DUCK PRESS is a new short film which captures a slice of emotionally charged life between a 65 year old widower and his twenty two year old son.
Duck Press is a new short film that captures a slice of emotionally-charged-life between a sixty five year old widower and his twenty two year old son.
The film explores how we use fun and frivolity to mask our fears and insecurities, the generational differences in men's mental health and how much we are willing to accept in the name of love.
When Frank, a man with a big frame and a bigger heart, hosts his 65th birthday lunch his son, Charlie, arrives home early to broach a subject that will threaten the success and tranquillity of the day - Charlie's found out that his father has terminal lung cancer and, critically, he’s decided not to have any treatment.
As a loving son, Charlie wants his father to admit to the illness and seek medical help. Frank just wants to make the most of every second he has left, starting with his birthday.
Michael believes his father is in a state of denial.
Frank views it as defiance.
That difference is what the film explores, epitomised by Frank’s newly acquired Duck Press - an ornate, hedonistic piece of culinary machinery that his son views as symbolic of his inability to take the situation, and his own life, seriously.
Two years ago my mother received an advanced cancer diagnosis. No one can predict how different members of a family will react in such a situation and I began thinking as to a conflict that could arise from it.
Adopting a relentlessly positive approach, at the expense of medical help, is a bold and definite decision that could offer a new found sense of freedom and a thirst for life. But if that care free reaction is so vehemently opposed by someone you love then, for all it's merits, it would divide a family at the exact moment they should be most united.
What would happen if those outlooks collided and could they be reconciled...?
Denial vs Defiance
Our approach to a crisis can so often shape our ability to travel through it. What Frank views as true defiance in the face of adversity, his son, Charlie, sees as a complete selfish denial of reality.
The film will explore, without judgement, how the dichotomy of denial and defiance manifests itself when so much is at stake between two people who love each other so dearly.
Men's Mental Health
The dynamic of the father/son relationship in the film allows us to explore the generational differences in approach to speaking truly and honestly, without the stigma of shame and ridicule.
The film will see-saw between the playful and the profound, the brutal and the affectionate as the highs and lows of tragedy and comedy collide. Sources of inspiration include...
- The off-beat tone of Thomas Vinterberg's 'Another Round'
- Ingmar Bergman's family epic, 'Fanny & Alexander'
- The razor sharp dialogue of Jesse Armstrong's 'Succession'
- The lovable absurdity of Paulo Sorrentini’s ‘The Hand of God’
- The heartfelt ‘Supernova’
- British cult classic ‘Withnail and I’:
I'm drawn to settings that are steeped in history and rich in character. We want to set this story in a grand, renaissance style country hall - the faded glamor of which will reflect Frank’s determination to live extravagantly through his deteriorating health.
A setting of such scale will add to the sense of tragic isolation and feed directly into the story - heightening the stakes and providing a unique visual aesthetic. Think Darlington Hall in 'The Remains of the Day'...
Having initially trained as an actor at RADA, Cian’s last short, 'The Fool's Mate' premiered at the BAFTA/BIFA qualifying Bolton International Film Festival, won 'Best Short Film' at Cambria Film Festival, California and since being released online in July it has garnered over 125k views. Catch it below:
This year he has written and directed 'Music To Move You' - a speculative Ad for Heart FM which, like ‘Duck Press’, focuses on a fractured father Father/Son relationship and most recently he collaborated with world renowned UK Jazz Singer, Ian Shaw, directing the music video to the title track of his new album, ‘Greek Street Friday.’
When not directing, you'll find him leading the singing at Welsh rugby games. Cymru Am Byth.
Sam Jackson - Producer
Sam has over 15 years experience of production managing some of the biggest shoots in advertising - working with brands such as Amazon, Adidas, Facebook and Heineken. Sam is cool, calm and collected and produced the Heart FM Spec Ad above.
When Sam’s not on-set he’s usually looking after his Great Dane puppy.
Jack Pollington - Associate Producer
A graduate of the NFTS Producing MA Jack produced Cian’s last short, ‘The Fool’s Mate’ and has had films screen at prestigious festivals such as Camerimage, Encounters, Aesthetica and London Short Film Festival.
He's an absolute workaholic, but on the odd occasion he's not, he'll be at a rock gig.
Lee Thomas - Director of Photography
Lee shot Cian’s short ‘The Fool’s Mate’ as well as ‘Music To Move You’.
When not shooting, you can usually find Lee skydiving out of an aeroplane. An adrenaline junky. Madness.
Alex Howes - Casting Director
Alex is a Casting Associate at the Emmy award winning ‘Gary Davy Casting’ where he was worked on TV series such as the BAFTA winning ’Small Axe’, ’The Tourist’ & ’The Man Who Fell To Earth’. Alongside Gary he was Casting Director on ‘Who Is Erin Carter?’, ’Strike Back (S7&8)’ & ‘Alex Rider (S3)'
Working with Cian he cast ’The Fool’s Mate’, featuring BIFA winner Nell Barlow.
When not Casting you can find him chasing around after his 2 kids.
Our two producers have extensive commercial and indie film making experience between them and we’ll make sure every single penny is maximised so the film looks like it cost much more than our 12k budget. Key areas of spend are as follows:
- Cast & Crew - talented cast/crew deserve to be paid.
- Location - the bold setting we’d like to shoot in will come at a price.
- Accommodation/Food/Water - we think it’s likely we’ll have to shoot outside London so our talented team will need to be put up, fed and watered to be at their best.
- Kit Hire - shooting over a weekend, we'll aim to get the best deal we can.
- Post Production - this will cover the edit, colour grade and sound design.
- Film Festivals - all top film festivals require submission fees.
Come and join us.
We believe this story - the themes it explores, questions it poses - gets to the heart of what it is to be human and the mad maelstrom of emotions that comes with it - agony, ecstasy, love and loss.
We think that's worthy of your hard earned pennies and pounds.
So if the themes resonate with you, you enjoyed our previous work or you just fancy coming on a wild cinema-making-ride, please pledge generously.
Come and be a part of the team to help tell a story that will reflect the most brutal and brilliant of times in a poignant, funny and heartfelt way.
Thank you very much / Diolch yn fawr.