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TARGET 2024: £27,000

THE GAME portrays the physical and emotional challenges faced by families with a disabled and chronically ill parent, particularly when the child takes on the role of carer

The Game Film Limited, is a start-up that has been created to produce and distribute the short film THE GAME. At the helm are Suri Ellerton, the film’s producer, and Charlotte Gwinner, the film’s director. The screenplay, written by BAFTA nominated writer Simon Bent, was inspired by his journey of parenting his young son alongside early on-set Parkinson’s disease. It explores the moment when there is a shift from parent as carer to child as carer and the complex emotions around this experience including shame, embarrassment and denial.

 

They successfully completed their first phase of fundraising, raising £10,850 through a robust crowdfunding campaign. This not only provided crucial financial backing for basic production needs, it enabled the producers to build vital partnerships with charity partners; and also marked the genesis of our unique community, as many donors share a personal connection to chronic illness.

They are now actively fundraising for post-production, further accessibility measures for disabled team members and for an outreach initiative to bring young carers on set. In addition, they are seeking funds for distribution costs, which will include community screenings and events with charity partners.

They are holding a formal fundraising event for the 31st of January. This event will serve not only to secure financial contributions but also as a platform to expand awareness beyond our film. An 'in conversation' panel with community members, will shed light on their experiences, begin meaningful dialogue, and expand our network of supporters and audience members.

What is THE GAME?

Suri Ellerton and Charlotte Gwinner explain:

"Film has the power to touch people on a profound level, fostering empathy and understanding. Our goal with THE GAME is to create a visually captivating and emotionally resonant short film that portrays the physical and emotional challenges faced by disabled and/or chronically ill parents.

As Olivia anxiously departs from the local park, leaving her husband, John, and their seven-year-old son, Ben, behind, John reassures her that everything will be alright. Despite being at a critical stage in his chronic illness, John is determined to have a "normal" day out.  But when Ben eagerly runs ahead, excited to play football, John is faced with the undeniable challenge that lies ahead. He offers up his walking stick as a second post but as appearances start to fray and he succumbs to gravity and falls, he is forced to face his mortality and accept help from his seven-year old son. 

 

The Game is a character driven, wry parable about wishful thinking, pride and learning to live with limitations. Told using a hyper-realistic and poetic style, a snatched moment between a father and son becomes a poignant event, drawing painful truths to the surface and challenging their expectations of each other.

THE GAME elevates a normally mundane situation - a father and son playing football in the park - to a high stakes arena, almost in the style of a classic Western. Each character denies the truth of the situation but that denial leads to consequences that will affect their relationship forever.

Why is the film important?

This project has been developed by a core creative team who all have personally felt the complexities of parenting chronic illness and disabliity. Up until now, in our professional lives in film and theatre we have found ourselves in other people's stories, but with this film we're hitting a milestone as we're finally telling our own stories. Our BAFTA nominated writer, Simon Bent, was inspired to write this script after parenting his son alongside a diagnosis of early on-set Parkinson's disease. When she isn't producing, our producer Suri Ellerton, is raising three young children while managing the symptoms and morbidities of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Our director, Charlotte Gwinner parents alongside her disabled partner. This film authentically reflects our lived experience.

 

It is rare to find a piece of media that explores the daily life of a disabled parent. In a parent-child relationship, the expectation of caring is on the adult. But in a family with a parent with a disability, often the roles are reversed. The emotions that surround that experience are complex. There may be some pride in seeing our children show themselves to be capable of caring or taking on a more 'adult' role, but there is often a deep sense of shame and guilt that comes along with it, due to messaging we get about what makes a good parent in an ableist society. This film will bring this experience out into the open and allow for a better discussion to be had around it, which we believe it will help people feel seen and less alone and hopefully will enable the community to find solutions and support.

Aside from just looking to make a great film, we want to reach audiences that personally identify with the themes portrayed in this story, particularly families affected by chronic illness and/or disability. It is of utmost importance to us that audiences who have gone through the complexities of navigating illness within their own families feel seen and represented. We aim to raise awareness about the experience of living and parenting with these conditions, a topic that is too rarely discussed and ultimately impacts the world's view on disability. To achieve this, we are dedicated to organizing screenings and talkbacks in collaboration with charities and organizations that support families affected by chronic illness and disability. We are already planning collaborations with EDS Awareness/Chronic Pain Partners as well as other organizations (thank you for your support!) Following in person screenings, we'll arrange for online distribution in order to ensure that those who are unable to leave their homes (due to disability or otherwise) have access to this film.

Who will benefit from THE GAME?

Young carers, accessed through Camden Carers network of over 8320 individuals across London boroughs, offering practical learning opportunities on set and raising awareness through community screenings during Young Carer’s week in June.

 

Chronically ill parents, accessed through EDS and chronic illness focused charity partners and beyond

Our wider audience, educating about the needs of these underserved communities, fostering understanding and support.

Through five community screenings, virtual screenings and film festivals we hope to impact 12,000+ audience members, and potential impact via online distribution is tens of thousands of individuals.

Why is THE GAME important to you personally?

This project stems from the personal experiences of the three key team members, each navigating chronic illness within ourselves or our immediate families. In creating this film, we found community with each other. Via our crowdfunding efforts, we have started to expand that community, connecting with others who resonate with the themes of the film on a personal level and share similar stories.

Our professional backgrounds uniquely position us to bring this film to life. Simon an acclaimed screenwriter and playwright whose works featured on the West End, Broadway and the National Theatre as well as mainstream television; Charlotte with over 20 years of directing experience, as the Associate Director at Chichester Festival Theatre, Sheffield Theatres and The Bush, and running award-winning theatre charity ANGLE; and Suri whose acclaimed film GANEF amassed over 50,000 views on YouTube, featured in 25 festivals worldwide and sold to multiple channels including HBO Europe.

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Comments (6)

Convidado:
12 de fev.

Lots of luck with this amazing project x

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Convidado:
12 de fev.

Good luck

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Convidado:
12 de fev.

Wishing the project every success

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Convidado:
05 de fev.

Happy to support this project

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Convidado:
02 de fev.

I attended your fundraiser at the Lyric Hammersmith tonight and it's incredibly positive to see filmmakers taking on the responsibility of sharing such an important story of young carers and disability. I currently manage a young carers service in London, but my background is in the arts and seeing those two worlds come together is inspiring. I wish you all the best of luck, and if there is anything my service can do to support the project, I would be happy to help how I can. Thomos.

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Convidado:
02 de fev.

Great presentation last night. Hope you make your target - you deserve it. Such a good cause

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