Where Do I Begin

SYNOPSIS

Where Do I Begin brings back the old fashioned road movie, a dark rom-com with a modern twist.

Set in a bleak landscape of a change resistant culture in the north of England, Where Do I Begin is a film of our time, a black comedy that tells the story about people on the fringes of society. Ash is a girl, identifying as a boy. Rose is a boy, identifying as a girl. In this story, things are rarely what they seem.

Ash grew up in a care home and has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. In a search to discover biological parents that he has never known Ash leaves his hometown with a moped and a dream to find out who he really is. Whilst in an amusement arcade contemplating an act of petty theft Ash comes across Rose and they instantly strike up an unlikely bond. Rose needs to get out of town fast to escape the clutches of an abusive lover and so, exchanging a moped for a battered Hearse, the pair flee town, setting in motion a series of encounters that propel them from one bizarre situation to another.

The news that his mother died some years ago sends Ash to find his only other living parent, determined to reach some kind of ‘closure’ before the cancer claims him. While searching for his father, Frank Turner, Ash eliminates others on his list – including Old Frank, Black Frank, Taxi Frank and Dead Frank. And although none of the Frank Turner’s they encounter are pretending to be his father, they nevertheless are not what they seem, hiding their own secrets in a bizarre series of mistaken identity incidents as time for Ash to find the real one runs out. As Ash deteriorates, he relies ever more heavily on Rose to help him complete his journey, to write the ending of his own life’s story, to dictate his own destiny.

Told with an authentic blend of comedy and pathos, ‘Where Do I Begin” may help us understand the vibrant and diverse world we live in a little better.

MARLEY MORRISON – WRITER

At the age of eighteen Marley Morrison moved to London with a rucksack, a guitar and a handful of jolly ranchers. With help from ‘CentrePoint’ a homeless charity she found a job and trained as an actor at the famous Actors Temple, it was there she began to write for the stage. A talented Actor, Writer, Director and founder of Hazey Jane, a social and dynamic film company, Marley has built a reputation as a pioneering entrepreneur. Supported by Business mogul James Caan and Transmit start ups Marley has built Hazey Jane from the ground up. With a background in directing grime music videos Marley is now Writing, Directing and Producing TV content and feature films. Writing credits include, short films Abeo, 2012. Perpetually Human, 2013, Sticks and Stones, 2014 which recently screened at the BFI as part of the BFI Future Film RAW shorts scheme. The list of projects in development including six part comedy series ‘Dalston is dead’, and short film ‘Leroy’ starring Nathan Bryon (Benidorm). Her first feature, ‘Lions,Tigers and Bears’ a crime drama based on the death of Mark Duggan is currently in development. ‘Where do I begin’ is her second feature and currently seeking finance. Marley is one of three female filmmakers that have been chosen to shadow Amma Asante on her upcoming film ‘A United Kingdom’. Marley’s films are set to challenge social stereotypes, favouring rebellious characters on the fringes of mainstream society, sometimes highly controversial—her writing echoes and unheard view on the intense social issues on the forefront of the nation’s mind.

SURI KRISHNAMMA – DIRECTOR

SURI KRISHNAMMA achieved early recognition with a BAFTA nomination for his student film ‘Mohammed’s Daughter’, followed by a second nomination for ‘Water’s Edge’ as a student at the NFTS. More awards followed for professional work in both films and television including a BAFTA nomination for ‘A Respectable Trade’, best UK feature for ‘New Years Day’ at Raindance Film Festival, the Grand Prix at Yubari , Japan, and other festival awards including the gold Mikeldi at Bibao and Silver Hugo at Chicago. His feature film credits include ‘A Man of No Importance’ with Albert Finney and Michael Gambon, ‘Locked In’ with Ben Barnes and Eliza Dushku, ‘The Grief Tourist’ with Mike Cudlitz, Melanie Griffith and ‘Bad Karma’ with Ray Liotta.Suri has worked extensively in television directing the award winning mini series ‘The Cazalets’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ for MTV as well as TV drama’s ‘Waking the Dead’ and ‘Cold Blood’. His films have since been globally exhibited, premiering at the London, Edinburgh, Sundance, Toronto and Munich Film Festivals with market screenings at Berlin and Cannes. Suri is an Honorary Fellow of the AUB and Professor in Film Production at Norwich University of the Arts. http://www.surikrishnamma.net

MICHELLE ANTONIADES – PRODUCER

After graduating from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2008, Michelle moved to the other side of the camera, coordinating low to no budget short films for Myndplay Ltd, where she also wrote scripts based on a multidirectional story structure. Michelle soon began writing and producing original screenplays on a low to no budget basis, often with a quick turnaround. As a Producer at Hazey Jane Films, Michelle is in charge of all development and production elements, taking care of budgets, schedules and supervising productions as well as raising finance for projects. In Television, Michelle has worked as a Production Coordinator at RAW TV and AVALON TV. As a Creative Producer, Michelle has worked with a variety of up-and-coming actors, writers and directors, providing creative support whilst building a network, of a new generation of filmmakers. Credits include: Dangerous Persuasions (2015), Not You Again (2014) Lions Tigers and Bears, TESS (2015) In the Neighbours Garden (2015), Dreaming of Peggy Lee (2014), Boxed In (2014), Sticks and Stones (2013).

PRODUCTION DESIGNER – SORAYA GILANNI

A multi-disciplinary art director, who creates still and moving imagery in the contexts of film, television, fashion, commercials and brands. Production Designer of Ben and Lump, (2012), Powder Room (2013) and various short films including Emily, Year Seven and Billy the Kid. Soraya has also designed and art directed high profile commercials and fashion such as Alexander McQueen, David Beckham, British and Italian Vogue. http://www.this-ness.com.

DIRECTOR’S VISION

‘Black comedy’ is the beating heart of this road movie drama. The modern, contemporary look of this film is held back by its north of England setting – a world that appears to Ash and Rose to be a pace behind, – where hostile prejudices emerge more visibly, and where tight-knit communities seem reluctant to embrace the brazen appearance of two people with switched gender identities.‘You are what you pretend to be, so be careful what you pretend to be’ (Kurt Vonnegut, ‘Mother Night’)

But Rose and Ash are perhaps the only ones in our story who are not pretending – living their lives as woman and man respectively despite the biological contradiction – accepting and wanting the world to do the same. The film seeks out the ragged evolving truth of human nature and human conditioning.

Ash now on his last journey, he faces up to the raw honesty before him, determined to influence his own life’s ending. Rose, the hustler, a vibrant, colourful character in a colourless landscape, gives the quest energy, providing the mental fuel for Ash to reach the end of the trail. As the duo pass through they kick up dust, momentarily disturbing the status quo, but otherwise leave few traces on the cold and uninviting landscape. Ash is short of time and their world, like all life, is temporary – bringing the tiniest details into shaper focus..

Archetypes in ‘Buddy’ movies such as Midnight Cowboy or Withnail and I, where one of the duo leads, conducting himself in an unorthodox way, pursuing goals unconventionally, and the other more conservative, considering the steps, perhaps a little dominated by the strength of character of the leader. Other influences are in the pairing of unlikely lovers, such as in ‘Harold and Maude’, where although intimacy is present it is perceived as unable to last due to irreconcilable differences – in Harold and Maude this might be the age gap – in Where Do I Begin it is gender

This is not a traditional love story. Ash and Rose are reluctant to give ground to each other. They spar and strike out, emphasising their differences. The performances will be natural and intuitive – always in motion, discovering, uncovering, active, spontaneous, revealing – moving with curious fascination as if each moment experienced will be their last.

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