The Escort - A Feature Film about Relationships Today
'The Escort' is a movie about a young man who tries to convince an escort to leave her line of work but not all is as it seems.
THE ESCORT - A Feature Film about Love, Romance, and Relationships for Today's Generation
‘The Escort’ is a drama with a simple concept – a young man has 60 minutes to convince an escort to leave her line of work – but despite the premise of featuring only one location and two characters the story evolves into something more, examining the state of relationships today in a digitally-obsessed world where sex is easily available at our fingertips and the idea of love has been greatly distorted.
Written over the course of 6 months after interviewing both current and former escorts, the film provides both an indictment of the exploitation of women in this industry while examining the wider socio-political structure of our society which has led to a segment of women feeling they have been put in a position where they have no choice but to enter this line of work. It asks the question of whether true love can be found in a profession that sells a false version of it while opening our eyes to the destruction caused for those who sell their body and those who purchase the use of one.
Yet at its core ‘The Escort’ is a film about two deeply flawed individuals – a woman who is no damsel in distress and a young man who is no saint – drowning in pain who over the course of their journey come to realize that they may have found their saviour in each other. It is ‘Chasing Amy’ for a new generation, a film featuring two refreshingly friendly, relatable characters who engage in a frank and honest discussion about sex in a verbal battle akin to a tennis match as both try to fight for their beliefs and peel away the layers revealing who they really are.
Every generation has a film that reflects the state of relationships for themselves and for me that movie was ‘Chasing Amy’, and while we have had films both before and since from ‘Sex, Lies and Videotape’ to ‘Closer’ and ‘Shame’ no film has spoken to me more than Kevin Smith’s deeply personal story. ‘The Escort’ intends to do just that for a new generation of filmgoers as we examine the impact the social media age has played on society, relationships, and sex in general with a story that while fictional has become deeply personal as a result of the interviews held with real escorts whose stories I intend to tell.
With a passion to make this film I have spent the past few months scraping together a small budget to accomplish this goal, with a similarly passionate cast and crew coming onboard to bring the story of 'The Escort' to life. Yet despite being a dialogue-driven film ‘The Escort’ intends to be a visceral experience providing the audience an opportunity to step into the minds of these characters as the tale plays out in real time, with both the production design and technical equipment including our lighting and choice of camera required to support this vision.
While efforts have been made to mitigate cost which include setting it in one location with 2 characters and creating a short filming schedule of 8 days it remains vital not to sacrifice certain areas, and for this reason in order to make an independent film that retains the integrity of both my voice as a filmmaker and the voices of all those I spoke with when exploring this subject, I am in need of your support to help finish this project and bring ‘The Escort’ to our screens.
‘The Escort’ is being shot on-location using professional actors in addition to props, rehearsal space, visual effects (which are minimal), lighting, make-up, and food/travel expenses for the cast and crew. While there is a small budget left to contribute towards the purchase of adequate sound equipment and the camera rental further funds are necessary to hire and purchase the adequate camera, sound and lighting equipment, in addition to having a proper sound mix, editing suite, and ADR, film festival entry fees, and ensuring costs for rewards shipping are met. I am able to get some of these at a discounted rate and noting much of it has already been self-funded I am seeking £4,000 to cover the technical equipment which I have set as our Kickstarter goal.
While this amount would be sufficient to create the film - and noting that it is a feature the intent has always been to prove that features can still be made effectively for low budgets as reflected by the works of Chris Nolan ('Following'), Robert Rodriguez ('El Mariachi'), and Kevin Smith ('Clerks'), any extra funding would help enhance it and achieve additional goals, including color correction, and the chance to raise awareness by reaching a wider audience through festival submissions. Any amount raised will go directly into the completion of ‘The Escort’ and I am appreciative of any support you can give.
With your help I believe ‘The Escort’ will be a film that not only acts as a pleasant date movie like ‘Chasing Amy’ and ‘Before Sunrise’ with food for thought but also serves to stimulate the conversation about relationships today, and lead to a wider discussion around issues which have yet to be tackled, such as the exploitation of workers and the misappropriation of talent which prevent them from achieving their dreams despite their skillsets. And ultimately to shed light on the escort industry in its current state.
If for any reason you can’t pledge funds towards this film but would like to support please share this project and spread the word to friends, family, neighbours, strangers, social media, and anyone who comes to mind for if even 1 person pledges as a result of your actions that is one step closer towards the completion of this film, and as Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing approach each and every person who supports this project will be the deciding factor in the completion of this film.
Please visit our website www.escortfilm.com and join our mailing list to receive updates and be a part of this journey.
Good Deeds mean Great Rewards
Your support means the world to me and my gratitude must be responded in kind. Noting that ‘The Escort’ is ultimately about human connection the rewards on offer are a continuation of this theme, with props among the rewards on offer although due to the subject matter of this film we have to be selective with what is picked!
Who We Are
Bizhan Tong (Writer/Director) has been writing screenplays for the past 17 years having started at the age of 12 and at 14 launched a DVD website in order to indulge in his passion for movies and make short films. Going on to study at the University of Manchester Bizhan continued to write and create films at every opportunity, producing the award-winning feature ‘Fix’ starring Olivia Wilde (Tron Legacy, House) and directed the short ‘Ticket’ starring Rory Girvan (Sky TV’s ‘Stella’). In addition to taking filmmaking courses taught by Elliot Grove at Raindance Bizhan filmed various corporate videos to see how far he could stretch the boundless limitations of art within a corporate structure, which included a stop-motion animation and an homage to ‘24’. Inspired with the idea of writing ‘The Escort’ after a chance encounter with one while waiting for a meeting Bizhan’s passion for this project grew, and he spent 2015 and 2016 embarking on his biggest adventure yet - the making of this film. With your support that journey can finally come to an end.
Laura De Casto (Consulting Producer) is the former MD of Tartan Films, overseeing many major releases that were brought to Western audiences including 'The Grudge', 'The Ring', and 'Battle Royale'. A film producer, Laura's credits include 'Guy X' with Jason Biggs and Michael Ironside, and 'Boogie Woogie' starring Gillian Anderson and Amanda Seyfried.
Sidney Malik (Producer) is the manager of the UK Base of Crypt TV, the UK House of horror, and a rising voice in British independent film and innovative media. Producer of breakthrough British horror features including 'Egomaniac', he also directed Virtual Reality feature 'The London Detective'. As President of Production of ERA Film Studios, he leads a new age of virtual reality production in the UK by continuing to support the preservation of British film heritage, regional cultural development and collaborative global ventures in film, media, and entertainment.
Aftershock London (Wardrobe) is a global luxury fashion brand whose clients include Madonna, Katherine Jenkins, and Dame Helen Mirren. A brand that embodies comfort with the dresses they design, the clothes Veronica wears reflect the persona she adopts for her clients and that she wears for herself, and just as Armani helped exude the world of Richard Gere's 'American Gigolo' so too will Aftershock London with the world of 'The Escort'.
Kevin Leslie (Actor) is an award-winning performer having won Best Actor at the Marbella Film Festival for his portrayal of Reggie Kray in the film 'The Rise of the Krays', a role he would reprise the following year in 'The Fall of the Krays'. A highly versatile actor Kevin's credits also include 'Rise of the Footsoldier 3', 'Vengeance' with Stu Bennett, and 'Cowgirl Romance'.
Olivia Moyles (Actress) is a highly versatile actress who previously appeared in 'The Rise of the Krays'. After an extensive casting search we were delighted to bring Olivia Moyles onboard whose chameleonic range help embody the multi-layered personas Veronica hides behind to do this character justice.
Andrew Bajulaiye (Editor) graduated from Brunel University with a BSc in Multimedia Design & Technology. He is a motion graphics designer and offline editor with vast experience, having worked in the video games industry and on various commercial campaigns which include Nissan, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Crew, Metro, and Defiance. Involved in this project since its inception, Andrew's editing style will help reflect the themes of 'The Escort' - a classic story told for a modern generation.
Robyn Collins (Co-Editor) graduated from London Metropolitan University with a BA [Hons] in Graphic Design. Robyn decided to move into pursuing a career in post production, studying Editing at the Met Film School. Robyn's experience and studies shaped her understanding of imagery and attention to detail enabling her to successfully compose and cultivate reactions from audiences which are instrumental in bringing 'The Escort' narrative alive.
Dane Gerous Schmidt (Composer) is an award-winning composer with a penchant for various genres and a specialty for suspense. A graduate of K-State University, Dane also owns a record label, Gerbil Hamster Records. His music will help convey the underlying themes of 'The Escort' and use the power of sound to externalize the inner turmoil our characters face.
Rebecca Hadfield (Hair and Makeup Artist) is a graduate of the prestigious Christine Blundell Makeup Academy with extensive experience in film, TV, commercials, and theatre. Her recent credits include being a Hair and Makeup Trainee for Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' starring Emma Watson, DC's 'Wonder Woman', and 'Paddington 2'. The characters of 'The Escort' both hold secrets and Rebecca's work will help resonate the idea of identity, her artistry conveying the masks people show to others and that which they cannot hide from themselves.
Stewart Allen (Assistant DOP) is a documentary filmmaker. Having worked for Channel 4 in the past Stewart has since gone on to film a variety of shorts, and more recently completed a documentary feature on long distance running. He currently freelances as a lighting cameraman for various corporate and educational projects.
Beth Brennan (Assistant/Runner) has worked in theatre and film, and recently moved to London to pursue her career ambitions in movies. Having joined our team she will be working with our crew to assist in ensuring 'The Escort' is crafted with diligence and passion.
John Bucknall (Storyboard Artist) is an artist and photographer whose keen eye for detail made him a crucial element of the team, his drawings helping us to effectively plan in bringing 'The Escort' to life.
Risks and challenges
There are inarguably many challenges in the making of any film, with the biggest obstacles based on overcoming budget constraints without sacrificing quality is a challenge worth noting.
Fortunately having had many years of experience managing budgets due to my background in finance and past making shorts I have addressed these concerns to ensure the film is made within the imposed financial limitations so that the movie may be completed and be a reflection of our original vision without requiring any further funds beyond what has been set. I am also funding part of the project with my own money (and am already renting studio space for rehearsals which we have undergone over the past month) thus the only amount needed is that being raised through this campaign which I have kept to the minimum - anything raised beyond will go towards the film's technical resources and support our marketing campaign.
Remaining on schedule is also imperative and while I have tried to consider every possible factor which can cause delays room must always exist for the unanticipated. Fortunately the involvement of an experienced team including industry veterans such as producer Laura De Casto will help resolve such challenges so that the shoot may go ahead in a relatively smooth manner.
A schedule has already been set however with the cast and crew which would enable us to have the film completed by June during which time I aim to fulfil my promise and provide the digital downloads, having set a delivery date of September 2017 in order to ensure the digital downloads are sent by then. I will also provide frequent updates via our website, Twitter, and this Kickstarter page so that you may follow and interact with us throughout the journey as the film is created and released within this timeframe.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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