by Chi Thai
The Purple Plain is a film inspired by the true story of the Mercury 13, the first American women who tested for space flight.
About this project
For the best introduction into our project please watch our campaign video above!
The Purple Plain is a short film inspired by the little known story of the Mercury 13, the first American women who tested for space travel. It is supported by a grant from Film London and being made by an award winning all-woman team.
In 1959 a handful of men were selected by NASA to be the first in space and were known as the Mercury 7. A second series of tests located 13 more pilots whose talents eclipsed those of the chosen 7. To date, the world knows little of these individuals … because they were women. This is the story of how close the Mercury 13 came to space, and their battle, not simply against their male peers, or even NASA, but the entire social system of the early 60s. Our film, The Purple Plain is rooted in this history.
What are the funds for?
The funds are for post-production costs that could not be fully covered by the Film London grant we received. The considerable historical archival and found footage, film editing, grading, visual effects and final music scoring, production and sound design costs are costly. We shot using three different cameras to affect the different looks of the three periods we replicated, but it is in the post-production that the distinct magic of these looks shines through.
The film has been shot and, from the rough cut, we have been fortunate to secure a screening date at a major festival to be announced shortly, so watch this space. Consequently we have a very short deadline to deliver the film. If you support us, you do so knowing that your investment is without risk, as many films that are crowd funded never reach completion. You’ve seen the long list of end credits on many films. Even a short film requires the same amount of people and expertise in so many different departments to be true to the ambitions of the filmmakers and give you the best cinematic experience.
How Else Can People Support Our Project?
Crowdfunding is not just about financial aid – but also a means for us to find and build our audience so tell your friends about The Purple Plain. We know our film is special and important and your help will launch a film that we believe will encourage everyone – girls and boys, the young and old to never be afraid to reach for their dreams, whatever the obstacles in their path.
We’ve been fortunate enough to gain BFI / Film London funding award and we are part of the London Calling Plus. We are very proud to be part of this talent initiative that has minority filmmakers at its core. The Purple Plain comprises of diverse all-woman team: Kim is Filipino-Canadian, Avril is Black British, Chi is first generation Vietnamese boat refugee, and Catherine is a Canadian with Italian and Norwegian decent. We are all working mothers and between us there are 8 children that span from a 2 year old to a 28 year old.
Director: Kim Albright arrived in the UK from her home country Canada in 2002 and, via a degree in architecture, launched herself into directing in 2007. Her short films Dragonfly, Edward’s Turmoil and Albatross, supported by Film London and the BFI, have won awards at Encounters, British Independent and Brussels film festivals. Her films have, variously, played festivals from Encounters to Brest, BFI London Film Festival and the BFI’s Upshot programme, showcasing the most exciting up-and-coming UK filmmaking talent, as well as finding distribution with Canal+. She also directs music videos and commercials for Mars, New Era, Skittles and Dr Pepper. She was a finalist for the Kinsale Shark New Director award and is represented by Thomas Thomas Films for commercials.
Writer: Avril E. Russell is a Nottingham born screenwriter and director. She has contributed scripts to prime time dramas (Silent Witness, Waterloo Road) and directed short films that have featured on TV and at festivals around the world. Among her broad interests are history, warfare, science and action. In her non-existent spare time she lectures and mentors new writers. She is currently developing television and feature projects with various companies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Producer: Chi Thai has been a Cannes Lions finalist three times over for her work in commercials. Light Years, a short film she wrote and produced qualified for BAFTA and Academy Award consideration. She was part of Guiding Lights 2015 and was ranked 20 in Creative England’s Top 50 companies in 2016.
Producer: Catherine Vetere’s career spans radio, television and film. She trained as a script developer and worked as a Head of Development before creating 4D Pictures. Other short films she produced include Beast, Two Minutes and Chop Chop. Her feature film Dirty Weekend premiered at the Montreal International Film Festival.
Heads of Department: In addition to core creative team The Purple Plain has attracted a world class heads of department comprising of Anthony Noble, production designer known for Duncan Jones’ Moon; Mark Nutkins, director of photography who has worked on Shifty, The Corpse Bride, Pusher and Misfits; editor Tommaso Gallone who has worked on The Woman in Gold, Palio and the Oscar winning film The Great Beauty and Laura Smith our costume designer who has worked as an assistant on The Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Risks and challenges
As our film is already in the can – many of risks associated with the making have been overcome. Our biggest challenge is now is getting our film seen. The Purple Plain is incredibly fortunate that as part of one of Film London’s supported projects, as a result the film will be considered for The BFI London Film Festival which means our film has a great opportunity of engaging with a broader audience and has a fantastic start in its life.