What is Nina Forever and why kickstarter?
After finally finding a feature script that’s special enough, beautiful enough, twisted enough and – crucially – cheap enough to actually make, we have embarked on bringing our debut feature film, Nina Forever, into the world.
And we’re so keen to get going that we have invested £25k of our own money and started shooting the film last month. However, we want to finish what we started brilliantly and as best we can.
We’re here on Kickstarter asking you to reach into your generous, film-loving pockets because we need that crucial extra bit of funding for a very expensive car crash scene essential to the story. Without that, we simply cannot complete Nina Forever to be the exceptional film that it deserves to be.
What’s the story?
Nina Forever is a darkly comic love story. Holly’s attempt at helping Rob through his grief is not aided by his dead girlfriend Nina coming back, bloody and broken, every time they make love.
Holly has a crush. She's fallen for Rob, who carries a black cloud of death and despair with him wherever he goes. She is warned off by her friends - he is a walking tragedy ever since his girlfriend Nina died in a car crash a year and a half ago. However Holly, a trainee paramedic, is undeterred: she wants him, she can fix him, she can make him happy again.
They start a relationship, and the first time they're in bed together, so is Nina. A bloody and tangled mess of broken limbs, she is dead, very much so, but still here, still talking, all too real. However Holly doesn't freak out and run - she can deal with the dead girl sharing their bed, their lives, their minds. If it's what Rob needs, it's what she'll do…
You can read a script extract on the Nina Forever website here.
What's This Film About?
Nina Forever is a very personal story for us. Exploring themes of grief, the importance of people who aren’t here and of the baggage you bring to a relationship, it shares the fantastical central conceits we use in much of our work, such as ‘Hallo Panda’, whilst finally connecting our dark side to our comedies.
Nina Forever is blackly funny, and we feel that with this film we are really perfecting our voice, the thing that will really define us and the cinematic world we are creating. It is both as pitch black and cynical, and as innocent and open, as we have ever been.
Our inspirations include films like “The Wrestler” and “Let The Right One In” that treat an extraordinary central conceit in a very measured and affecting way. Similarly we’ve been inspired by the work of Stanley Spencer who reimagined biblical miracles in his own village of Cookham in Berkshire. Taking a magical, impossible character like Nina and placing her in a very mundane environment excites us and gets to the heart of what is compelling about magical realism.
There is also a focus on bodies. Nina is as impossible as a ghost but as messily flesh and blood as ever she was. Her naked broken body is a central image, placing a visceral emphasis on the physical longing for someone you miss.
With a deliciously dark and magical sensibility, we try to write films that are out there, but emotionally very true. We think Nina Forever is both.
We’re absolutely thrilled with the cast we’re working with. And we couldn’t have done it without Emily Tilelli. We have the enchanting Fiona O’Shaughnessy as Nina, the infectiously vibrant Abi Hardingham as Holly, and the captivating delights of Cian Barry as Rob. We cannot wait to show you what they’ve done with our characters.
Fiona O’Shaughnessy (Nina)
Fiona O’Shaughnessy has an extensive background in theatre performing at many venues including the Gate Theatre (Dublin), Belgrade Theatre (Coventry) and Arcola (London). Her film and TV credits include, UTOPIA (Kudos/Channel 4), NIGHTWATCHING (dir: Peter Greenaway), THE HALO EFFECT (dir: Lance Daly) and GOLDFISH MEMORY (dir: Liz Gill).
Abi Hardingham (Holly)
Television credits include: Cardinal Burns for Left Bank Pictures; Lewis for ITV1; multi-episodes of hit BBC series Waterloo Road; DOCTORS for BBC Television; lead regular role in BBC series Sparticles; SILENT WITNESS for BBC Television; lead regular role in Freemantle’s Freak and Parents Of The Band for BBC Television. Film credits include: Leading role of Gail in Gail and Gary for Red Rag Pictures; In The Back for Academy Films and Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince for Warner Brothers.
Cian Barry (Rob)
Irish-born actor Cian Barry’s film credits include leading roles in RPG, Holy Water and Ghost Town. His television credits include New Tricks, Titanic, Shameless, Waking The Dead and Man And Boy. Stage credits include Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (UK tour), The Member Of The Wedding (Young Vic) and The Rivals (Southwark Playhouse). Most recently in 2012, Cian played opposite Laurence Fox, Matthew Lewis and Arthur Darvill in a West End production of Our Boys at the Duchess Theatre, London. His performance received critical acclaim describing him as “vividly articulated”, and “stand-out” (The Mail), while Michael Billington in the Guardian said of the cast “together with Cian Barry as a brooding Ulsterman… all impress”.
Elizabeth Elvin (Sally)
TV & film credits include HOT FUZZ (WT2/Big Talk), EASTENDERS (BBC), FULL FIREARMS (Wardill Productions), All IN GOOD TIME (Wilding Films), MONSTERS & RABBITS (Film or Die Productions), PANDEMIC – HORIZON (BBC), HG WELLS – A LIFE IN PICTURES (BBC), FOOTBALLERS WIVES, (Shed Productions), STATE OF PLAY (BBC), HEAVEN'S GATE (MGM) and the winner of BBC Best Online Drama FAMILY PORTRAIT. Elizabeth’s theatre credits include LOOBY LOO – NO STRINGS ATTACHED (Edinburgh 2012), LADY OF LARKSPUR LOTION (Hackney Empire. US, Hampstead Theatre), THE RETURN (Birmingham Stage Co.), HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES (Bristol Old Vic), THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE (Lyric & UK Tour), WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND and MACBETH (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham) and SHIRLEY VALENTINE (Best Actress Award Winner, Palace Theatre).
David Troughton (Dan)
David is renowned for his Shakespearean roles on the British stage and for his many roles on British television, notably that of Dr Bob Buzzard in A VERY PECULIAR PRACTICE and Ricky Hansen in NEW TRICKS. David's film credits INCLUDE TWELFTH NIGHT, MADAM BOVERY, A VERY PECULIAR PRACTICE. Recent TV credits include THE CAFE, NEW TRICKS and ALL THE KING'S MEN. His many stage roles include MY CITY (Almeida), INHERIT THE WIND (Old Vic), ENJOY (The Gielgud), PLAYING WITH FIRE (The National). David won the Globe Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in RICHARD III (RSC) in 1996.
Look and feel of the film
We will emphasise the awful magical impossibility of the idea by placing it in mundanity. The backdrop to our story is the contemporary, very ordinary, new build world of modern Britain. A network of boxes and allocated spaces - supermarkets, cemeteries, car parks and residential flats.
One key reference here is the painter Stanley Spencer who in many of his works, most especially his “The Resurrection, Cookham” situates powerful, spiritual events in his own small village in Kent.
Camera and Lighting
The camera will be observational. Like Let The Right One In, it will often be static and beautifully composed, the story being told by the character and their relationship to that frame.
Often those static frames will also be hand-held, giving a sense of emotion rather than movement. And as we see so much of the story through the eyes of Holly, sometimes we will, like The Wrestler, use hand-held to follow behind her as she moves through her environment.
The film will be shot in cinemascope 2.35:1 to show all of the reality in the surroundings even whilst we are close with the characters and their impossible situation. This ratio also helps us to emphasise the space, the gaps left behind by things and people.
This is a winter film that only just breaks into spring for a glimmer of hope at the end. The lighting will be soft and muted, days full of greys and blues - making Nina’s dark red blood inescapable.
Even with a tight budget, resourceful sourcing and simple ideas enable us to emphasise the design elements that matter most to our story. The need for comfort and the sparsity, absence and fractures of grief all mix Nina’s own interest in decay, in printing, in tattoos and text.
There is an economy of style inherent to the story of grief. A matter-of-factness that is enhanced by long takes and precise choice of shot, as Steve McQueen demonstrates in Hunger. We will always find the right angle from which to tell the story, rather than over-shoot in order to “fix it in post”.
Nina is fantastical and mysterious, weird and bloody. However this is not a film about gore or body horror, we want to puzzle the audience with the quiet horror of how a body can break and yet somehow still work. It is her impossibility which is most important - she will be framed accordingly, so the audience never really knows how she fits together.
To this end a variety of techniques will be employed - prosthetics and make-up, body doubles, puppetry and computer compositing all play a part.
However there will be no CGI, in the sense of generating graphics from within a computer to add something that wasn’t there. Though Nina’s energy is similar to the ghosts of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit we have always been keen that she is a real impossible physical messy presence in Rob and Holly’s lives.
Whilst the pacing of the cutting and camerawork will be slow and considered, the music will, like Nina, upset this rhythm. Our references include Kele, Amanda Palmer, Alexandre Desplat’s work on Birth, Joy Division and Nina Simone.
The music will be full of drumming, with a manic bounce, enjoying the sense of inevitable collapse, failure and decay. We are not making a requiem but a dryly honest account of the loss of the people we love.
Who We Are
The Blaine Brothers (Writer/Directors)
Renowned for their award-winning comic short films, the Blaine Brothers continue to delight audiences across many platforms with their unique vision.
They are, of course, currently in production on their feature debut “Nina Forever” a magic realist tale of grief and sex with a darkly comic undertone, which builds upon a great year. In the past twelve months they have been nominated for a BIFA with their short “0507”, directed award-winning sketches for BBC Comedy featuring Foster’s Best Newcomer Cariad Lloyd, a taster for Tiger Aspect, a critically acclaimed Edinburgh show (“Where’s Barry?” ****Chortle), edited Bad Education for BBC3, Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff for BBC2, and done a whole bunch of virals and music videos besides.
Previously they have featured in Screen International’s “Stars of Tomorrow”, been nominated at the Edinburgh Film Festival, shortlisted by BAFTA three times, mentored on the prestigious Guiding Lights scheme and the London Short Film Festival has held a retrospective of their work at the ICA. Ben also writes a blog for Shooting People, which was listed by Movie Maker Magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential Film Blogs in the World and goes out to 120,000 unique users a month.
They are represented by Jean Kitson at MBA.
Cassandra Sigsgaard (Producer)
Cassandra cut her teeth working with top producers such as Simon Channing-Williams (The Constant Gardener) and Andrea Calderwood (Last King Of Scotland), was Head of Development at Silverlight Media, and Line Produced international co-productions such as the Treasure Island Kids trilogy.
She set up Jeva Films in 2008 to produce her own slate of feature projects. Currently in production is the feature film debut from the Blaine Brothers, Nina Forever; and the Film London-funded The River, starring Robert Emms (Broken; Mirror Mirror), and Clive Russell (Sherlock Holmes; The Wolfman) is in post production. Upcoming feature films include the romantic comedy Hallo Panda by the Blaine Brothers and the drama Starless to be directed by Laura Smith and developed with funding from the British Film Institute.
Previous films include the award-winning short film Eva by Laura Smith, In The Park by Sasha Hails, (both supported by Film London and the British Council), and a series of viral films for the Eve Appeal starring Jenny Éclair, Lorraine Kelly and Helen Lederer.
Oliver Russell (Director of Photography)
Oliver Russell is an ever more sought after Director of Photography whose work spans television, commercials, music videos and short films. His recent credits include a pair of forthcoming C4 comedy shows, “Anna + Katy” directed by Ed Bye (Red Dwarf), staring Anna Crilly and Katy Wix and “The Mimic” directed by Kieron Hawkes (Piggy) and starring Terry Mynott, Jo Hartley and Neil Maskell. Most notable though are his long running collaborations with award winning directors Ben Taylor (Cardinal Burns, Idots Of Ants) and the Blaine Brothers (Hallo Panda, Free Speech, Death Of The Revolution). For both Oliver has been instrumental in creating a visual style that boldly demonstrates how comedy can be as artful and beautiful as any drama. It is no surprise therefore that he has worked with some of the most cutting edge talents in British Comedy including Cardinal Burns, The Idots Of Ants, Thomas Nelstrop, Doc Brown and Cariad Lloyd.
Oli’s commercial work includes promos for Lynx, Blackberry, Skype, Microsoft, McDonalds, Captain Morgan and Flora. In the world of music he has shot promos for artists as diverse as The Hoosiers, The Sugarbabes, The Wanted, McFly and Mr.Hudson.
Damien Creagh (Production Designer)
Damien has been working as a Production Designer and Art Director for over ten years on short films and features that include Film London Microwave feature film Shifty, the novel-adaptation of Island starring Natalie Press, BAFTA-shortlisted Incorporated and BIFA-shortlisted Inseparable from director Nick White, and short film Fishy starring Shirley Henderson.
Prior to his work in film, Damien’s rich and varied experience as an artist has seen him assist Set Designer Keith Payne (of Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones fame) on stage sets for theatre and four award-winning parade floats, art direct and manage two innovative multi-media night clubs in Ireland, spend two years as a Community Artist in the west of Ireland, join a travelling theatre company, manage bespoke furniture companies as well as freelance in interior decorating. Between films he has worked in various artistic capacities for several events companies, including Blonstein, Ingenious and Icon, and has Art Directed several indoor and outdoor events for clients including the BFI and Bloomsbury Festival.
Ryan Chandler (1st Assistant Director)
Ryan Chandler is a long term collaborator of the Blaine Brothers, having worked with them for over 10 years. He is an up and coming First Assistant Director with over ten years experience within TV and Film. His recent credits include the independent feature films ‘Two Days in The Smoke’ and ‘A Silver Goat’, and after 'Nina Forever' he will be working on ‘Playing Mercy’, another London set feature.
Ryan's style is to create a fun yet relaxed, professional and creative environment for all departments to work and thrive in, and he is an invaluable member of the team.
Charlie Weisfeld (Sound Mixer)
Charlie Weisfeld is an experienced location sound mixer/sound recordist/boom op on a wide variety of productions, from corporate and documentary to drama. His credits include The Tragedy of MacBeth, Rite, Mutant Chronicles, Jack Falls and Primeval. Before coming on board for Nina Forever, Charlie worked with writer/director Gareth Jones as Sound Mixer for his feature film Delight.
Imogen Loveday-Brown (Costume Designer)
Imogen is a freelance fashion and film stylist based in London. Initially designing and styling for fringe theatre, short films and music videos, she started to assist and test regularly on editorial and commercial shoots, all the while bringing in more of her own work and contacts. Now solely freelancing, she has worked for the likes of Jaeger, T3 magazine, Early Learning Centre, Film Four, How To Spend It Westfield and Aveda. Celebrity clientele include Tinie Tempah, Nemone, George Lamb, Bashy, Lauren Laverne and Snow Patrol. Along with fashion styling and costume design Imogen also provides personal styling and styling consultancy services to individuals and organisations.
Saffron Powell (Head of Hair and Make-up)
Over the years Saffron has worked her talents on everything from creature effects through to male grooming and fashion. She brings a wealth of versatility and experience in nearly every aspect of the industry having worked as Make-up Artist on music videos for bands such as Elbow, Goldfrapp, The Scissor Sisters, The Killers, The Zutons and The Young Knives and commercials such as BodyForm Responds and Tesco Crafts Christmas, and Art Finisher for feature films The Mummy, The Fifth Element and Mortal Kombat Annihalation.
Emily Tilelli is a member of the Casting Directors Guild and is known for casting commercials, music videos, series, shorts and feature films. Having established herself as one of Sydney’s ‘go-to’ casting directors, Emily relocated to London in the spring of 2007 to work with some of the UK’s leading casting consultancies. In 2011 Emily founded ET Casting and recent credits include short films ‘The River’ starring Clive Russell and Robert Emms, 'Our Lady of Lourdes' starring Naomi Scott and Nick Moran, and Metamorphosis, a special film with Ed Speleers and Anna Friel for the UK’s National Gallery. Emily is thrilled to have cast independent feature film ‘Nina Forever’ and is about to start work on pilots for Sky, CBeebies, and Channel 4.
What The Funds Will Be Used For
Integral to the Nina Forever story is a massive car crash scene. The film just can’t do without it. Unfortunately our current budget could… So we need to raise funds to make it happen!!
The scene we need help funding involves some expensively dramatic chaos - two cars crushed together, ambulances and paramedics running around, firetrucks with firefighters cutting metal, police cars with police officers keeping order, a semi-conscious girl stuck in a car with a rod through her leg, excitable dogs, concerned bystanders and their cars, smoke, tears, screams, sirens, the works basically. And we are filming at night. So that means big lights and big generators (and trucks) to match, plus out of hours costs, not to mention the insurance, health and safety, stewards, camera equipment, crowd control, transport, hot drinks and all the usual things that come with closing down a road and shooting an ambitious film sequence with lots of people, drama and technical challenges…
It is essential that we are able to make this scene as good as we possibly can.
We have every faith in this film and have invested our own money into the production. At £25k it is genuinely a low-budget production, albeit a beautiful one with a hugely talented cast and crew attached, and that every person involved believes in.
The car crash is the one thing that we definitely can’t do on a low-budget. We need your support to make our film the best it can be and increase its chances of success.
What You Can Get For Your Support
For every £1 you give to Nina Forever, you have helped make 1 frame of the film happen. Hoorah!
We’ll show our thanks by giving everyone who donates to Nina Forever their own unique series of beautiful jpegs taken from the film to the number of pounds they have given. So if you donate £12 you get sent 12 frames, and nobody else will have those frames.
Everyone will also get a thank you on our website and social media. If you support ½ second or more (£12+) you’ll also get a personalised letter pressed thank you card and a Nina Forever temporary tattoo accompanying the Nina Forever reward you selected. And if you support 20 seconds of the film or more (£480+) then you'll get a film credit!
PLUS you can take your pick from other creative Nina Forever themed rewards. All the rewards are listed over to the right and range from £6 (1/4 second of the film) to £7200 (3 ½ Minutes of the film) and, depending on what you choose, can include such goodies as:
- A thank you message on the website and social media
- A unique sneak preview clip of the film
- A Unique series of jpeg frames from the film
- A unique visit to set (with opportunity to be an extra)
- A thank you video message posted up online
- A letter-pressed, personalised card
- A Nina Forever temporary tattoo
- A sandy Cornwall-themed keepsake
- A high quality film still
- The Nina Forever film poster
- A limited edition bloody handprint mug
- A limited edition bloody handprint pillow
- An invitation to Cast & Crew screening
- A private Nina Forever screening
- A signed copy of the script (not annotated)
- A ticket to a Blaine Brothers masterclass
- A one-to-one mentoring session with the Blaine Brothers
- A dinner/lunch with the Blaine Brothers & crew
- A big thanks in the film credits
- The breakup bear featured throughout the film
- Annotated and signed scripts
- A dedicated blog post on the Nina Forever tumblr and Ben's Shooting People blog (audience of 35k) about you and/or your business/project
- And executive Producer credit on film and on IMDB
- And a really warm glow inside
- The more you contribute, the better the rewards get!
But, naturally, we appreciate all of your donations, no matter how big or small, it all counts towards our goal, so please just give what you can.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if we don't raise our goal? Kickstarter is ALL OR NOTHING fund-raising. If we don’t hit our target, even if we’re only £10 short, we don’t get to keep any of the money we raise. If we reach our target, your credit card will be charged at the end of the campaign only if the campaign hits the goal.
Can we raise more than our goal? Absolutely, YES we can! Any additional funds raised will be put to good use, making sure the film is the best it can be, more than we hoped for. Additional funds will help secure its success once completed by going towards post-production, distribution, promotion and exhibition costs, making your support worthwhile.
Can you increase your donation once you've pledged? YES! As long as you do it before the campaign deadline, you can make additional donations to your heart’s content. You just need to click on the “Manage This Donation” button once you've contributed and logged-in again.
How Else Can You Help?
Crowd-sourcing works best when there's a crowd! Please help us spread the word and encourage others to support Nina Forever.
Join our Facebook, follow us on Twitter, use the #NinaForever twitter hashtag, join our emailing list, read our blog updates, follow our pinterest, invite others to do all this too. And send them our Kickstarter link!
- Nina Forever official website (where you can sign up to our mailing list): www.ninaforever.com
- Nina Forever Tumblr
- Nina Forever Facebook Page
- Blaine Brother twitter
- Ben’s Shooting People blog
- Nina Forever Pinterest
We really appreciate any support, however big or small, to help us reach our funding target!
The Blaine Brothers and the Nina Forever creative team. x
Risks and challenges
We have the luxurious advantage of already being full speed into production with an extremely capable and talented cast and crew. We know that Nina Forever is well on its way and that in May, when the campaign ends, we will have a beautiful, funny, touching, twisted and thoroughly enjoyable film in the can. And hopefully an equally stunning car crash to match!
The main potential risks and challenges that we foresee in the future are those associated with what happens after we've shot the film. Post-production is always a challenging time - not only will we be having to make some tough time-pressured cutting room floor decisions, this is when we'll be focusing hard our distribution and exhibition strategies for the film. This is an absolutely crucial part of the film's success.
Luckily we have a very strong, resilient team behind Nina Forever and a very attractive film in the works. Our team's robust industry knowledge and experience coupled with the film's arresting appeal will make sure we get Nina Forever the global exposure that it fully deserves.
We are confident that we will overcome the risks and challenges ahead and that none of your incredible support will be in vain, and certainly not forgotten!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)