young age, and has continued to act after graduating in Politics and International Relations. Jan made her professional stage debut with the Clean Break theatre company in Amongst The Reeds, and recently played Mai in Summer Rolls written by Tuyen Do, directed by Kristine Landon-Smith.
Lotus Hannon - Director & Writer
Lotus began devising and performing new writing in North Tyneside Youth Theatre with local playwrights, including Julia Darling. She directed shorts including Man of Me Dreams and The Expiration, which have screened at international film festivals. Lotus was the winner of The Script Factory Development Scheme with her first original feature screenplay, Render and is currently developing her thriller feature, Orion’s Belt. Lotus has been selected for the prestigious WFTV Mentoring Scheme, the Creative England Talent Module and Creative England / Raising Films ClosR Development Programme. She is a board member of Directors UK and a Cinesister.
Chi Thai - Producer
Chi has been a Cannes Lions finalist three times over for her work in commercials and was ranked 20 in Creative England’s Top 50 companies. Her shorts have played international at BAFTA and Academy accredited festivals; highlights include Light Years, The Purple Plain, The Outer Circle & Civilised. She is currently in post production with BFI / Tribeca documentary Little Miss Sumo.
Lucy Sheen - Casting Director
Lucy is British East Asian published writer, filmmaker and actor. Her acting debut the female lead in Britain’s first ever feature film about the British Chinese Ping Pong. Other credits include: Secrets & Lies and Something Good: The Mercury Factor.
Caroline Bridges - Director of Photography
Caroline is an award winning cinematographer who has shot feature films, short fiction, documentaries and promos for channels BBC, Channel 4, Comedy Central and BAFTA. Recent credits include the feature film YOU CAN TUTU, currently being distributed by Netflix and sci-fi film THIS IS AXIOM for which she won Best Cinematographer at the Largo Film Awards 2018. Short films include THE HIDE, winner of Best Drama WOFFF 2017 and BREATHE for Film London 2017. She is soon to shoot a new children’s drama series for BBC called MOLLY and MACK.
The filmmakers would like to acknowledge the music in this crowdfunding video is produced & owned by ©John K Miles MCPS/PRS
Risks and challenges
When anyone decides to make a film, there is huge amount of trials and challenges they will need to overcome - this is not just getting the film financed or a film finished, but getting a film seen. Unseen has been made with the love and support of Directors UK, ARRI and an experienced producer who understands what it takes to reach an audience - which means your pledge will be in safe hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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