Worrying increase in domestic violence highlighted by new West Sussex film

Lockdown saw a sharp rise in domestic abuse – a disturbing fact which has prompted the making of a new short film in Worthing.

Stephanie Hazel - Robin Savage Photography
Stephanie Hazel - Robin Savage Photography

Stephanie Hazel wrote and appears in Out of View. She and Richard Anthony Dunford, also based in Worthing, with whom she made the film, have now launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the film’s distribution.

“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown we have been acutely worried for those who might be at increased risk from domestic abuse,” Stephanie said.

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“Devastatingly there has been a surge of violence in homes around the UK. Domestic abuse killings have doubled, and charities’ helplines have been overwhelmed.”

Stephanie hopes Out of View will help raise awareness of a crucial issue – a film “created during this time, for this time, in a found-footage style.”

“Our aim is to make the film as widely available as possible to help save lives and keep communities aware of what might be going on around them.

“We will also be gifting this film as a free resource to charities and organisations supporting families and individuals affected by domestic abuse.

“Our team work in the film making industry and believe at its best film can act as a powerful empathetic tool. Currently film productions have been halted. Barely any projects within the film or television industry are being made, including any new charity or corporate films.

“Despite the circumstances and hurdles we have made this film and are now in the crucial post-production stage.

“The process has been interesting! To adhere to guidelines we have been filming in one location around our families and commitments using our wits and enthusiasm to make it work.

“We have not seen each other face to face since before the start of lockdown and had to make specific choices about the most efficient style and use of equipment to match its found footage style.”

The piece has been experimentally filmed using an iPhone.

“As well as writing and producing the film I had to attempt to direct myself which was not ideal and very challenging having no one to bounce off, especially as this almost performs as a one-women play with pretty much all the dialogue directed to camera – a lonely experience, occasionally helped by family members playing the other roles and my dad as the first assistant director!”

Short films notoriously make little money, Stephanie says, but any proceeds the film makes will go to relevant charities.

“This film follows the lock-down experience of an everyday young woman named Kiera. Kiera has a chronic illness that affects her immune system and is in the high-risk group. She opens up through a series of Facebook-live style ‘Self Isolation Day’ logs that chart, unbeknownst to her, her escalating abuse.

“The script was carefully written and researched. It points to particular traits of mental and physical abuse. We use suggestion and character monologues to communicate this with the audience. There is no gratuitous violence on screen.

“We discover the manipulation and confusion Kiera is experiencing through a series of confessions. Bit by bit she slowly starts to lose sight of her identity. As Kiera’s lifelines start to get cut off one by one and the film builds, we hope the audience will feel a rising sense of panic as Kiera’s vulnerable isolation sinks in.”

The film is just under 20 minutes in length. Stephanie anticipates editing it with a view to possible festival screenings. Its distribution depends on the success of the Kickstarter Campaign.

The team have created a short film to explain the film more visually – viewable on http://kck.st/2XY9VKt

Get in touch to support the film by [email protected]


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