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A psychological thriller about bettering the present by confronting the past.
In Absentia is an independent feature film co-produced by Broadside Films and Pooka Films, written & directed by Christopher T. Lang.
After being pushed off Mount Snowdon's summit, Molly is left in a coma. When she regains consciousness, she has lost all memory of her now-deceased husband and is a shell of her former self. She attempts to climb back to the same summit, in the hope it will free her from her nightmares and allow her to catch her husband’s killer.
Without our memories, we don't know who we are. We are our experiences, a construct of things that have happened to us in the past. This is a story that discusses these issues.
Shot on location in Wales and set on its stunning highest mountain - Snowdon - In Absentia tells the story of Molly, who tragically loses her husband on the mountain's summit in an attack shrouded in mist and mystery.
Molly wakes from a coma months later, having forgotten everything about both her husband and the attack. Her daughter, Becky, becomes desperate to find her mum’s missing pieces and after countless visits to doctors and therapists, she takes things into her own hands. Along with her fiancé Tom, Becky drags Molly up the mountain day after day, week after week to try and jog her memory.
Even despite the help of a kind mountain guide, Shane, Molly struggles to tell whether or not her world is falling apart or finally coming together. At every turn she questions the true intentions of the family around her - the very people who she’s supposed to be closest to - and even her past self.
In time, Molly realises, horrifyingly, that in order to find out the truth she must defeat the mountain alone.
The remote location of Snowdon in North Wales isolates our characters - and acts as a character in itself, that tries to thwart Molly's and Becky's plans of getting to the top of the mountain in one piece.
Molly's journey up to the summit is far from straight forward. Due to her location-specific anxiety, if Molly goes anywhere near the summit it sends her into a frenzied panic attack, that she is determined to overcome.
Who are we?
Who's the cast?
Where are we now ?
We've shot over half of our film already, on location in Snowdonia. For our first block of shooting we put in some of our own money, and managed to find private investment. However, we are still short on our budget to complete this film. Which is why we are reaching out to you.
Chris; “Nothing in this world scares me more, or makes me feel more vulnerable than asking for help. But what writing In Absentia has taught me, is that we have to move through our fear, because on the other side of fear is something beautiful.”
With your contribution, we will be able to finish production on our feature film that the team are so invested in - and we'd love for you to join that team. We will be using these finances to pay actors and crew, pay for locations, transport, food, props, set design, camera hire, and insurance. All the details that come into play when creating a feature film.
We have scheduled in the minimum amount of shooting days possible to get what we need, and this Kickstarter goal is the minimum additional funding we need to complete our film. Naturally, the more money that you contribute, the more shoot days we can have, and the more nuanced our film can be.
What will we be doing with the film once it has been completed?
We have attended two film acquisition markets this year and shown the footage so far to several national and international companies who are very interested in the project and can't wait to be able to represent it and distribute it upon its completion. The plan is to get a limited cinematic release and a film festival run. We will then be expecting it to go to TV and/or VOD on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video.
Chris; “We spent over two weeks walking up and down the mountainside to capture Molly's struggle, so I can say that I know how hard it is to walk up that mountain. Although I don't suffer from PTSD or location-specific anxiety.
But I did. This story is actually based on a true story. Years ago, I was the driver of a car that hit black ice, and went crashing through a barrier with my three passengers and rolled down a cliff. That incident gave me location-specific anxiety. If I went within a mile of the incident site I came out in a cold sweat. Despite that, the incident gave me the seed of an idea - what if I couldn't go back to the place that the accident took place, but for whatever reason I was forced to?
For me, In Absentia is about the real and the unreal, and what defines them both.
I plan to weave the two narratives (one in the past, one in the present) in a way that feels very organic, as if it were a dream - drawing stylistic references from the original The Manchurian Candidate, where the whole army squad are brainwashed and forced to do things. In it, the protagonist can’t figure out which reality he is in right now. A bit like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is another reference I will take with me on my directing journey, but In Absentia will only have flashes of Eternal’s humour.
This film utilises a double narrative flashback crime structure – where events in the present raise questions that only the past can answer. Just like Memento. Stylistically, I will be diametrically opposing the two looks of the film radically. One (the present) will be all wide lenses and in a large open expanse that is Snowdon Mountain. When we move to the past we will be in tighter situations - this is because like her memories, these visions of the past are insular, and like dreams, we don’t see the whole picture. The colour palette will be much warmer than the greens, browns, and blues of the mountain.
The flashbacks will have warm glowing tones, representing happy memories. This is similar to another inspiration of mine, the tone of Blue Valentine.
In Absentia utilises long takes to truly immerse us in the mountain, and just like in Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, will use the weather as a character to directly indicate their moods. There is a reason that the summit Molly is trying to penetrate is surrounded in mist, as this is symbolic of her memory – murky and unclear.
For the soundtrack to the film, I plan to score it classically with a nod to films like The Machinist which is more in tune with classic composition, and immediately lets the audience into the mood of the film - which I think is crucial in absorbing them into the story.”
Find Out More & Spread the Word
We need all the help we can get in spreading the word about our campaign! If you would like to get even more involved, we invite you to join our little email army and send this campaign https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/inabsentia to anyone you feel may be interested!
You can also follow the campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our website www.inabsentiamovie.com offers even more information on the film, including a production blog of our story so far and the opportunity to sign up to our mailing list.
We are so grateful for any and all support!
If you want to learn more about the project or are interested in contributing above the scope of what Kickstarter offers, then please get in touch at email@example.com
Thanks for reading - we hope to see you on set or at the screening! I can't tell you how much this means to us. We're super excited to finish what we started, we passionately believe in the project and the story that it tells - why else would we have walked up the same mountain for two weeks to film it?
Risks and challenges
Making films is inherently a risky business, particularly feature films. It’s a large investment in time, money and energy from a large team of people, and the biggest risk is that it might not pay off.
To limit that risk we have done due diligence. We have chosen a genre film with commercial appeal. We have cast solid actors with a credible background in TV, film and theatre. We have employed crew that we have worked with before, and who know their technical roles well. Fundamentally, we have chosen a story and characters that we are passionate about.
We have invested over a year in developing the project to make sure that the best possible version goes onto the screen, and Chris has worked with two script editors and continues to tweak the script as the story forms on set with the actors.
We really need your help for this to become a reality. We've shot over half of the film already, and are so close to finishing. The biggest risk to us is that we don't gain enough money to be able to complete the shoot. We've come so far already and we want to get to the end.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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