Pick the Right Fruit
A BFI Network developed dark dramedy short film, written and directed by Corinne Walker, produced by Sophie Freeman and Exec Produced by Calling the Shots.
On the hottest day of the year, Barbadian fruit pickers Nicole and Vincent endure exploitative conditions on a UK fruit farm. When the farm’s owner arrives, tensions reach boiling point.
Pick the Right Fruit
Have you ever thought about who picks your fruit?
Logline: On the hottest day of the year, Barbadian fruit pickers Nicole and Vincent endure exploitative conditions on a UK fruit farm. When the farm’s owner arrives, tensions reach boiling point.
Planting the Seed
Pick The Right Fruit is a dark dramedy with a hint of horror which uncovers racism, exploitation and modern-day slavery on a UK Fruit farm.
The action takes place over the course of the hottest day of the year on a South West- based Fruit farm where homesick Barbadian worker Nicole gears up for another day of back-breaking work under the watchful eye of supervisor Travis.
Alongside fellow Barbadian Vincent, the pair are segregated from the other white workers, forced to pick from the leaner patches.
Drawn to the UK under false promises of financial gain through a government-backed scheme, the workers are now stuck in a vicious cycle of picking, exposed to the elements, facing exploitative and filthy conditions, unable to leave without at least enough money for the return plane ticket.
However on this particular day, it seems as though Nicole’s prayers have been answered when Mr Jones, the farm’s elusive owner pays a surprise visit. Nicole spends the day trying to draw his attention to the inhumane conditions, while as the heat rises, it gets harder to know what’s real and what’s not.
All the while racial tensions between the black and white workers rise with the temperature, reaching a violent fever pitch that leaves everybody changed.
A 'Fresh' Take
I was inspired to write Pick the Right Fruit after reading an article in The Voice Newspaper called ‘Strawberry Slavery’ The article detailed the exploitative and racist conditions experienced by workers coming to the UK to pick fruit for us all to enjoy.
However, seen as ‘low hanging fruit’ after Brexit, they are forced to live in unsafe, unsanitary conditions, paid far under minimum wage and subjected to racial abuse.
When I did some further research, I could find very little information about it and found that it was something that very few were talking about or were even aware of.
This project therefore is about raising awareness of the circumstances and conditions of agricultural workers and the human cost of the food supply chain.
It is also a comment on the global systems that rule us; most of us are much closer to those unprotected vulnerable fruit pickers than we are to being the rich overlords in charge, protected by their wealth, privilege and status.
Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing had a profound impact on me when I first watched it, and I wanted to draw parallels with this story, although transplanting it to a British rural setting and with a black female character at the helm. Pick The Right Fruit will have a similar colour palette; reds and oranges feature heavily as the temperature rises.
Visually, the tone will vary between a documentary-style, with lots of close-ups so as an audience member you feel immersed in the experience of Nicole and Vincent but as the temperature rises and things get stranger there is also a more playful style, looking brighter and more saturated with colour. This is a story which digs in deep to the elements of the earth and air and all this will come together to create a hard hitting and emotive film.
We are passionate about telling stories from underrepresented voices, and it is important that this is a film from a black and female perspective. But while the story has a serious message, Nicole is a character with agency within her own story - not a victim - a character who is making things happen in an oppressive situation and we as the audience will root for her every step of the way.
Berry Nice to Meet you!
Corinne Walker - Writer/Director
Originally (and still) an actor and theatre producer, Corinne wrote and directed her first short ‘Clifford’ in 2021. Clifford was commissioned and funded by BBC Arts/Arts Council England as part of BBC New Creatives. This was Corinne’s introduction to Producer Sophie Freeman and Calling the Shots. BBC New Creatives ignited Corinne’s love of filmmaking and visual storytelling which has subsequently been developed in BFI’s Script Development Lab ‘21 and then BFI New Voices. She is in development with Calling the Shots to make Clifford a TV series.
Corinne was recently selected to take part in the first Arvon and TV Foundation 'TV Writing residential Lab' to further develop Clifford.
She has been commissioned by Rural Black History Project to write short film ‘The Bust With No Name’ which premiered in Cirencester in October 2021. She also writes for theatre and audio.
She currently works as Artist Development Producer for theatre company Beyond Face, continuing her passion to champion black and global majority talent from the South West. You can find out more about her on her website
Sophie Freeman - Producer
With 12+ years’ experience in the film and television industry, Sophie has worked in development, production, marketing, distribution, exhibition (seeing her take human rights music documentary THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST: Malian Music in Exile to SXSW in 2015) and festivals - such as BFI London Film Festival. She was selected for Edinburgh Film Festival Talent Lab 2022 and the BIFA Mentoring Programme, through which she is being mentored by Oscar/BAFTA-winning Element Pictures' Producer Emma Norton.
She also took part in the BFI NETWORK Creative Producer Lab 2021, ScreenSkills Producer Masterclasses 2022, BFI NETWORK x BAFTA CREW 20/21 and LoCo Inside Comedy Industry training 2019.
Sophie has worked on many features and TV productions, including Sarah Gavron's SUFFRAGETTE, LEAVE TO REMAIN, THERE SHE GOES, and most notably working closely with Mike Leigh, as Assistant Director on his feature PETERLOO.
As Producer for BBC Arts talent development scheme New Creatives Southwest, she helped commission, develop and produce short films, audio and interactive work for BBC platforms, including RWA winning Dinah - a short film inspired by the true story of Dinah Black, a Bristolian runaway slave in 1687.
Her work entails untold stories with social issues at the core, empowering under-represented voices, often using humour. She is building a slate of shorts, features and TV dramas/comedies.
Calling The Shots - Production Company
CTS is a Bristol-based production company led by CEO Jeremy Routledge. The company was established in 1998 and develops, nurtures, and produces projects by emerging writers and creatives. Recent commissioning partners include the BBC, Channel 4, Arts Council England, the BFI and the AHRC.
We use our experience of nurturing new writing and directing talent for broadcasters and national organisations by developing ambitious and scaled projects that both entertain and reflect our community.
We have previously worked together on our comedy short Clifford (pictured below), a film which was selected for Fringe of Colour, BAFTA-qualifying Carmarthen Bay Film Festival and as part of the Watershed x Cables & Cameras 'Inspired' event.
We know we like each other, work well together and will get the job done well!
We will be updating you with the exciting cast and crew working on this film over the course of this campaign. Stay tuned...
There is no magic strawberry tree…
Pick The Right Fruit has already been provisionally awarded funding from a major public body, and alongside our own finance, this campaign will go towards creating the best possible film in order to raise awareness of this issue.
The money invested will go towards paying every cast and crew member properly for their time. It will also go towards securing our location, production design - lots of fruit! - costumes and ensuring our production is shot safely, following covid-19 guidelines.
Finally, it will go towards funding the entry fees of film festivals in order to ensure this film has as much reach as possible.
All those who donate will be thanked in the credits of our film.
‘Ripe’ for sharing
We really appreciate your support in sharing this campaign with anyone who you think might be interested in bringing this film to life. We believe this is a story and issue that must be more widely known so we are so grateful to you for being a part of it.
You can follow updates on our instagram below
THANK YOU BERRY BERRY MUCH!
We're in the last days of our crowdfunder and it only feels right to announce our first additional member of the team, please welcome Elkie Rose McCrimmon, our extremely gifted and lovely production designer.