- S T O R Y -
Liverpool Ferry is a coming-of-age story that crosses the Irish Sea. 17 year old Sarah, along with boyfriend Jules, must make the journey from Belfast to Liverpool to end a pregnancy neither of them wants – without the knowledge of her parents, against the beliefs of her community, and contrary to Northern Irish law.
Lee was inspired to write Liverpool Ferry from a personal experience of an abortion process, and an experience of an abortion process described to him by a close friend. Both were shocked to hear so many Northern Irish women in an abortion clinic waiting room in England. Liverpool Ferry is based on conversations he had with a number of women and their real-life experiences.
Northern Ireland currently has one of the strictest abortion laws in the world. Having an abortion is illegal, helping a woman to have an abortion is illegal, and furthermore, knowing a woman is having an abortion and not reporting it to the police is also illegal. All charges carry prison sentences.
On average, over 1000 women each year travel from Northern Ireland to elsewhere in the UK to have a safe and legal abortion. This story gives voice to those women.
Although the Northern Irish abortion law is centre to this film, it is also a coming-of-age drama and a young love story. Sarah and Jules are tough funny kids who are unaware of their immaturity and vulnerability. There’s a lot to like about them, and we enjoy the young lovers' quick banter and mocking flirtations. We follow them on their journey as they grapple with an event that fundamentally changes them. We see them taking responsibility, growing up, and working out what they want.
There is a subtlety and lightness of touch to this film, with moments of light and humour scattered over a serious subject.
- V I S I O N -
Liverpool Ferry is structured so the viewer is constantly catching up with the narrative, keeping them engaged and allowing them to experience the revelations along the way.
Most of the film will be shot hand held and using as much natural light as possible, to fit with the natural realism of the writing.
Multiple and varied locations will give texture and layers to this film. From Belfast to Liverpool, a claustrophobic yellow Skoda to an expansive sea, colourful Arcade lights to the clinical tones of an abortion clinic – this film will be visually rich and exciting to watch.
- T H E T E A M -
WRITER/DIRECTOR | LEE ARMSTRONG
Lee trained at East 15 Acting School and is an award-winning writer, director and actor.
Lee won the 2019 BAFTA Rocliffe Award, for his LIVERPOOL FERRY script. Lee wrote and directed his first short film, ON CALL, in 2017, which was nominated for Best Short Film at British Independent Film Festival, London Independent Film Festival, London Lift-Off Film Festival and was short listed for London Short Film Festival.
As an actor Lee has worked extensively across Film, Television, and Theatre. He worked with Christopher Nolan in his Oscar winning film Dunkirk, performed the lead role of Albert Narracott in the National Theatre's Olivier and Tony award winning show War Horse, and has worked for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and SKY Drama. Lee is currently filming a series regular in CALL THE MIDWIFE.
PRODUCER | LINDSAY FRASER - FINE LINE PRODUCTIONS
Lindsay also trained at East 15 and is an actress and award-winning theatre and short film producer.
Lindsay produced the award-winning short film, TOUCH (Virgin Media Shorts Grand Prize winner 2013, which was screened at: Cannes Short Film Corner, London Short Film Festival, Bradford International Film Festival, Suikerzoetfilmfestival (Rotterdam), FEC Festival, and Catalonia). Other short films include: CYGNUS (Cannes Short Film Corner), NUMBER ONE FAN, and HARD LIGHT (with LFS).
Lindsay's production company, Fine Line, has worked predominantly in theatre and new writing with a strong focus on political and social issues. Fine Line’s Latest production DISTANCE (Park Theatre) won an OFFIE and is currently being adapted to a TV series.
DOP | SARAH SMITHER
Sarah is an award-winning DOP with 20 years experience in the camera department in broadcast, online and independent film.
Sarah has shot over 25 short films including 3 for the Channel 4 Random Acts strand, and recently wrapped on her third feature film as DOP.
Sarah's awards include 2x RTS awards for Best Short, and her work has been selected for many short film festivals in Europe and beyond.
EDITOR | RORIE SHERWOOD
Rorie started his career at the BBC, and has since worked as a freelance editor and self-shooting director. He has worked in both broadcast and commercial, for digital and social platforms. Recent clients include; Netflix, Disney, Sky, Marvel, British Airways, Lloyds, JP Morgan, BMW and Bentley.
Rorie is also an experienced 1st AD and will be taking on this role for the shoot. There are huge benefits of having the Editor on the shoot (a luxury most short films don’t have), so having Rorie on set as 1st AD and Editor will be a big plus!
PRODUCTION DESIGN | SOPHIA SIMENSKY
Sophia Simensky is an interdisciplinary designer working between theatre, film and visual arts. She studied Design for Performance at Wimbledon College of Art and is completing a masters in design at the Sandberg institute, Amsterdam.
Production design credits include THE FIGHT (Directed by Jess Hynes). As an Art director, Sophia has worked on EMMA (directed by Sophie Gueydon) and THE SERENGETI RULES (directed by Nicolas Brown).
As a theatre designer; Sophia works predominantly with new writing and drama. Theatre credits include; set and costume designs for Chicken Soup (Sheffield Crucible), Moormaid (Arcola London) Operation Crucible (Sheffield Crucible and 59E59, New York) and costume design for The March On Russia. (Orange tree theatre).
- C A S T -
- I N C O N T E X T W I T H T H E P O L I T I C A L L A N D S C A P E -
We are delighted with the result of the vote in UK Parliament recently, which looks to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland towards the end of this year.
Although a hugely positive step forward, the abortion rights conversation and pro-choice campaign must continue until we see real change on the ground – where safe and accessible services are provided to women in Northern Ireland. Socially, we still need to challenge attitudes as the stigma attached to abortion will not go away overnight.
While the landscape surrounding this issue is changing, we still want to remember all the women who have suffered under the anti-abortion law. We very much hope that in the not too distant future this film is seen as a historical document rather than something happening to thousands on women each year.
- W H Y T H I S F I L M M A T T E R S T O U S -
We believe good story telling can generate empathy, challenge thinking, and foster understanding. During a time when abortion rights are being debated, we hope this film can be part of a positive campaign for the extension of abortion rights in Northern Ireland and bodily autonomy.
We want to tell this story to investigate how the Northern Ireland anti-abortion law can place the most vulnerable people in extremely challenging circumstances, in their moment of need.
- O U T R E A C H -
We will be running an outreach programme along side this film.
- We are talking to pro-choice and abortion rights charities, over the course of the project and beyond, to see how we can work with them and promote their message.
- We will deliver free private film screening with Q&A and creative writing workshop to students in Newcastle and Liverpool after the film is complete.
- We are offering 3 paid trainee apprenticeship positions.
- Y O U R D O N A T I O N -
We have 75% of our funding in place, through the BFI, Sunday for Sammy Fund, and Fine Line Productions. We just need your help to raise the rest!
Your generous donations will allow us to fully execute this ambitious and exciting film to a high standard. Your donation's will contribute towards the costs of making this film, including; cast and crew fees, locations fees, production design, equipment costs, accommodation and travel, catering, post-production costs, and an outreach programme.
Any donation, however big or small, will be greatly appreciated!
- O T H E R W A Y S Y O U C A N H E L P ! -
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Risks and challenges
All films come with their risks and challenges… and Liverpool Ferry is no different! However good preparation and the right team can go a long way to minimise those risks. We have built a brilliant, experienced, and dedicated team whose talent and problem solving ability can take on this ambitious film.
We will be filming across multiple locations in Belfast, Liverpool and on a Ferry, at sea. This, of course, presents a number of logistical challenges, but we have a tight-knit team who will thrive in a fast-paced shoot and can handle moving on from location to location.
Filming in cars and on a ferry also presents challenges. We have all the relevant permissions, insurances, and the right team and equipment in place so that it is executed safely.
This film is ambitious, but achievable, and our budget and shoot time is tight but just enough. We have every confidence we can complete this film successfully!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (27 days)