House Girl is a London Film School graduation short film written & directed by LFS student Koby Adom and produced by Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. The film is scheduled to be shot in Accra, Ghana in February 2016.
While staying with her wealthy Aunty Barbara in Accra, Jennifer meets Efua, a very young domestic maid who Aunty Barbara is abusing physically and emotionally. Jennifer struggles to suppress her feelings towards this but she is forced to by the cultural values of her heritage. Jennifer eventually can't watch the abuse anymore and makes a brave attempt to rescue Efua from her abusive situation.
The story is told through Jennifer's point of view to allow the audience to learn about Ghanaian and West African culture as Jennifer does.
Genre: Short Drama, Social Realism, Thriller, Suspense
The story is based on similar real life events - One of Koby's close family members told him a story about witnessing the abuse of a domestic house maid at the hands of the home owner. However this particular case took place in the 70s so Koby did some research to find out if such things still happened in West Africa today. He focused on Ghana because that is where he is from.
There is a lot of material online which suggests that the abuse of domestic workers, especially that of young female maids, is still an issue in Ghana. The article Koby remembers the most is one by Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi on www.modernghana.com entitled 'Corpses Have More Respect Than House Maids'. This article highlights the very reason why Koby decided to write this script; to raise awareness of the issue of modern day slavery and the abuse of young female domestic workers.
House Girl has been aesthetically influenced by the films displayed above. Beasts of No Nation (2015), Blood Diamond (2006) and 12 Years a Slave (2013) are all shot in bright, hot locations, showing the landscapes in all their glory. Beasts of No Nation (2015) was also shot in Ghana.
House Girl will have some beautiful high contrast shots to heighten the drama visually. It is an intense story and that will be catered for visually.
THE LONDON FILM SCHOOL
As Koby is now in his graduation term at the London Film School, he has decided to make this film as his grad piece.
The London Film School (LFS) is a not-for-profit film school based in London, close to the hub of the UK film industry in Soho. LFS is the only graduate-only film conservatoire specifically constituted as an international community with around 75% of its students coming from outside of the UK. The school's current director is Jane Roscoe and its chairman is the Oscar-nominated director, Mike Leigh. In 2014 the school celebrated a year of graduate achievements across the globe. At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the graduation film of LFS student Simón Mesa Soto was awarded the highest honour; the Palme d'Or for Best Short Film in competition, the first time a British film school has ever won the prize. Moreover, LFS has been selected by Creative Skillset, the UK government agency for audio-visual training, as one of three ‘Film Academies’. This recognises the school as an industry level graduate school in Britain, offering professional film training and the only one in that scheme with an all-department filmmaking programme. The school’s most successful alumni include directors Mike Leigh (MR TURNER, VERA DRAKE), Michael Mann (HEAT, COLLATERAL) and Duncan Jones (MOON, SOURCE CODE).
THE HOUSE GIRL TEAM
- LEAD ACTRESS - Jennifer
EMMA NAOMI is a talented young stage actress from London who has been cast to play Jennifer in House Girl.
Emma Naomi was trained at the world renowned Guildhall School of Music & Drama where she studied Acting for 3 years. In addition to her studies at Guildhall, Emma has had screen training with BAFTA winner Richard Kwietniowski (Who also happens to be Koby's tutor at LFS) and she also enrolled and completed acting masterclasses with Al Pacino, Ewan McGregor and Damien Lewis.
She is an established stage actress with over 17 plays to her name including titles like 'Medea' by Patsy Rodenburg.
House Girl will be Emma Naomi's screen debut and it will be her first time in Africa so this is a very special project for her. We can assure you that you are in for a treat with her performance. She has bags of talent and we cannot wait for the world to see.
- WRITER/DIRECTOR -
KOBY ADOM is a student at the London Film School, 6th best international film school in the world according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Starting out as a cinematographer, Koby has worked on a lot of projects in the film industry as a DoP and other roles in the camera department such as camera operator, namely for a short film called His Fathers Son (2014) which screened at Cannes Short Film Corner.
During his time at film school, Koby has picked up a passion for script writing and directing, starting off by directing a documentary called Deborah's Letter (2014) which got great feed back and won the audience favourite award the the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival 2015 in Austin, Texas. Following the success of this film, Koby has been branded as 'one to watch' by the London Film School. He has since made his latest film Closure (2015) which has only began it's festival circuit and has already been screened at BFI Southbank. Koby is also a firm believer of giving back and is actively involved with workshops for school kids. Here is an article on the Westminster City School website about Koby's visit: http://www.wcsch.com/news/film-maker-talking
Having visited Accra in August 2015 for the first time in 18 years, he cannot wait to go back there to shoot his third film.
'I care so much about this project because the subject matter is something I have been researching for many years and I think it is about time a conversation is started in order to begin to tackle this issue. This is project is also my graduation film so I am working extra hard to make sure this film is one to remember'.
To find out more about Koby visit: http://www.kobyadom.co.uk
- PRODUCER -
JOY GHARORO-AKPOJOTOR is an award winning producer with over seven years experience in Producing, Production Coordinating and Line Producing ranging from corporate commercials to features. She has produced a short film with over 7 million YouTube views and growing as well as producing a British Airways India commercial with over 2 million YouTube views and growing. Last but not least, Joy has produced two feature films with a combined budget of £200,000. She's maintained commercial budgets ranging up to £100,000, delivering within the required budget and schedule for clients at all times, consistently finding areas to save through being resourceful and a great negotiator.
Joy has gained a lot of experience producing short films and has had a busy year producing feature films including ‘M.L.E’ and ‘White Colour Black’ which was also shot in Africa and is currently in post production. She has worked with starts such as Wale Ojo, Sy Alassane & Dudley O'Shaunnessgy (From Rihanna & Calvin Harris – ‘We Found Love’ Music Video).
She also works in theatre as a writer/ director. She wrote a play entitled 'Sunday' which showed at Theatre Royal Stratford East back in June.
She is excited to be going back to Africa to make another film directly after 'White Colour Black' and cannot wait to bring this concept to life.
- DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY -
MARK KUCZEWSKI graduated from film production at Staffordshire University in 2010.
He then moved to London and worked in-house at Big Talk Productions. From here he went on to work as a freelance cameraman and DoP on a number of short films, music videos and commercials. He is now coming to he end of his Masters at London Film School like director Koby and 'House Girl' will also be one of his graduation projects.
Mark who is also a director plans to graduate from the London Film School as a director, cinematographer and a camera operator. This will be his first time in Africa and he can’t wait to go! Between the food and the constant natural light in sunny Accra, there is enough motivation for Mark to get some great shots for this film and have a lot of fun!
Find out more about Mark: http://www.markkuczewski.co.uk/
- PRODUCTION DESIGNER -
MARCO TURCICH is a UK London based set and production designer. He studied MA Performance Design and Practice at Central St. Martins and has since been back to teach there as a guest lecturer.
He defines himself as a cross-over artist: working over different means of expression in sight of finding the most appropriate one according to needs and inclination. The aesthetic of his work results as an eclectic combination of visual materials contributing to delineate a narrative within the piece.
His practice stretches from site specific performances to gallery installation, working across different media in sight of exploring new ways of communication and artistic expression. Water flooded areas, lighting, feeling of textures and materials; sculptural installations are just some of the many ways through which his work develops.
Marco worked on a feature film shot in Senegal in 2015, but he didn't actually get to travel so he is very excited to be going to Ghana this time around. On top of his extensive artistic capability, he is also your every day handyman! He can make anything out of nothing. Just the man for this project.
- EDITOR -
JULIAN SMITH is a video editor currently finishing off his MA Filmmaking Course at The London Film School, and will be graduating as an Editor.
He has gained invaluable experience working with a wide range of directors on a variety of films.
‘Editing animates me so much as I am very interested in stories, what makes a good story and how you can make a story come together’.
He finds it the most exciting part of the filmmaking process, as he believes it is the third and final stage of writing a film. As well as nearing the completion of his MA, he is also undertaking freelance work within the industry and is currently working on a number of different projects. Julian is a frequent tourist in Africa and can't wait to cut a film being shot there.
Find out more about Julian: http://www.jsmithediting.com
- SOUND RECORDIST -
MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ is a skilled sound recordist and designer experienced in film, advertising, and corporate productions. He studied at the London College of Communication obtaining a degree in BA Sound Arts and Design.
He is great at team based work environments with great communication skills. 'I am a dedicated and detail orientated person, proactive and with initiative'.
Having worked with producer Joy on previous projects, he is also excited about this project.
- FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (1ST AD) -
AEGINA BRAHIM is also a student at the London Film School. Specialising in Directing and Cinematography herself, she has worked on a lot of dutch film & tv productions as well as other projects in Suriname.
Aegina worked on Koby’s last film ‘Closure’ as a 1st AD and made sure the shoot happened smoothly with her great planning/ scheduling and attention to detail. She has a great knowledge of film technically and theoretically so would be a great asset in any film crew.
Aegina is currently living in London and the Netherlands at the same time working in both industries until she graduates . Originally from Suriname, dutch national Aegina can’t wait to go to sunny Accra to schedule and plan the shoot to perfection. Bossing people around is what she does best!
- COMPOSER -
RYAN MAJORIS has been involved with music since the young age of 12 years old. Bands such as Blink 182, Yellowcard, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers started him on his musical journey and he has been hooked ever since.
While taking AP Music classes in High School, he played in original bands and took private music lessons outside of school which continued into his career at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Diversity and progress were the two words that would summarize his Berklee career as he delved into a world of music knowledge. In 2010, with his Bachelor's degree in Professional Music in hand, he went out into the world to begin his career as a musician.
After touring the nation with his band, Keeping Riley, and teaching lessons for several years, he left the east coast and made the move to Seattle to pursue music full-time. While there, Ryan took full advantage of the diverse music scene in the NW, gaining experience in musical theatre pit bands, teaching private lessons, performing live (original and cover), and composing original scores for independent films.
As of 2015, he currently resides in his home state of NJ composing for projects all over the world including LA, London, and NYC.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE
- The script has been written and developed. This procedure was monitored by LFS who brought in industry script editors to help Koby develop the story as much as possible.
- The majority of the crew has been assembled.
- We have cast the lead role.
- Locations have been sourced in Ghana but not paid for.
- An original poster has been made.
- All agreements have been signed.
WHAT WE STILL HAVE TO DO
- Raise the finance!
- Get visas, book flights and handle the medical requirements for travelling to Ghana for the relevant crew.
- Book industry standard equipment.
- Get the film insured.
- Pay for locations.
- Casting the other roles in the film in Ghana.
- Shoot the film in Accra (Feb 2016)
- Get the film edited, graded (colour correction), sound designed and mixed.
- Hand in the film to be marked by LFS.
- Arrange a premiere/ private screening of the film in London.
- Enter the project into film festivals globally.
- Raise the finance!
The budget for the project is £16,500. This is the bare minimum needed to make this film as good as it can be.
We have set a goal of £10,000 because this is the minimum amount needed to green-light the project. The rest of the money will come from a contribution by LFS and Koby's life savings.
The one thing which isn't in the budget is marketing. This expense usually falls on the student to finance so although our goal is £10,000 we will be aiming to raise £15,000. This will allow us to make the whole project safer for all participants and provide us with a decent marketing budget for the film to be recognised globally.
The breakdown is explained on the pie chart above. The two expenses which take up 72% of our budget are:
- Transportation Costs (Orange - 40%)
- Equipment Rental (Light Blue - 32%)
Standard filmmaking processes account for the rest of the budget.
Risks and challenges
RISKS & CHALLENGES
- This will be the first film shot in Africa for everyone in the crew except Joy (the producer) and the first time making a film in Ghana for everyone // However Koby has a lot of family living in Accra who are all willing to offer their help. This will be useful for accommodation, locations and transportation.
- Ghana is a tropical country with a climate totally different from the UK so we will arrange for all members of the crew to have their vaccines and to get the relevant medication before they fly to sunny Accra.
- We are very confident we will be able to raise the relevant amount to make this film however we are also trying to get sponsorships from companies to help us reduce the risk.
- Accra is a very safe city however to ensure the safety of the cast and crew, we will be arranging security to be on site while we are on set.
- The equipment needed to make this film is very scarce in Ghana, making it a lot more expensive than initially anticipated (Around $5000 USD per day). As a result, we have decided to fly equipment from here because it is the cheaper option and we have a more diverse range of equipment to choose from.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)