Film4-backed short film collection, 4Love, announced
Four ground-breaking short films from disabled and neurodivergent filmmakers exploring the theme of love.
This Valentine’s Day, Film4 are delighted to announce the release of ‘4LOVE’, a collection of four ground-breaking short films from disabled and neurodivergent filmmakers Ella Glendining and Jessi Gutch (Pyramid of Disunion); Tom Wentworth and Ewan Marshall (Battery); Kiri Degon and Rosanagh Griffiths (Dope Fiend); and Matilda Ibini and Debbie Hannan (MO <3 KYRA 4EVA).
With full backing from Film4, the filmmakers were all tasked with bringing a short film from page to screen, inspired by and tackling the theme of ‘love’.
Working with 104 Films, one of the leading production companies currently working with disabled and neurodivergent talent in the UK, Film4 commissioned the four short films based on treatments by filmmakers working across the arts industries from shorts, TV and film to theatre, comedy and documentaries.
The successful writers and directors all have a variety of backgrounds and experience from theatre, TV and short films and have stand-out portfolios of work. The shorts themselves each have a unique and diverse perspective of love, from old flames to new loves; surrealist comedy to apocalyptic drama.
PYRAMID OF DISUNION from writer Ella Glendining and directed by Glendining & Jessi Gutch sees wheelchair-user Angel join an eco-commune in search of a more meaningful existence, though bumping into an old flame means she gets more than she bargained for on her quest for inner peace.
BATTERY written by Tom Wentworth and directed by Ewan Marshall sees a city devastated by a climate disaster, where we follow Elliot as he uses his last ever wheelchair battery to meet his boyfriend Aaron for their final dance. How far will Elliot go for love?
DOPE FIEND from writers Kiri Degon & Rosanagh Griffiths and directed by Griffiths is set in a medical waiting room; a surrealist sci-fi-comedy following one woman’s journey to discover what life is like for her neurodiverse wife.
MO <3 KYRA 4EVA written by Matilda Ibini and directed by Debbie Hannan is a riotous comedy set during a high school prom about a girl’s last chance to let the girl of her dreams know how she feels about her.
Speaking of the initiative, Producer Justin Edgar commented: “These films are truly ground-breaking because they were made by disabled writers and directors, star disabled actors, with at least 25% disabled crew behind the scenes. It’s testament to Film4’s integrity, not only backing the films, but backing them in the right way – for disabled filmmakers to tell their stories on their own terms. These unique voices represent the diversity and wealth of disabled talent emerging in the British film industry”.
Film4 Development and Production Executive Max Park added: "We are thrilled to announce 4Love – four distinctive short films from filmmakers who represent the very best of disabled talent in this country. They capture a broad spectrum of stories and genres, exploring the theme of love from a fresh and unique perspective. Channel 4 has a long history of championing disabled talent on and off-screen, so Film4 are proud to play a part in nurturing the next generation of disabled filmmakers."
The shorts will be released in the UK later this year, details to be confirmed.
ABOUT THE 4LOVE SHORT FILMS
PYRAMID OF DISUNION
Writer: Ella Glendining
Directed by: Ella Glendining & Jessi Gutch
Logline: Wheelchair-user Angel joins an eco-commune in search of a more meaningful existence, though bumping into an old flame means she gets more than she bargained for on her quest for inner peace. Starring Ella Glendining.
Film stills: AVAILABLE HERE
Ella Glendining is a Writer/Director dedicated to telling authentic disabled stories. Her first feature film, IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? will be premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2023 as part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Ella has written/directed short films with backing from Film4, the BFI, Arts Council England, Screen South, and the National Paralympic Heritage Trust. Ella was named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow 2020. She is currently writing a feature fiction film called CURIOSITIES OF FOOLS for the BFI.
Jessi Gutch is a BIFA nominated writer, award winning director and BAFTA Elevate / BFI Insight Producer. She is interested in stories that occupy the space between dream and reality, as well as represent illness and mortality more interestingly. Living with incurable ovarian cancer, she is committed to working with disabled talent. Priding herself on being a creative producer, she is co-director of Fig Films. The company's slate is at the intersection of creative documentary and authentic narrative and their short films have screened at many BAFTA/BIFA qualifying international festivals, having partnered with BFI, Doc Society, Arts Council, Audible and the Uncertain Kingdom.
Most recently as a writer/director she was a finalist for The Pitch Film Fund 2023, and received BFI Early Development Funding for debut feature My Cells are Trying to Kill Me. Jessi is an alumni of numerous industry talent schemes including BFI NETWORK @ LFF, Edinburgh Talent Lab, Sheffield Doc/Fest: Focus Filmmaker Talent, and Film London’s PFM (New Talent).
Writer: Tom Wentworth
Directed by: Ewan Marshall
Logline: In a city devastated by a climate disaster, we follow Elliot as he uses his last ever wheelchair battery to meet his boyfriend Aaron for their final dance. How far will Elliot go for love?
Film stills: AVAILABLE HERE
Tom Wentworth is a writer for theatre and screen. Recent credits include: Little Bits of Ruined Beauty (Pentabus/Unlimited) and Ralph and Katie (BBC One). His comedy Burke and Hare has currently received three productions, most recently at the New Wolsey, Ipswich. Further credits include: CripTales: The Real Deal (BBC), Pen Pals (Rural Arts), Bully (recipient of an MGCFutures Bursary), No Place (Pentabus/Paines Plough) and Windy Old Fossils (Pentabus Young Writers’ Festival.) His work often focuses on the disabled and/or queer experience. He loves reimaging stories, especially for the stage. He has been part of BBC London Voices, Bush Theatre Emerging Writers’ Group and is a member of Writers Guild of Great Britain Equality and Diversity Committee.
Ewan Marshall is a producer and director in television and theatre. Television productions include: CRIPTALES, 3 x 15’ monologues by Tom Wentworth, Mat Fraser and Jackie Hagan (BAFTA nominated); Paul Smith’s ONE NIGHT for BBC One (Reflet D’Or for best European drama series 2012); DESPERADOS, a series about a wheelchair basketball team by Paul Smith for CBBC (Prix de Jeunesse 2008); and PEAR SHAPED by Patrick Marber, Lizzie
Mickery and Simon Mirren for BBC2 (Banff Jury Prize 2003). Ewan has directed
numerous theatre productions as Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company and
The Dukes Theatre. He has also worked as an editorial adviser on disability for the BBC.
Writers: Kiri Degon & Rosanagh Griffiths
Directed by: Rosanagh Griffiths
Produced by: Lorine Plagnol
Logline: Set in a medical waiting room, Dope Fiend is a surrealist sci-fi-comedy following one woman’s journey to discover what life is like for her neurodiverse wife.
Film stills: AVAILABLE HERE
Kiri is a British-Indian creative, born & raised in Hounslow, West London. With an academic background in social sciences, her interest in storytelling & the human condition led her to pursue a career change to TV. Over the last five years she’s built a respected career in post production, and has recently begun pursuing creative writing & development opportunities in comedy, with a primary focus on stories that centre marginalised communities. Kiri is also part of the ScreenSkills Leaders of Tomorrow programme.
Rosanagh is a queer Australian writer & filmmaker based in the UK. Her work unpacks themes of family, identity, and health through camp, darkly humorous and often surrealist stories. Her debut short film Cindy was selected for Iris Prize Best British Shortlist 2020, and she is a former BFI Flare x BAFTA Mentee. Rosanagh set up Spinster in 2017, through which she has since produced & EP’d a number of projects, and is currently developing a long-form slate. Rosanagh also has a respected career as a Post Supervisor for HETV and features.
Lorine Plagnol is founder of London based Film production company Sungazer. As a freelancer, she worked in international film and TV production and is a BFI Insight Vision Awardee 2020. She produced more recently TV series LIFE IN LOVE (2022, ITV) directed by Abel Rubinstein, short films BLOOD RITES (2022, BBC) directed by Helena Coan and KNOW THE GRASS (2021, BFI/BBC) directed by Sophie Littman.
MO <3 KYRA 4EVA
Writer: Matilda Ibini
Director: Debbie Hannan
Logline: Riotous comedy set during a high school prom about a girl’s last chance to let the girl of her dreams know how she feels about her.
Film stills: AVAILABLE HERE
Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini
Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini is an award-winning, bionic writer for stage, screen and audio of Nigerian heritage. Matilda was selected as a Star of Tomorrow 2020 by Screen International; a feature co-written with Gabriel-Bisset Smith was selected as part of The Brit List 2020; and was an Arts Foundation Futures Award 2021 Finalist. As a playwright Matilda’s debut play ‘Muscovado’ premiered in October 2014 and subsequently co-won the Alfred Fagon Audience Award. Matilda’s next play 'Little Miss Burden’ premiered at the Bunker Theatre in 2019, won a Popcorn Finalist Award 2020 and was published by Concord Theatricals. Matilda’s latest play ‘Sleepova’ will premiere at the Bush Theatre in February of this year. Matilda has written audio dramas for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and Audible. Screen credits include BAFTA TV-Nominated ‘CripTales’ for BBC America & BBC4; ‘Unprecedented’, Headlong & Century Films for BBC4, and 'Head Over Wheels' a short film produced by Open Sky Theatre & Wrapt Films which won two awards at the 2021 Digital Culture Network Awards. Matilda has screen projects in development with BBC Films, Home Team, Ardimages UK and Raw TV.
They are currently Associate Director at National Theatre of Scotland. From January to July 2022, she was Acting Artistic Director of Stockroom, working as Showrunner of their Writers Room. They were Associate Director at the The Bunker Theatre, as well as Incoming Artistic Director of the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and are represented by Independent Talent. They trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and as Trainee Director at the Royal Court. Debbie is now writing her first feature.
Recent theatre credits include: Exodus, The Panopticon (National Theatre of Scotland); The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (Manchester Royal Exchange); Overflow (Bush Theatre); Little Miss Burden (The Bunker); The Ugly One (Tron Theatre); Cuckoo (Soho Theatre); Isolation (National Theatre of Scotland); I Heart Ice Cream, Shielders (Traverse Theatre); The Unexpected Expert (Headlong, BBC); After Rhinoceros: The Red Pill (Royal Welsh College, the Gate); Things of Dry Hours (Young Vic); Girl Meets Boy (developed with National Theatre of Scotland and The Yard); Latir (Compañia Nacional de Teatro, Mexico).
For further information and interview requests please contact ORGANIC:
ABOUT CHANNEL 4
Channel 4 is renowned for its ground breaking work in pioneering opportunities for disabled talent, both on and off screen.
Its multi award winning content includes the Paralympics, Trip Hazard and The Last Leg and it has championed the careers of Rosie Jones, Alex Brooker, Adam Hills, Sophie Morgan, Billy Monger, Briony Mae Williams and Ed Jackson, to name a few.
Last year Channel 4 announced its bold new Disability Code of Portrayal, which is the first of its kind in the broadcasting sector and which signalled its ambition to deliver a radical step change in both the quality and quantity of on screen representation of disabled talent.
It pledged to always seek disabled actors for disabled roles in scripted content. Plus last year’s refreshed Commissioning Diversity Guidelines state that every Channel 4 production should have at least one disabled person on the production team, and that all series should feature at least one disabled presenter, contributor, or expert witness.
Channel 4 has also led cross industry campaigns to improve access for disabled talent in the TV sector, and is a founding member of The TV Access Project (TAP), which is an alliance of broadcasters and streamers in partnership with disabled led networks, to bring about greater inclusion of disabled talent.
Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. Having recently celebrated 40 years of film-making, Film4 has become renowned for developing and co-financing a wildly diverse slate of films and for working with, and discovering, the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking, both new and established.
Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award®-winners such as Florian Zeller’s The Father, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia’s box office record breaking documentary Amy, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Sarah Gavron’s Rocks, Rose Glass’s Saint Maud, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch, Chris Morris’s Four Lions, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years.
Film4’s recent releases include Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, Oliver Hermanus’ Living, Julia Ducournau’s Titane, Jonathan Butterell’s Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Rebecca Hall’s Passing, Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, Will Sharpe’s The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, Aml Ameen’s Boxing Day, Eva Husson’s Mothering Sunday, Michael Pearce’s Encounter, Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor, documentary The Real Charlie Chaplin from Peter Middleton and James Spinney, and Jim Archer’s Brian & Charles. Forthcoming titles include Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things, Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, Steve McQueen’s Occupied City, Mark Jenkin’s Enys Men, Florian Zeller’s The Son and Soudade Kaadan’s Nezouh.