BEAUTIFUL THINGS, a story of nostalgia and obsession. An LGBTQ+ romance with a sci-fi twist that takes a dark turn. The film jumps through different eras of a beauty pageant to tell a visually arresting story filled with suspense. Beautiful Things has been shot with an incredible cast and crew at three stunning locations - and we need your help to fund the post production and festival run.
About the story:
Two beauty queens. Decades of pageants. One special moment. And a new technology that can take them back to it.
Beautiful Things opens with two older women in a glamorous old bedroom. OLDER BAMBI seems barely there, but OLDER DAPHNE is emotional and determined. With the help of a mysterious ADMINISTRATOR from NostalgIA, these two women are connected to a strange device - then plunged into a memory vortex as they revisit the past in their memories. We meet YOUNG DAPHNE backstage at a pageant in the 1940s, and as she jumps through the eras to find the right time, she tries to connect with the distant YOUNG BAMBI beside her. Eventually, they reach 1974, and a heartfelt speech from a besotted Daphne seems to wake something inside Bambi. The two women declare their love for each other and take to the stage to accept the crown on this glorious night from their past. But as they take to the stage for Bambi’s victory speech, and the Administrator warns they must return, sweet Bambi turns on Daphne, sacrificing Daphne’s consciousness to the technology to save her own. Older Bambi wakes up and Older Daphne stays trapped in the past, reminding us that even our favourite memories may not always be as they seem.
How can you help?
All of the money raised will go directly towards paying for the post-production (editing, sound mix, grade, mastering, music, VFX), and for the festival entries and distribution of the film.
We are so grateful for any support you can offer - whether that’s donating yourself or sharing with those who can (or both!)
Buying a ticket for the online premiere or the real life premiere and afterparty means you can celebrate with us and be one the first to see the film, meet the cast and crew - all while helping us with this essential final stage.
Buying access to the online premiere will give you a private link to watch the film so you can see what we’ve made, even if you can’t make the event, with a digital Q&A.
Support independent film, unique cinema and the future careers of a hugely talented group of people by supporting Beautiful Things.
What it means to us:
Beautiful Things is about society’s obsession with nostalgia.
We use a strange technological device, a decade-spanning unrequited love and a series of surreal moments to explore the unreliability and subjectivity of memory, and how our recent experiences constantly rewrite our recollections of the past.
With characters based on the drag personas of Jess and her best friends as they came to terms with their sexualities and gender identities, Beautiful Things draws from the confusion of discovering your desires, and how these feelings evolve as we grow older, change and learn.
How we brought it to life:
The cast bringing our characters to life are all accomplished and talented with great works behind them, ranging from blockbuster to indie and TV.
Daphne - Tallulah Haddon Bambi - Loreece Harrison
Older Daphne - Gilly Daniels Older Bambi - Cleo Sylvestre
The Administrator / Nicky Nelson - Tom Stourton
We shot over three days in early January 2023 at three stunning locations in and around south London: the dressing rooms at Esher Theatre, the auditorium at Stanley Arts, and one of the suites at The Mitre Hotel.
The different periods of past and future required careful attention to set dressing and costume, all sourced from the different eras the film visits, with a kitsch decadence that stays true to the characters.
The team behind it:
Directed by Maya Zupano.
Maya is represented by INSTITUTE Artists. Her career in film started at the age of 10 when she played the role of ‘immigrant kid’ in ‘Spare Parts,' which was nominated for ‘Best Foreign Film’ at the 2004 Academy Awards. She studied at Central Saint Martins, and has made 3 successful shorts to date. ‘When it Rains, it Pours’ - short film 2021 - starring Stephen Billington (Braveheart, Resident Evil), co-directed with Denise Moreno (HBO) - premiered at London Film Week 2021, winner 'Best Original Story' at Cinemaz 2021. Marco premiered at the BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Film Festival in London. ‘Girl’s Biophilia’ - short documentary 2018 - winner Starts Prize for Creative Excellence, published in Dazed Digital and Wired Japan.
Written by Jessica Riches.
Jess is represented by United Agents, currently taking meetings all over London. Her work has been nominated for Edinburgh TV Festival New Voice Awards and shortlisted for the BBC Writersroom and Cannes Film Festival residency. She was nominated for The Brit List and has been recommended by the British Film Council as a writer to watch. This is her first short film.
Produced by Jamie-Louise Davis & Rachel Warren
JL Davis studied the Business of Film at the MET Film School then went on to work in both production and distribution. JL has worked at Paramount Pictures, Universal and currently works for Disney. She has produced 6 short films, which have had fantastic festival runs. She’s currently developing her slate of features and TV shows. Her most successful project ‘Baby Boy’ - short film 2021 - BAFTA shortlist, broadcast on Channel 4 and available on All4, official selection IRIS Prize LGBTQ+ awards, winner ‘Best Short Film’ at Crystal Palace Film Festival, winner of ‘Best Actor’ at British Urban Film Festival, official selection at BIFA qualifying Manchester Film Festival, and selected at BIFA. Most recently this year premiering on Directors notes and being released publicly on Vimeo.
Rachel Warren. A seasoned Actor & Producer whose credits, status and reputation are on a clear upwards trajectory. Rachel has over 18 years experience in the Film and TV industry spanning an impressive 40+ credits to date. In 2020, she was selected for the world renowned ‘Lift Off’ producer programme (in association with Pinewood Studios) granting her access to high end industry experts.
Rachel has recently been contacted to produce a slate of feature films, and has created a tv series which is in development. She won ‘The Film Market Hub’ competition (UK) which saw her secure one-on-one meetings (…and subsequent slate discussions) with a number of prestigious companies including; Lionsgate, Universal Pictures, Blueprint media, BBC Films, Film Nation, Sky Originals and Magnolia Films.
Rachel brings vital industry knowledge and personal connections combined with a genuine enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Rachel owns film production company RWI Films and an award winning Film and TV poster design company RWI Creative working with clients internationally.
This is Jamie and Rachel's first joint venture and we are sure there will be many more.
Our casting directors are Tom Payne and Lucy Allen - the most exciting and forward-thinking team around - known for their previous award-winning work on Netflix’s Heartstoppers, Line of Duty and more as part of Daniel Edwards Casting.
We are incredibly lucky to have an endlessly talented crew who poured their energy into Salad Days and we would like to use this opportunity to sing their praises. Each and every person involved in the creation of this film played a crucial part of bringing the vision to life in the footage we have, and we are funding so that the final product can properly show their skills and further their careers in the ways they deserve.
We already have an incredible post-production team lined up and the edit has started - and the final shots look brilliant.
We can’t wait to take the final product to the world.
The talented team:
Executive Producer - Luke Adams
Director of Photography - Martyna Jakimowska
Production Designer - Kelly Toode
Hair/ Make up Designer - Tricia Woolston
Make Up Department - Sophie Brock, Jessie
Costume Department - Lauren Savill, Bianca
Sound - Jimmy Lobe
Sound Assistant - Will Schweppe
1st AC - Anna Clotet
2nd AC - Adam Hatchberry
Gaffer - Jakub Paczos
Sparks - Aga Mazurek, Edmund Bishop
DIT - Zak Nathan
1st AD - Stuart Wilson
Script Supervisor - Angus Michie
Production Manager - Oscar Walkley-Brown
Production Assistants - Dom Burnham, Megan O'reilly, Joshua Stevenson, Equador Zaha
Drivers - Terry Littlepage, Sean Devaney
BTS Photographer - Sean Devaney
Post Production :
Editor - Monika Radwanska
Colourist - Lizzie Newsham
Sound Designer - Will Morton
What happens now?
We’re very proud of what we’ve written and shot and our ambitions for this film are huge, so that every single contributor involved has a brilliant final product they can be proud of, and that can showcase their hard work and creativity.
Our priority with crowdfunding is to get the film through post-production - to get an edited, colour and sound-graded film with full VFX to complete the story.
Beyond this, we’re crowdfunding to submit the film to top tier festivals - so that people can actually see the work of the wonderful team involved.
With the brilliant cast, weird and wonderful script, incredible production value and visual style, and a crew who are all determined and talented in their own right, we know that this film can be a huge success and support the dreams of the wide team of people who are all early on in their careers.