Following the birth of her newborn, Thea prepares herself for her first night of motherhood. But after her first breastfeed, her ability to bond with her baby comes into question.
We hit our first goal of £1000, thank you!
The overwhelming support we have received has allowed us to meet our initial goal of £1000 within a matter of days and to ensure Latch can be made!
We are now raising money for our stretch goal of an additional £500. This will enable us to further enhance Latch's 'value on screen', which we hope will increase our chances of getting into festivals and therefore raise further awareness of the important issues our film addresses.
We would be extremely grateful for your support, whether in the form of a donation, or simply your sharing of the page with anyone you feel would be interested in Latch and what it stands for.
TOTAL GOAL: £1500
Latch is a serious drama filled with dread. Set in the middle of the night on a postnatal ward, the eerie, isolating hospital reflects the mental state of new mum Thea and her sense of anxiety as to whether she is capable of bonding with her newborn. Through an almost surreal visual language, Latch will explore the very real theme of maternal health and postnatal depression with a fresh, yet unflinching, perspective.
We are a team of second year National Film and Television School students and despite working on Latch as an extra-curricular passion project, we have nevertheless managed to secure funding directly from the school on an exceptional basis.
The school's funding amounts to 50% of what we need. Given the sensitivity of the film’s subject matter - heavily informed by writer and director Ruby Abbiss’ own experience as a new mum on the postnatal ward - we are looking to raise additional funds to ensure we achieve authenticity and integrity in the storytelling/production process. For example, we want to ensure the film has an intimacy coordinator, chaperones and experienced actors - protecting our team, whether in front of camera and behind camera, is of paramount importance to us.
With an additional £1000, Latch can be born.
Thea has just given birth and is faced with the terrifying task of raising her newborn baby, and, despite her good intentions, she can’t shake the impending sense of dread.
After rushing back to the postnatal ward to soothe her baby’s cries, a wave of relief rushes over her as the baby latches on. Maybe everything will be OK - maybe she’s a natural. But Thea’s moment of maternal bliss is interrupted by Mother, who claims that the baby latched onto her breast is hers - not Thea’s.
Initially defiant, Thea is forced to reckon with the guilt from her mistake as she reunites with her own baby in her post-birth haze. Hearing Mother behind the dividing curtain so naturally bond with the baby she believed to be hers, Thea looks on at her own child questioning if she will she ever be able to bond with her own baby as she did with a stranger’s?
Thea (mid 20s) is filled with anxiety about embarking on the lifelong role as a mother. Single, her pregnancy was a surprise and Thea is facing early parenthood alone with no support. All she wants is to be a good mum, but she can’t shake the feeling that she’s going to fail.
Thea is usually self-possessed, confident and sensitive. But in this moment, she feels almost numb; overwhelmed by fear and insecurity. The events in the maternity ward seem to confirm her greatest fear - she’s not a natural at being a mother. So how will she ever bond with her baby?
Mother (mid to late 30s) is a self-assured, collected woman. She’s already got two kids, and she’s the type of woman who has a plan for everything.
She planned her pregnancy and birth to the nth degree, and she felt prepared enough to stay overnight with her newborn alone while her husband returned home to look after the other children.
But she never could have prepared for this: a stranger breastfeeding her child. Mother will use care and empathy to deal with the stranger gripping her baby.
Latch is a short film about the deep anxiety new mothers feel about whether they will be capable of forming a bond with their baby.
It’s about the dread felt in those first days of being left alone with this tiny, vulnerable being that you haven’t yet fallen in love with. It’s steeped in the raw, almost primal, emotions of early motherhood and calls into question the concept of ‘maternal instinct’, an idea that has been perpetuated as scientific fact for centuries.
The complexity of new motherhood - and the brutality of it - is so rarely explored in film and TV.
In fact, an advert for postpartum sanitary products by Frida Mom that featured a new mum hobble from her bed to the bathroom, swollen postpartum stomach on show, to change the pad in her mesh postpartum underwear, was even banned from the 2020 Oscars broadcast.
The few times new motherhood makes it onto the screen, it is either in a comedic “messy, irresponsible mum pals” story, or a serious drama about a mother’s grief, full of heartbreak and loss. While these are two important and compelling sides of motherhood, Latch will show the side that is tender and terrifying, focussing not on motherhood as something that happens to our main character, Thea, but as something she will have to create for herself.
Motherhood has been compared recently to Joseph Campbell’s archetypal ‘hero’s journey’. But if that’s the case, why is the experience of motherhood not told more often?
While no one may want to believe it, they need to see it. The less-than-perfect stories of new motherhood need to be told, to be normalised. So that new mothers thrown into those tumultuous first months, doubting their ‘maternal instinct’, know that they aren’t broken, but on their own hero’s journey.
MEG FORGAN, THEA
Thea will be played by Meg Forgan, represented by Infinity Artists.
Selected Credits: Club 2B (Strictly Arts Theatre, Belgrade Coventry), The Worst Witch (UK Tour / West End), We’ll Live And Die In These Towns (Belgrade Theatre), The Coolidge Effect (The Wonder Fools)
ELIZABETH GRACE, MOTHER
Mother will be played by Elizabeth Grace, represented by David Ball Management.
Selected Credits: Bank of Dave (Netflix), In Plain Sight (Alex Igbanoi), I Stand For Us (Almir Dario), Trylife Essex (Trylife Productions)
A note from Ruby Abbiss
Nearly five years ago now, at 22, I gave birth to my daughter Maia at 1.18 am. It was a difficult birth and due to complications, we were immediately separated for a short while. This meant I first saw her face on my phone, when my Mum took a picture of her on the other side of the room and brought it over to show me.
In my own sleep-deprived, pain-ridden early months of motherhood, I struggled to bond with my baby. It’s a uniquely isolating experience, being almost permanently attached to a very demanding little human that you as of yet have no foundational relationship with, and feel little connection to. Like starring in your own psychological horror film.
Of course, eventually, I found a common language with Maia and a bond grew between us. However, I will never forget the shame of not instantly bonding with my child, believing that I was alone in the experience and a broken mother. That guilt is so strong, it still seeps into my life as a mother five years later. I want to make Latch in the hopes that any new mother experiencing similar feelings watches it and feels affirmed in their experience.
When writing Latch, I thought about the night I gave birth to Maia - and what could have happened if my Mum wasn’t there in the eerily dark postnatal ward with me. After showering, in that post-birth haze and already pumped full of anxious energy, would I have known which baby was mine? Would I have bonded more easily with a different baby?
I therefore feel I can not only authentically tell the substance of this story from my own experiences, but am also uniquely placed to ensure the safety, authenticity and integrity in the filmmaking process for this difficult subject matter. In directing this film, my first priority is to create a safe set for the cast, considering how vulnerable Thea’s character is within the film, drawing on my own experiences as a mother to do so.
With the support of Latch’s incredibly experienced and talented team, I know that this film will be a unique, tender analysis of the first moments of motherhood that will speak to many people experiencing complex feelings about caregiving and parenthood.
In only a few days of crowdfunding, we are now only £15 away from reaching our goal of £1000. So close!
Thank you so much to those who have already pledged and/or shared. It’s been so heartening to see so many people care so much about our film.