France, 1945. An African goddess finds a British soldier wandering her forest. Feeling generous, she decides to spare his life. But the man is determined to play the hero, oblivious to the monster that hunts him.
MEAT is a reimagining of the Artemis myth; when a hunter dares to look upon the goddess bathing, she turns him into a stag and his own hounds tear him to pieces. In this version, Art is the voyeur of a British soldier who wanders into her forest. Thanks to a language barrier, Joseph mistakes her warnings for fear and steps up to be the hero of the hour. Art does her best to send him away to safety... but he follows her deeper into the trees, only to meet a bloody end.
Anastasia Marshall, Writer & Director
Ana uses her skills for storytelling every day, in her day job as a commercials creative & producer for some of the world’s biggest brands. A passionate filmmaker, her personal writing and directing is political and driven by eye-catching visuals. In 2015, her viral short You Have A Voice was featured by the Independent, the Telegraph, Mail Online and aired on Sky News. Previous work has won awards for best story and gained over 11m views on YouTube. Her childhood running wild in the French countryside influences much of her work and she cares deeply about opening opportunities for creatives from working class backgrounds.
Chipo Kureya, Producer
Chipo set up Bantu Creatives and produced their first short film, N’anga in 2020. She is best know as an actor with most notable credits including the critically acclaimed A Midsummer Nights Dream at the Bridge Theatre, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child where she played roles including Moaning Myrtle and Rose Granger-Weasley and has guest starred on the Netflix television series Top Boy.
As well as the above she has also been involved with a handful of creative ventures including writing and devising her own work. Most recently she has toured Europe as Winnie Mandela in Free Mandela. She also works with the #FreeNehanda project and is a founding member of Black in the Open.
Pippa McCormick, Production Assistant
Returning from Paris during the pandemic, Pippa wasted no time in applying to NFTS with her cracker of a short, LGBTQ comedy NAILS. Her enthusiasm and bilingual skills are another fantastic tool in our arsenal.
Beatriz Delgado Mena, Director of Photography - https://www.beatrizdelgadomena.com/
Based in London and Spain, Beatriz has more than 6 years of experience working full time in the film industry. After studying Film Studies in Complutense University of Madrid in Spain and University of Groningen in The Netherlands, she decided to extend her experience in the British film industry.
Her work as director of photography includes three feature films, two of them distributed by Sony Pictures, short films, music videos and promos as well as different projects in fashion and branded content. Some of these projects have been screened in big festivals such as BFI Flare, Oscar qualified BFI London Film Festival or BAFTA qualified Underwire Film Festival among others and she has been nominated to Best Cinematography in several of these festivals.
In 2016 British Society of Cinematographers featured in the BSC Magazine Beatriz’s approach to cinematography with low budgets after her work as DP in Fox Trap feature film was noticed.
Zahra Mansouri, Production Designer - http://www.zahramansouri.com/
As an Alumni of Central Saint Martins in Theatre Design for Performance, Zahra has been nominated for multiple Awards in Set and Costume Design and has worked internationally as a costume designer in the world of Opera. With a versatile skill set she has recently been developing her practise and adapting to design for screen. As she embarks on an exciting new phase of her career having enjoyed some forward-thinking work over lock down that required her to bridge the gap between theatre and screen. Zahra has also been a competitive ballroom dancer and prides herself in approaching design with a knowledge of movement and its relation to space, helping performers to explore their physical characterisation with costume and allowing them to inhabit a set design with ownership.
Ilenka Jelowicki, Casting Director - http://www.inkcasting.co.uk/
Having been referred to as a “casting wizard” Ilenka is a highly experienced Casting Director based in London, and able to fill a brief no matter how complicated, unusual or challenging. Ilenka co-ran and owned Mad Dog for ten successful years, working on over 100 productions such as The Da Vinci Code, various Bond films, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
This is an intersectional, Black and female led project and, so far, the script has surprised everyone who's read it.
"Compelling premise! This is an intense and emotional story. You have chosen a setting that leads so often to death and imbued it with a sense of hope, even if it doesn’t pan out. The major conflict of the film is also very smart; it’s so simple which makes it that much more devastating." - The Pitch
We are tackling some big social issues that have been at the forefront of people's minds in the past year. This is how we know MEAT is relevant now and has potential for real, tangible impact on those who watch it.
Gender expectations are a language in themselves, leading us to make assumptions and take on roles that we perhaps would not choose. Art is no damsel in distress and Joseph’s “strong male hero” act stops him seeing that it is his life that’s in danger. With the casting of a Black actress in the lead role, we are also commenting on the “White Saviour'' complex. MEAT empowers a woman who would ordinarily be oppressed by the man she tries to protect. Women of colour are rarely afforded a powerful leading role on screen and we want to directly address this.
Our film will not shy away from the themes of colonialism (represented by Joseph’s uniform) and of human flesh, women’s bodies in particular, being seen as “meat” for trade and consumption. With these weighty themes at the story’s core, our intention is to pull the audience in with suspense and dark humour created by the characters' English/French language barrier.
Visually, the film will play with contrasts. The first will be its rich colour scheme of green (forest, nature, life) vs red (blood, meat, death). The forest location will be wild and luscious, untamed, in contrast to Joseph's tidy uniform, his man-made gun, the cottage that nature has reclaimed. A seduction scene will be shot from Art’s female gaze, and here too the contrast between Black and White skin shall echo the themes, reminding us of the red flesh that we all share. The monster, representing a wild and feral part of Art’s immortal nature, will never be seen in full. It will be brought to life by sfx (roars, shadows and claws) and Joseph’s terrified reactions.
MEAT’s dual language script opens doors to a wide audience and we aim to attract partners in France as well as in the UK. Our main aim for MEAT is an ambitious festival circuit (namely BFI LFF, Aesthetica, Encounters and Underwire) and we are working with strategist Rebekah Smith (the Film Festival Doctor) to have the best possible shot at achieving this. Our end goal is distribution at culturally relevant spaces, such as the Africa Centre, Imperial War Museum and WOW festival, all of whom are keen to support the project and see a finished version of the film.
We will be shooting around London and the Kent countryside at the beginning of September. The money raised in this campaign will be spent on:
- Paying our female-led crew NMW
- Securing our cast
- Hiring top range camera equipment
- Costume & makeup
- Special effects
- Locations & travel
As a supporter of this project, we're taking you along for the ride with regular updates and glimpses into the development, pre-production and shoot days. The more you can invest in us, the more we can get you involved. We'd love to meet as many of you as possible at the cast and crew screening and enjoy a glass of bubbly to celebrate making this film a reality.
Special thanks to Eman Akwafo, Craig Curran, Petra von Schalien and Lorraine Kanzongo Abes.