In grimy modern South London the glamorous Shirley Maiden enters a portal to her past at the discreet Bar Elixir. There she meets her Nubian prince, the mixologist Hugh Da Silva, who flirtatiously invites her behind the bar and back on the stage of her memories...
'ELIXIR' is an intimate and tender short film about refashioning the past. It explores the current dementia crisis and tackles the generational divide rife in society by showcasing the strength derived by multi generational collaboration. It is an ode to the power of kindness and the preciousness of mental wellbeing.
We are inviting you to help us tell this story, with the goal of raising £10,000 to make this film.
Shirley Maiden rediscovers herself at Bar Elixir in the gentle and tender presence of mixologist Hugh Da Silva, who knows that though they are making Shirley's signature drink, they are really refashioning her sensational past.
In grimy modern South London, the glamorous Shirley Maiden enters a portal to her past at the discreet Bar Elixir. There she meets her Nubian prince, mixologist Hugh, who flirtatiously allows Shirley behind the bar and back on the stage of her memories...
Which as they assemble the ingredients for her signature drink - bourbon, bitters and sugar we are transported back to her glamorous past as a singer. Gently under the watchful, tender eye of Hugh, Shirley seemingly mentors him to assemble the drink...
Which as it is completed, she nervously offers to Hugh. We realise this is some sort of bittersweet exercise for Shirley to regain her past as we come to know through the memory loss of her name, Shirley is suffering from Alzheimers. This ritual is Hugh's way of helping Shirley Maiden coax back her memories and regain her dignity. Hugh pronounces Shirley's signature drink as perfect. It is an 'Old Fashioned' cocktail.
SHIRLEY MAIDEN, "our famous singing sensation" has a voice known to all but herself. Beautifully aged, like a fine vintage and still turning heads, even if they now wear trainers. But on closer inspection, her put together visage gives way to broken seams and frayed edges...
Serving our film as a mature heroine that celebrates and encapsulates the various charismatic show business personalities of the sixties and seventies, Shirley represents the sophisticated dress and manners and values of an era that appeals to the young fogey in Hugh Da Silva.
Shirley makes a glamorous debut in our film. Showcasing her aspirational qualities, physical beauty, education and ability to mentor Hugh on how to assemble a cocktail. But in the third act we glimpse a vulnerability, as we witness the hallmarks of cognitive decline in her inability to recall her own name. She becomes parented by the young Hugh.
HUGH DA SILVA, "our Nubian prince" is a young fogy with aspirations for a more sophisticated world. When Shirley arrives to his establishment and requests "a trip down memory lane" (pertaining to Shirley's signature drink) Hugh is happy to oblige. But his cordial motivations are a little more literal.
Hugh's debut in our film is that of a handsome well made man with an appreciation for the finer things in life. We initially regard Shirley as the instigator of the story and the assembler of the drink. Hugh's gentle but guiding background presence comes to the forefront in the third act. We realise this is a bittersweet exercise employed by Hugh to help Shirley regain a sense of her identity. This selfless human act exemplifies Elixir's themes on the power of kindness and the preciousness of mental wellbeing.
Hugh becomes the parent to Shirley, and during the process of their interaction we witness the reversal of care giver roles from one generation to another.
Shirley Maiden created me. She is my Mother. My Grandmother. Life givers, foundational examples and the heroines of my own story. Bereft of a father figure in my teenage years, I was raised on maternal energy. I saw the resilience of a widow having lost their spouse, the perseverance of a young girl in wartime Britain losing their school friends to the Blitz. Each having their own histories, and both rising above neurological conditions.
I created Elixir at a transitionary period in my life, at the junction where the child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child. Whether that be through illness, disability or cognitive decline, the time comes where we have to take care of those who took care of us.
Growing up around my Grandmother I learned the values and principles of a wartime generation. It saddens me that in todays society we are experiencing such generational divide. Links to our past are fraying. Elixir attempts to bridge that gap, showcasing the strength derived from multi generational collaboration.
I am Hugh Da Silva. His aspirations for a more sophisticated world come from me. His attempts to remind Shirley of her significance not only to herself but others are a practise I have employed on my Grandmother all too many times.
- Marcus Mills (Director, Co-Writer)
ELIXIR is based on a screenplay written by Marcus Mills & Ajay Chowdhury.
MARCUS MILLS is a First Class Honours Film and Tv Production Degree graduate from Buckinghamshire New University with six years worth of experience working on high budget studio features and series in various capacities within the industry.
Some of his most notable credits include Studio Unit Manager on Marvel Studios Secret Invasion and Assistant Studio Unit Manager on LucasFilm's Andor: Series 2. Working in these capacities has refined him into an accomplished liaison between all departments with a succinct knowledge of their inner workings.
Foremost Marcus has artistic sensibilities. A Writer/Director, Photographer and Storyboard Artist. He placed third in the Warner Bros. Short Film Festival with his short film 'Creative Differences' that playfully captured the complexities and pitfalls of being an actor.
'Elixir' is one of three completed screenplays he has under his name.
Elixir's screenplay contains rich thematic imagery and vivid visual details. Your donation will allow us to make an adaptation that is faithful to the source material.
Elixir Bar will require two looks: Contemporary and Flashback. It will be up to our talented art department to showcase Contemporary Elixir Bar: "Cobwebbed art deco, dilapidated wallpaper, threadbare furnishings," and Flashback Elixir Bar in its retro heyday: "Full of colour, full of life. Ladies in every colour of dress. Men in a spectrum of suits."
Elixir Bar references eras that date back to the 1930's. Elixir will require period detail props. A collage of different time periods that will require meticulous research to source. Purchases and hires will need to be made and we will also need bespoke props manufactured for our film. Your donation can make that possible.
Clothes make the character. Costume design then, is yet another subtle element that adds dimension to the film, its content and players and aids in immersing its audience completely into its world - H. Perry Horton for FSR
Music is intrinsic to Elixir. Featuring an original song specially recorded/written for Elixir called 'The Good New Days.' This song will function as Shirley Maiden's debut single in the world of the film. From this we will establish the score: Shirley's theme which will be employed during specific/relevant sequences in the film.
Your donation will help us employ a composer to write and record the song in a recording studio.
We are committed to producing the film to the highest possible standard. Therefore, it is crucial that the funds are spent efficiently. Your contributions will go towards:
This is a tender story. It deals with the ageism in our society and attempts to unify the generations during a period of indifference. It comes from a really special place.
We are going to film this is South London Dec - Jan 2024 and we are going to find a bar location with real character to it.
ELIXIR is a crucial universal story, felt by generations around the world. It captures the zeitgeist, talking about the aging problem, but also a yearning by some young people, myself included for a more sophisticated world. We are not all hooligans and social media addicts, we have a finesse to us.
And that is what Elixir is about. It is about the Elixir of Youth. The Elixir of Spirit. There is a triple meaning in the title.
Please donate to our campaign so we can bring this message to the screen.
- From all of our team, Shirley and Hugh. Thank You!