Duck Daze is about a middle aged woman who is at last ready to face up to the abuse from her past and wrestle with her personal demons - which include an imaginary duck. It is a unique, darkly comic and highly personal tale of survival and triumph created in the wake of Me Too, written and directed by women with a cast of 3:1 women to men - and a duck.
Duck Daze tells the story of Johnina, a middle-aged woman arriving back to her child-hood home in the Outer Hebrides, for the funeral of her father, her childhood abuser.
Now back in the community after many years, the memories of her abuse and the community turning a blind eye to it, forces Johnina to resort to old child-hood habits of dissociation by bringing a duck in a painting to life. Duck offers Johnina an escape from her memories but eventually she has to overcome Duck by literally wrestling with it.
We have been fortunate to receive the support from Creative Scotland through the Scottish Shorts programme run through SFTN and have received £15,000 in funding. This goes a long way to realising the ambition of Duck Daze. Though doesn't quite get us all the way there...
So we’ve already got some funding, why do we need more?
The funds we have been awarded by the Scottish Film Talent Network allow us to shoot the bulk of our film in central Scotland, while sending a splinter unit to the Isle of Lewis for one day to film certain exterior shots.
We want to tell a story that’s authentic to the script - written in English and Gaelic! We want to raise more money so we can afford to film ALL of our exterior scenes on the Isle of Lewis, where Duck Daze is set. The island landscape plays a character at the heart of the film, and it’s important to us that we authentically capture this beautiful and remote location.
Travel and accommodation costs for our crew will increase the budget, but we also want to invest this additional funding back into local resources by working with as many local crew and contractors. We have already began working with a location manager from Lewis and we will continue to work with local companies and individuals while we’re on Lewis; from caterers, animal wranglers, accommodation providers and local businesses.
You can make a huge difference to the film by allowing us to tell this story in the landscape from which it was conceived.
We have already cast our lead actresses and are in the process of attaching our supporting cast.
For our lead role of Johnina we have cast the brilliant Daniela Nardini. She's a Scottish actress of Italian ancestry, who played Anna Forbes in the BBC Two television series This Life. The role earned her a BAFTA Best Actress award in 1998 and also earned her a Scottish BAFTA. She went on to win a second Scottish BAFTA in 2009 for her role in Annie Griffin's New Town.
For the role of Johnina's mother Catherine, we have cast the legendary Dolina Maclennan. Originally from the Isle of Lewis, Dolina was simple the only person we wanted to play the role. Dolina is a legendary Gaelic writer, actress and singer, renowned as one of the originators of the Edinburgh folk scene of the 1960's. She has appeared on TV numerous times and movies such as The Queen and even comedy series Still Game.
Behind Duck Daze is an experienced core creative team, supported by an excellent production team...even if we do say so ourselves!
Writer Julia Taudevan, is an actor, playwright and theatre maker. From the Isle of Lewis, Julia has been described as “one of the most exciting forces in Scottish Theatre” by Joyce McMillan for the Scotsman and has won the Playwrights Studio Scotland New Writers Award and the Tom McGrath Maverick Award. She was one of 5 writers invited to participate in Scottish Film Talent Networks inaugural Write4Film programme - from where the script for Duck Daze came.
Alison Piper has already directed a number of short films including most recently ‘Free Period’, a comedy drama that demands free sanitary care for young people in Scotland. After its first screening in the Scottish Parliament at the launch of MSP Monica Lennon’s members’ bill to end period poverty, Free Period has won awards at film festivals in the UK and internationally. Alison is drawn to stories that use humour to question taboos and highlight inequalities.
Two heads are always better than one right!? So we have two producers working together on Duck Daze.
Producer James Heath, is the producer of post apocalyptic comedy feature, The Fitzroy. The film won awards at SXSW, Worldfest and was nominated for the LOCO discovery award
His short film producing credits include proof of concept ‘Biopunk’, ‘Sheep’, live action 3D short ‘Breath’ and festival hit ‘One Last Dance’ starring Jonathan Pryce.
Producer Tom Gentle, has also produced three short films and feature documentary. His first short, Lost Girl, was an official selection at various festivals worldwide, including London Short Film Festival and Amsterdam Lift Off Film Festival.
His feature documentary Uhuru, produced under extremely difficult circumstances for four months in Tanzania, premiered at San Francisco Documentary Film Festival. Blindsided, another short film, premiered at GSFF, and is in the early stages of its festival run.
Working with us on production we are also privileged to be working with Casting Director Simone Pereira Hind whose credits include Elizabeth (1998), Hamlet (1996) and TV series Outlander. We hope to have updates on the cast over the course of the campaign.
Our fantastic Director of Photography Gabi Norland has twice won best Cinematography at Underwire festival, once for ‘Sis’ which was also BIFA nominated and won best short at Rushes in 2010 and for ‘The Treehouse’ in 2014.
Production Designer James Lapsley's work has bridged genres and styles, from delicately realised award winning dramas such as Shell (2012 Winner: Best Film 30th Turin Film Festival 2012) and Skeletons (2009 Winner: Best New British Feature, Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010) through to high concept horror and Sci-fi such as Outpost: Black Sun, Kill Command, and The Creator and through to the smash hit Bodyguard TV series.
Editor Lucy Armitage & Composer Pete MacDonald are both not only brilliant and good friends of ours, they also both worked on Alison's short 'Free Period' and we are thrilled to be working together again.
We've tried to offer some fun and unique rewards to the film - hence the rubber ducks, which are of course environmentally friendly and no ducks were harmed in the making of!
All backers will of course get our eternal gratitude... and a shout out on social media. You also have the chance to see the film as soon as its done with a private digital screener.
There's the opportunity to have some Duck Daze artwork, for you (or a loved one) to appear in the film in our big final scene, as well as your name in lights in the film credits.
We're also offering a one off artwork to you as a reward. The painting of the duck will be appearing in the film and much of the artwork for it and you have the opportunity to own this one off piece of art and even have it signed by some of the cast and crew if you wish (though it may devalue the work!).
As well as the painting we will also throw in all the rewards at the associate producer level - basically everything!
if you have any ideas for rewards you'd like to see, we'd love to hear what they are and we just might add them to the campaign.
Maxed out on those credit cards and dreading that Christmas is already around the corner? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There are still some great FREE ways to help us get this film funded and made.
Spreading the word about this campaign is more valuable than you know, so any time you can share a link to this campaign page and give us a shout out, we’d be extremely grateful. Follow us on Twitter, Like and share our Facebook page, and tell everyone you know about this cool new film you heard about.
We’ll be posting updates about the campaign, the production, and just generally how all our preparations are going including casting and locations, so keep an eye out for these by following us.
We appreciate anything you can do to help. Thanks for your support!
Risks and challenges
No film production is without risks or challenges, so we want to be totally honest and up front about what they are on this project.
Our biggest challenge will be the shooting with a real duck and the difficulty of shooting on a Scottish island in December! Early on we engaged an experienced animal handler who has ducks and has worked with them many times on film shoots. To help manage the locations, we have a very experienced location manager and the know how to organise the right locations on site and run like a well-oiled machine.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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