‘Henry’ is the story of a young boy’s first experience with discrimination. Henry is a playful and sensitive young boy, bound by his imagination. When his mother is forced to leave him with the family friend, the local butcher, for a couple of hours, Henry is tested by the butcher’s rigid beliefs on gender behaviour. Henry makes a friend with a little boy and he is able to play freely and without judgement from the butcher. But when the butcher catches Henry and his friend holding hands, he forces the two against each other in order to teach them to act like boys. Having gone against his new best friend, Henry withdraws; becoming a shadow of his former self. However, Henry’s determination and free spirit give him the strength to fight back and find a new best friend.
Henry was sparked from the single image of a young boy forced to fight his best friend. Through this imagery, the story of Henry began to take hold and its power and poignancy is one that remains strong. For me, at its core this film talks about the ways in which our bruises from discrimination and past experiences can hinder us and make us aggressors in our future relationships. However, as I have developed Henry with my team it has come to speak about so many modern truths relevant today. Henry questions what it means to be a child, to be free from any gender labelling or restriction, to express yourself free from judgement and to be bolstered by one's imagination. It celebrates femininity and one's ability to gain strength from it. Henry ultimately finds the strength to defy and stand up to his bullies. It is borrowed from his mother and garnered from his bruises. Henry is a universally relevant film, one that must be shared.
I think Henry is a story that really needs to be told. When Sonny approached me with the first draft of the script, I was really moved by his emotive use of language and the realism in his vision. After Sonny gave me the context behind his ideas I knew I had to be involved. Stemming from personal experience and extensive research, Henry is teeming with realistic dialogue and authentic characters which should really bring it to life. I think this film has the potential to be truly brilliant.
I was attracted to this film because it has a crew that is both hugely talented and passionate. The subject matter feels both current and universal. At its core it's about two people who don't understand each other, a parent-child kind of conflict that I think everybody can relate to. The visual style of the film will correlate with Henry's experience, shifting towards surrealism when he is at his most explorative and imaginative, and towards realism when he's more withdrawn. Throughout the film the cinematography will remain subjective, entering the world of Gavin's Family Butchers through Henry's eyes: our attention guided in the same direction as his; the camera work reflecting how calm or anxious he feels at any given moment. The camera will show us everything that Henry experiences.
Production Designer's Statement
I was initially drawn to the story of Henry because of the subtle, sensitive, yet powerful way our Writer/Director Sonny wrote the script. I could immediately picture the delicate realism of the film, imbued with heightened moments of childlike wonder, and could visualise ways in which I could give this world this important balance. Bringing together the oppressively dingy, stale space of the butcher’s shop, with the raw freshness and untameable life of the bright foliage outside is one of the many exciting artistic challenges of this film, as well as a beautiful way to visually portray the story of our protagonist, Henry. It is a story of the discovery of inner strength, and the power of resilience, and an important one to reach audiences today in a time where resilience is needed more than ever.
Henry will be shot entirely in London. This is great news for us as, being based in London, it allows us to focus all our energy in one are which should bring down costs but also allow us to film everything in a week. We have been lucky enough to find a butchers in North London who are letting us film the “Shop Front” scenes at his butchers and we have found a very enchanting alley in North London also which is free of charge. But, for two locations we are going to be building entire sets in a studio in Elephant and Castle. And this is where our need to fundraise becomes particularly important. Building sets from scratch can be quite expensive.
We want to give Henry an immersive and believable mise-en-scène so we will be shooting part of the film on location. However, we also need the creative control of a studio build so that we can truly fulfil our collective vision. A lot of our attention during pre-production is being focused on the design of the film as we want it to be possibly engrossing. From the texture of the PVC curtains to the material of Henry's shoes, we want everything to look just right.
Risks and challenges
We understand it's no small feat making a film, but we are confident that come May 2019, we will have produced a gorgeous short which will hopefully be shown in film festivals worldwide.
We think one of the most prominent challenges we'll face will be the construction of our set. We really want to create an impressively detailed setting for the story to take place in. The construction and set-dressing could be quite time consuming but with the right amount of funding, we could make something really special.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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