We are Stella Scott, Victoria Rigby and Amy Wells, the director, writer and producer of VIRTUOSO. Thank you for coming to check out our project
What’s it all about?
This is a film about liberation. Set in a strange, dream-like world, it follows a concert pianist whose drive to be ‘virtuous’ is destroying her ability to realise her talent. We started writing it a long time ago when we realised that trying to please other people was a hindrance instead of a help.
We want to tell a thrilling, plot-twisty, and fierce story about a woman who finally lets go of other people’s restrictive expectations, and fights to be considered an artist. But to do that, we need your help...
// WHY IT MATTERS //
It’s not news that there’s always been resistance to complex women on screen. Even when female characters are allowed to be morally grey, antagonistic, or out for themselves, the question we always hear is ‘How is she likeable?’
We’re a bit tired of the idea that women need to make sure people like them. We want female characters we can root for, ones who are fiercely, fully human. And the ones we need the most are those who aren’t bound by what others think women should be like. Aren’t we all tired of being told we’re too fat/too thin/too old/too young and in every other way not quite good enough?
We know there is an audience out there who are eager for these stories to be told, who don't need their female characters to be nice to be worth watching. We want this film to be inspiring and important. We want to pave the path for other female filmmakers to play with the strange and unexpected.
// WHY WE NEED YOU //
We’ve had a tough time getting funding for this film: several half-chances gone dark, which is why we are here.
We are reaching out to you - the audience - to help us tell this story. And when it's done, we look forward to giving back - we will put everything into making VIRTUOSO the most liberating, thrilling and uncompromising experience for you. The film, and Josephine’s journey, are a call to action, and a cathartic buzz to be shared with everyone involved.
// THE PROJECT //
Horror is a genre that hasn't traditionally been associated with female directors. You can help us change that.
Female filmmakers need your support to take creative risks and tell dark stories, in an industry that tends to play it safe with the opportunities it provides to women. We need the support of horror fans, cinephiles and the film-loving public who want to see more films made by women.
// WOMEN IN GENRE FILM //
From FATAL ATTRACTION to THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, women seen in revenge narratives are often depicted as ‘psychotic’ or ‘mad’. Rarely is a woman given such agency as in VIRTUOSO - a film in which a woman uses wild, unwieldy violence as the catalyst behind her creative emancipation.
Narratives are important. We want you to join us in making an alternative female narrative - one which moves the goalposts and pushes the audience to see female creativity in a new light.
More women should be making horror films, and more horror films should be made in Britain. With your support, we can start moving things in the right direction.
// WHAT WILL WE DO WITH YOUR MONEY? //
The film’s aesthetic is one of gorgeous, decaying grandeur. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to shoot at the Grade I-listed Goldsmith’s Hall. From the palatial halls to the grand chandeliers, it’s the perfect location to realise the film.
The money we hope to raise will cover the production budget of the film. We've included a breakdown below of how the monies will be distributed.
// WHY KICKSTARTER //
The Kickstarter community is vital in allowing us to make this happen. Without you, this film won't exist. You will be as vital to the fruition of the project as our DOP, runners and editor. We want you to be with us every step of the way, from pre-production through to production and post. Making a film happens when you connect people and share a vision. And our biggest goal is to make the film and to share it with you, the people who funded it.
// Note from the director, Stella Scott //
VIRTUOSO has been my passion project for two years. I’m thrilled that we have been able to assemble such a talented group of creatives to make it happen. On the surface, it’s a familiar narrative - the suffocating mentor who thwarts his student's ambitions. But what makes VIRTUOSO different is its determination to sensationalise this dynamic and narrative, to discover the truth that lies beneath the extreme.
The film will deliberately play with stereotypes and artifice. I love the theatre and melodrama of films like Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA and Peter Greenaway’s THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER. These films are intrepid and uncompromising. Theatre is key to my work, and VIRTUOSO won’t shy away from the theatre of the classical music world: instead, it will embrace it.
The horror motifs, the nails, the violence, the eerie atmosphere and unnerving cinematography are there to tell a bigger story of creative emancipation: how far Josephine will go to to get what she wants, and how far we will follow her. I will work closely with actress Victoria Rigby to create an iconic, volatile female lead in this dance between melodrama and surrealism. Pushing emotion through image, sound and performance, and delivering it through perfect composition and timing is my way of connecting with the audience.
// TEAM //
Director STELLA SCOTT is signed to Pulse Films. She has recently been selected for the iFeatures scheme (LADY MACBETH, APOSTASY) and will develop her first feature with the producer Sorcha Bacon (WREN BOYS). In 2009 she wrote and directed FINDING SOL starring Montserrat Lombard. Commissioned through London Calling, Film London, this short screened at Underwire Film Festival. In 2011 she directed STREET ANGEL. Commissioned by Dazed, this short won Vimeo Staff Pick and screened at The Smalls, Frontline and CPH:Market. In 2017 she wrote and directed REVERIE, written in collaboration with young people across London. Commissioned by Dazed, this short screened at Aesthetica, London Short Film Festival, East End Film Festival, Barbican Chronic Youth Festival and Edinburgh Short Film Festival. Her short films have also been commissioned and released by Nowness, Condé Nast and the Tate.
VICTORIA RIGBY is a writer and actress from Lincolnshire. She studied English at Cambridge and is represented by Independent Talent. Her play GIRL FROM NOWHERE made its US debut last summer in New York City, following acclaimed five-star runs at Theatre503, the Pleasance Edinburgh and London’s Other Palace. She is currently developing the TV pilot QUEEN OF CLUBS with director and long-time collaborator Whitney Mosery (HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD; KING CHARLES III), and was shortlisted for the iFeatures scheme with Stella Scott for their film GRACE. She studied playwriting at the Lyric course led by Duncan Macmillan and Simon Stephens, and as a singer trains with leading vocal coach Mary Hammond. She also plays piano and viola, and VIRTUOSO is partly inspired by her experiences of the classical music world.
DOP ANNIKA SUMMERSON was born and bred in Stockholm. An MA Cinematography graduate of UK's prestigious National Film & Television School, Annika is now based in East London, but works worldwide in drama, commercials and music promos. Her graduation film UNTIL THE RIVER RUNS RED, directed by Paul Wright, won a BAFTA for Best Short Film. Her work has kept picking up major awards including an UKMVA, an Amanda (Norwegian BAFTA), Best Cinematography at Underwire and most recently Honorary Mention for Outstanding Cinematography for her work on the short drama Camping With Ada. Her feature films AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS, BFI funded POSTCARDS FROM LONDON and BBC rap-battle feature VS were released in 2018, with the latter premiering at BFI London Film Festival.
Editor MARNIE HOLLANDE has a BA in fine art and history of art and a 1st class MA in Editing, both from Goldsmiths College. She began her career editing performance-lead film for dance and theatre. She went on to cut exciting commercial content for Max Mara, Nike, Microsoft, Hyundai, the British Council, The Tate and The Barbican. Her fiction work has screened internationally at Aesthetica, Underwire (nominated for BFI XX Award), East London Film, Bushwick and Athens Drama film festivals.
Designer GEORGIA HARDINGE attended Parson’s School of Design in Paris. She was awarded the best designer award for her graduate collection. She founded her own label in 2010, which has achieved global success. Georgia’s sculptural designs have been exhibited at the V&A and Somerset House. Georgia is kindly lending the production a selection of her designs to be featured in the film.
// PRODUCERS //
PRANAV ARYA is the Executive Producer at Flare at AMV BBDO. He has worked in advertising and production for the last 14 years in Dubai. He obtained a Masters in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh. In 2017 he produced a short film called HIP HOP CAFE that was screened at the London Film Festival and Aspen. Within 24 hours of it being uploaded onto Vimeo, HIP HOP CAFE won a staff pick and garnered 150,000 views in 3 days. Pranav is a huge champion of new and diverse talent in the industry.
TONY POWELL began his career in feature films working for companies such as Potboiler Productions (A MOST WANTED MAN, THE CONSTANT GARDENER), Thin Man Films (MR TURNER, ANOTHER YEAR), and Wild Horses Film Company (MY BROTHER THE DEVIL, ARCHIPELAGO). He studied film production at the Arts University Bournemouth where he specialised in producing, writing and directing. Tony spent time working as a 1st AD and Production Manager on music videos, micro-budget features and documentaries before moving into producing commercials. He is currently Head of Production at Flare AMV.
AMY WELLS is a development executive at Rooks Nest Entertainment (THE WITCH, OBVIOUS CHILD). Having worked at a grassroots film collective and cinema in Nepal, and headed up an outreach scheme engaging young children to talk about film; she is a passionate advocate of opening up the industry to new voices. Before starting in development, she worked for Sheffield Doc Fest and as a freelance researcher for various documentary film companies.
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Risks and challenges
We are well aware of the many risks and challenges we face in making VIRTUOSO. It is worth mentioning that although we plan to shoot the film by the end of the year, the availability of cast and crew can cause shoot dates to move. We will, of course, do all we can to make sure the film happens in 2019 and will keep you in the loop if we intend to shoot the film at a later date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)