Aíma has a dark secret. A secret which manifests itself in debilitating agoraphobia. One might think this is unfortunate, considering she lives in one of the most fast-paced cities in the world: London.
To alleviate her loneliness in a terrifyingly densely populated metropolis, Aíma immerses herself in a tantalising online-world where she meets and connects with a like-minded stranger; Mark_the_Prince.
She's not afraid of what the outside world could do to her, but rather, what she might do to it.
Only the Lonely is a darkly comic romance with a twist; telling the story of Aíma, a cloistered agoraphobic vampire, and how she manages her isolation - and her carnal urges - in the daunting urban landscape of contemporary London.
(Greek: ‘blood’, pronounced: ‘Emma’)
Aíma is a mysterious agoraphobic recluse, living alone with her cat Gulliver. Negative experiences in the past have left her riddled with anxiety and a sense of foreboding that nothing good can come of her interacting with the outside world. This leaves her few options for human companionship, so she finds friendship online under the pseudonym Lady Persephone - a friendship which blossoms unexpectedly into romance.
Similarly isolated is the quiet young animator Mark, who, like Aíma, turns to an online world to find the personal connection he craves. While he does find that Aíma is a little more unusual than he was anticipating, both find in each other a companion for life's unexpectedly long journey.
Only the Lonely is a darkly comic romance exploring the forces that keep people apart and pull them together; the fear of the unknown and exposing our true selves on the one hand, and the pain of being alone and the need for human contact on the other. It subverts the typical vampire trope of the tortured or predatory male vampire and unsuspecting female victim to create a feminist interpretation of classic vampire mythology. It also offers a refreshing female perspective on the typical power dynamic of romantic relationships in traditional narratives, and comments more broadly on the potency of female desire.
In this unusual romance, the relationship between Aíma and Mark develops outside of typical social rituals, blossoming through their mutual interest in German Expressionist Horror films, and Mark’s respect for Aíma’s struggles with social anxiety.
Human connection is about finding a common thread and accepting difference. The relationship between a centuries old vampire and a young introvert explores the notion that despite differences in race, age, gender, lifestyle or experience, we can always find common ground when we remove our packaging.
The film’s locations are predominately interiors of Aíma’s flat. The interior decor is dated. There is no natural light inside the flat; all the curtains and blinds are permanently drawn.
The living room is filled with an eclectic mix of furniture and various trinkets, all of which Aíma has accumulated over her long life. Floor and desk lamps with dated shades illuminate the room. There is a pile of old records on the floor, a cello in the corner, a faded velvet sofa and coffee table, lots of books, and several prints and posters of old horror films on the faded wallpaper. There is a small desk covered with piles of curling papers, books and journals with tea rings. The room is a cosy haven - it is where Aíma feels most safe.
The kitchen is small, bare and outdated. The blinds are always closed. There is an old-style refrigerator which hums, and nothing on the bench except an electric kettle. The cupboards are empty, save for a box of dry cat biscuits and a tin of tea bags. The room is pale and impersonal - Aíma spends very little time here.
The cinematography for Only The Lonely will experiment with framing and aspect ratio to help visually represent Aíma’s agoraphobia. Aíma’s intense anxiety about the outside world and what might happen should she allow herself to engage with it, means she feels safest in the small cocoon of the flat which she has made her haven. The cinematography will visually convey the security Aíma feels in intimate spaces, using a combination of close up and wide shots to hone in on key dramatic moments - like when Aíma bites her lip - while also giving a broader visual sense of the world she has created within her flat.
The lighting design for Only the Lonely will be completely artificial, emanating from prop elements on set; it is difficult to tell whether it is day or night outside.
These various outdated lamps and fixtures will create a timeless feel inside Aíma’s flat, keeping it completely disconnected from the quotidian cycle of the busy metropolis. The lamps of various styles will bring pockets of soft colour, with shades of pinks, blues and creams. Other sources of on-set light will be candles, the television, and the computer screen.
Aíma’s costume design is closely connected with her socially anxious personality. She lives alone and never interacts with anyone who can actually see her, so she feels no need to impress with her attire. Whether it is a nightie and dressing gown, or leggings and oversized jumper, she always opts for what is comfortable. As a little symbolic nod to her nature as a vampire, she will wear a pair of deep red bedsocks throughout the film. When dressing for her date, Aíma takes out a little vintage-style dress - which looks like it may well be an original.
Mark’s style is simple, working in neutral tones - white, black, beige & denim - to further emphasise the blood-red colour associated with Aíma.
In order to bring this film to life we require funds to support various production costs, from camera and sound equipment hire, to production design, location hire and costume design.
Equipment Hire - A variety of camera and lighting equipment is required to create the soft, moody atmosphere of the film. This includes the various floor and desk lamps which will be used in lieu of natural lighting to illuminate the interiors. These elements will be managed and shaped by the deft hands and painterly eye of our talented cinematographer.
Location & Set Design - These expenses will involve both hiring fees for the locations (including the London bus) and a budget for our talented production designer to transform the interior spaces into the cluttered treasure trove that is Aíma's flat. Costs for set design include furniture and prop, and van hire to transport these items from prop houses to the location.
Post-Production Costs - Just as important as the shoot itself, is the post-production period where our film will be shaped and polished by various creative talents including a colourist, foley artist and sound designer. Our forecast post-production expenses include hiring fees for the grading suite and sound studio, and fees for international festival distribution.
As a token of our appreciation, alongside our eternal thanks, we'll be offering some specially curated Only the Lonely vampiric goodies for you to sink your teeth into!
Contributions both large and small are very much appreciated, though we do understand that not everyone is able to contribute financially to our project. You can still help us bring our story to life by spreading the word amongst your friends, family and social media networks!
Aíma - Pearl Chanda
Pearl is a RADA graduate who trained on the BA Acting course from 2010 - 2013. Since graduating she has worked in a variety of theatre, film and television.
Pearl's film credits include Mike Leigh's biographical drama MR TURNER, Flaminia Graziadei's THE FINAL HAUNTING, and the short film THE BIG RETURN OF RAY LAMERE, by Henry Darke. In 2015, Pearl won Best Actor at the London International Film Festival. She has also appeared in various television series, including ENDEAVOUR (ITV), ARTHUR AND GEORGE (ITV) and HOLBY CITY (BBC).
Pearl's most recent theatre credits include ONE FOR SORROW at the Royal Court Theatre, and the Almeida/West End production of INK. She has also appeared in JULIE (Northern Stage), GLASS MENAGERIE (Nuffield) ANGRY BRIGADE (Bush Theatre) CRAVE/4.48 PSYCHOSIS (Sheffield), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (RSC), GOLDCHILD (Hampstead Theatre) and THE SEAGULL (Headlong).
Pearl is represented by Gordon and French.
Mark - Luke Pierre
Luke is an actor from South London with credits in theatre, television and radio.
As a young actor, Luke trained and performed in shows at Theatre Peckham alongside Star Wars actor John Boyega, and in 2011 performed in the Young Vic Theatre's parallel production of THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR. Later, he graduated with first class honours in theatre from The University of Surrey, with performances which included Oberon in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and Estragon in Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT.
Since graduating, Luke trained in acting at the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain in their Senior Repertory Company, which culminated in a three-play season in London's West End, in which Luke played Shylock in Shakespeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and Heathcliff in Brontë's WUTHERING HEIGHTS.
Luke went on to make his professional debut at The National Theatre in 2016, performing in Jonathan Kent's acclaimed Early Chekhov Trilogy (THE SEAGULL, IVANOV and PLATONOV) on the Olivier Stage. His other credits include work as a voice actor in the Roundhouse Radio's production of THE LAST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, and the lead role in Johnny Flynn's music video IN THE DEEPEST.
Luke's most recent credits include Matthew Harrison's RUPTURE at the Albany Theatre, and his television debut in Season 2 of Gold's THE REBEL, alongside Simon Callow.
Luke is represented by Denton Brierley.
Director & Co-Writer : Melissa-Kelly Franklin
Born in Alice Springs, Australia, and now based in London, Melissa-Kelly is a writer & director of independent films.
Melissa-Kelly’s debut short film as a writer & director, PORTRAIT, screened in official selection at Wollongong Film Festival and Feel the Reel International Film Festival. The film was highly commended by Experimental Forum for ‘vision and contribution to cinema’ and nominated for Best Original Score by Feel the Reel International Film Festival. Her most recent film, EMBRACE ME, for which she was nominated for Best Director at the Largo Film Awards, is currently screening at international festivals.
Melissa-Kelly’s previous film collaborations include the short documentary WILD THINGS, winner of Best Documentary Film at the Blue Mountains Film Festival and Canberra Film Festival, and highly commended at the Academy-Award qualifying FLiCKERFEST International Short Film Festival.
Melissa-Kelly graduated with first class honours in Advanced Arts from The University of Sydney, with majors in English Literature and History. She followed her academic study with training in screen acting at NIDA classical acting at LAMDA, all of which have been formative in shaping her writing and directing style.
Melissa-Kelly has several other projects in development, including LGBT French Language short film LE VŒU (The Vow) and speculative fiction play, WE'LL DANCE ON THE ASH OF THE APOCALYPSE.
Producer : Danielle Harvey
Danielle began producing in 2011 and co-founded the production company, Just A Little. Since then she has been producing films, commercials and branded content and her work has been screened at numerous festivals and events throughout the UK and internationally.
Danielle’s most recent film, MY FATHER, MY BLOOD, screened at numerous international festivals, including the 62nd Cork Film Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, Belfast Film Festival and the East End Film Festival. Her other films include PROMISE, which screened at the feminist film festival Underwire and THE FOLEY ARTIST, which was the winner of Best Casting, Best Production Design and Best Original Music at Berlin Fashion Film Festival.
Danielle’s commercial and corporate work has included clients such as Heinz, IBM, Intel and MTV, and has worked extensively in India and Africa with Orphans in Need and The Uganda School Project. Danielle also works freelance in Production and as an Assistant Director and has worked on numerous feature films, documentaries and TV Shows.
Danielle is currently the Production Coordinator for THE LONG SONG by NBC Universal & Heyday Television, for the BBC.
Co-Writer : Stephanie Littlewood
Stephanie is a Sydney-based writer whose credits include both short film and fiction.
Steph studied screenwriting and media production at the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Master of Publishing at the University of Sydney, where she was taught by Matthew Dabner, writer and producer of award-winning Australian films THE SQUARE and UNFINISHED SKY. Since graduating she has worked for advertising agency 'The Armory', where she was the production coordinator for the Hello Food Service webseries.
Steph is currently writing a dystopian sci-fi novel, alongside her other projects. While Steph has collaborated with long-time friend, Melissa-Kelly Franklin (Director and Co-writer), on numerous projects, Only the Lonely is their first co-written work.
Cinematographer : Anna MacDonald
Anna is a Canadian/American cinematographer living in London. She started her film career in Vancouver, Canada, working professionally as a focus puller while also collaborating on narrative, documentary and experimental films.
Anna came to the UK to study at The National Film & Television School, where she received the Panalux Award for Cinematography for the short film ‘Come Out of the Woods’, which also screened as part of the Official Selection at Camerimage Film Festival, in the Student Etudes Competition.
She recently shot the Film London commissioned short film, ‘V’, which premiered at BFI London Film Festival, and for which Anna was nominated for Best Cinematography at Underwire Film Festival in 2017.
Production Designer : Emily Durtnall
Emily is a Designer and Artist born and based in London.
Since studying Technical Theatre and Design at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Emily has worked in the Art Department of the Film and Commercials industry.
Her feature film credits include SPECTRE 007, Susanna White's OUR KIND OF TRAITOR, Richard Ayoade's THE DOUBLE and Justin Kurzel's ASSASSIN'S CREED. Emily has also designed a number of short films, from the WWI film COWARD, directed by David Roddham, to the quirky London romance NIGHTHAWKS, directed by Jun Bung Lee.
Emily has recently completed an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, further exploring and deepening her conceptual design practice.
Editor : Marina Dulepina
Marina Dulepina is a Latvian filmmaker based in London. Born to Russian parents, she grew up between two different cultures, giving her two natural sources of inspiration for her creative work. Her passion for cinema led her to study film at the University of West London, where she learned all complexities of the filmmaking process, from production to editing; giving her a broad vision when realising projects as a editor, writer and director.
Marina has worked as an editor on various projects including Melissa-Kelly Franklin’s previous short film, EMBRACE ME. She has also worked as an assistant editor on the BBC short film THE KILLING MACHINE, and on commercials for brands including Danone and Lotus.
Marina’s other film collaborations include the black and white 16mm short comedy JUMP-CUT JEFF (Rob Munday) which screened at the London Short Film Festival, MARRYING THE SUN (London Film School) and PORTRAIT (Melissa-Kelly Franklin).
Her first short film as writer/director, DEREK, is in the final stages of post-production, and she is currently writing her next short film, MERMAID.
Sound Designer : Rob Maloney
Rob is a Composer and Sound Designer, currently Head of Audio Transfer at Gramercy Park Studios in the heart of Soho.
After graduating from Leeds College of Music in 2010 he began his career scoring music for live theatre; touring the UK with various production companies. The first ventures into the film world were as on-set sound recordist, which naturally developed into the varied spectrum of audio post-production including Dialogue Editing, Foley Artist and eventually Sound Designer.
Rob has twice been nominated for the ‘European Talent Award’ for Best Sound Design and Best Musical Score, hosted by Soundtrack Cologne. When he’s not fiddling with Synthesisers and Mix Faders in a studio basement, he can be found perusing old record shops of South London.
Costume Design : Gemma Turner
Gemma is a graduate of the BA Costume for Performance Course at the London College of Fashion with First Class Honours.
She has a particular interest in historic dress, and has previously worked on freelance projects at Cosprop Costumiers, creating 18th Century costumes for Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN V, the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) the Metropolitan Opera (New York) HETTY FEATHER for the BBC; and tour costumes for Basement Jaxx and Gandini Juggling at Anna Burns Studios.
She particularly enjoys working on independent projects and has previously collaborated with Melissa-Kelly as costume designer on PORTRAIT and EMBRACE ME.
Assistant Producer : Eleanor Turner
Eleanor is a Sydney-based writer and producer, currently completing her Bachelor of Arts at The University of Sydney, where she is majoring in English Literature.
Alongside her studies, Eleanor collaborates on various creative projects, including board games company VELDI GAMES, of which she is co-founder and producer. Their recently released project, POLITE SOCIETY: THE JANE AUSTEN BOARD GAME has been hugely popular internationally, and is now available online.
Eleanor writes for and curates a blog about Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, JANE TO GEORGETTE, and is also writing her first historical novel, THE DEADLY CHAISE.
Note: The concepts, characters, story & script, related text, visual style & design remain at all times the exclusive intellectual property of Melissa-Kelly Franklin, Stephanie Littlewood & Danielle Harvey, and cannot be reproduced or used without the express written consent of the rights holders. All rights are expressly reserved.
Risks and challenges
As with every Kickstarter project, there are always some risks and challenges involved. For us, these could be things like aligning production schedules, cast and crew availability and potential unforeseen production costs. However, all of the team involved in the project are experienced professionals, and we've made careful plans to mitigate any risks.
Our team have been a part of multiple successful crowdfunding projects in the past, so we know the process and requirements very well. We're confident we can create a great film with your help!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)