Daughter – short film
The story of the project
Daughter is a 20 minute short film and an awareness project. Daughter is loosely based on and inspired by the tragic murders of Jill Meagher in Brunswick and St Kilda’s own Tracy Connelly, whose occupation as a sex worker was highlighted in the media, leading to her murder and personal story being sadly overshadowed.
Daughter explores the way women are viewed in society by following three opposing lead female characters on a Friday night out in St Kilda – Alethia, a soon-to-be-wed business woman; Jemma, a mother and veteran sex worker; and Scarlett, a young, impressionable party girl. Each woman varies in age, culture, wealth, education and social status, but the women’s lives will become entwined and affected by an act of violence this fateful night.
Through each character’s experience Daughter shows the audience that any woman can become a victim of violence and that victim blaming is an unjustified response to a much deeper problem.
There are many different aspects to Daughter, but what the film predominantly asks is, “Would you care if she was your daughter?”
The themes explored in Daughter – specifically violence against women and victim blaming – are very prominent in the media today. Thus far over 40 women have been victims of gendered violence this year. From each separate case victim blaming has reared its ugly head and taken the victim’s personal story out of the equation, replacing it with fear. I believe that society is ready to talk about violence against women and its devastating consequences. The time to bring Daughter to life is now.
On the 13th of June a Daughter Fundraiser and Awareness night was held at The Sandpit in St Kilda with over 60 people in attendance, the night was a success. On the night 6 films from a females perspective were screened including a live Q & A with the directors and a pop up store of Greeves Street products was set up for guests to purchase.
Guest speakers included Sally Tonkin, CEO of the St Kilda Gatehouse and Vanessa de Largie author of memoir Don’t Hit Me, who also gave a spoken word performance straight from the memoir. On the night we raised $1439.65 and all the funds went into the Daughter budget. We believe that is a great start. The support on the night was invaluable.
Sarah Jayne opening the fundraiser and awareness night with a speech
Daughter received a fair amount of press leading upto the fundraiser. Here is one from the Leader Newspaper.
Daughter will be a film that challenges people’s thought processes and seeks to change attitudes towards violence and victim blaming in our communities. We want Daughter to start a discussion. Sarah Jayne wrote this screenplay to increase awareness about gendered violence and its impact on the community while raising important questions about victim blaming and media depictions of women.
Daughter also aims to break down stereotypes used in film these days and show each lead character as a genuine person. Through her discussions with Gatehouse CEO Sally Tonkin plus some time spent there as a guest, Sarah Jayne has learnt of the everyday struggles faced by some of St Kilda’s marginalised women who turn to sex work. These chats and her own experiences in that unknown world have helped her bring the character of Jemma to life.
Once Daughter is complete we aim to distribute to schools which will use Daughter for educational purposes and also distribution to humanity organisations is an option. Our recent application for funding from the Amnesty International Australia Innovation Fund was rejected, however we have been asked to re-submit an application once Daughter is complete so we can ask for funding to help distribute the film to education institutes. The Amnesty International Australia committee also expressed interest in Daughter on completion, particularly the option of having Daughter screen at their action nights around the country.
Shooting begins in early September 2015. There are six scheduled shoot days, mostly set at night, with five interior locations. At this stage three of these locations have been approved; St Kilda Gatehouse, Fitzrovia Cafe, and the Day of the Dead Tapas bar. The rest of the filming will take place on the streets of St Kilda and Daughter will be shot entirely in the City Of Port Phillip.
We are excited about the filming challenges Daughter will bring forward, we will be shooting in a truly authentic style that uses innovative techniques. The exterior scenes will utilise only natural lighting, capturing the colours and atmosphere of street lights, passing cars, neon bars, and St Kilda attractions such as Luna Park aglow. There is also a part of a scene which will be shot on a mobile phone.
To authentically capture a glimpse into the three lead characters separate experiences as they venture out into society, we will shoot in a documentary, fly-on-the-wall style with minimal crew. This will help to add to the gritty and realistic visuals we are aiming to make the audience feel like they are out there with these characters as they absorb the pressures of society.
Just as Daughter is a community film, to be shot entirely in St Kilda, it is also society’s film due to the subject matter which stems from social issues and we need the support of the general public to get this tough little film off the ground.
What we need from our Pozible supporters is to pledge as much as they can so that we can pay our cast andcrew wages, cover permits for street scenes, hire sound and camera equipment, market the film and pay for locations.
You can view the Facebook page for Daughter here – Daughter St Kilda
How the funds will be used
Some of my other work
A disconnected and lonely woman struggles to fit society’s mold. But a chance encounter with a Stranger stirs her hopes for acceptance and kindles dreams of love.
Dusk is an exploration of self image, self worth, the idea of falling in love out of desperation, and the basic human need to connect.
& Cory Corbett as ‘Stranger’
Written & Directed by Sarah Jayne
Produced by Sarah Jayne & Ivan Malekin
Cinematography by Josh O’Neil
Sound Design by Paul Ermer
Edited by Ivan Malekin
Music by Anastasia Devana
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
Premiered and won Best Film at Comfy Shorts film night, August 2013
Screened at short film nights around Melbourne – Westside Shorts, Final Cut and Studio 106 Fundraiser 2013-2014
Official selection – Women Media Art and Film Festival, Sydney 2013
Official Selection – Connect Film Festival. Loop Bar February 2014
Official selection – Setting Sun Short Film Festival, Palm Program March 2014
Screened at White Night Melbourne, February 2014
Official selection – Los Angeles Cinefest 2015
With Daughter what will be the biggest challenge is the lighting – or lack of lighting – in the locations. As we are relying on natural lighting to achieve that authentic doco look which will take the audience deep into our world of gritty, mysterious and unpredictable St Kilda, we have to choose locations which have some light in place, but enough shadows for our characters to pop in and out of. These locations are lit up by street lamps, passing cars, neon signs and attraction lights such as those at Luna Park and the Palace Theatre.
The main locations have already been scouted and photographs taken at these locations and these photographs prove that with the right equipment we can acheive the look we are after and create a visually interesting film.
Another challenge may be the sensitivity of topics the film discusses. Violence against women and victim blaming are really contentious issues right now and everyone seems to have an opinion as to how women should go about their day to day lives in order to stay safe. We are hoping that Daughter is relatable to all women and men if they have experienced the situations that the three lead characters and their friends go through. This is a crucial part of the story and one of the key intentions of the screen writer and director.
What we find challenging about creating social issue films is the festival run can be a bit narrow as you have placed yourself in a box of sorts. However, we have completed extensive research and found a large selection of film festivals for which Daughter appeals to, such as the Human Rights and Arts Film Festival, Her Story, Seen and Heard Film Festival, just to name a few.