Starring ALISON STEADMAN OBE, Wake is an original independent British short film that explores the aftermath of suicide in a farming family and follows Hannah, her mother Grace and son Josh as they come to terms with the unexpected loss of her husband Tom.
WAKE is an original independent British short film that explores the aftermath of suicide in a farming family.
Suicide is the single biggest cause of death for men under the age of 45 and in the UK farm workers are more than twice as likely to take their own life as the broader population. Problems with mental health in the farming community can carry a stigma. Due to the nature of farming life - long days, isolation, financial worries - these problems can seem insurmountable. Seeking help, talking about feelings and opening up about a mental struggle can be difficult for many, and especially so for those in the farming community, where a certain conservative stoicism exists.
Wake is a film about how a family comes to terms with tragic loss and how they cope both psychologically and practically. It raises awareness of the under-reported social issue of mental health and suicide in the seemingly idyllic countryside setting and how simple conversations about feelings can start a process to prevent the downward spiral toward the finality of suicide.
Wake will be shot in a cinematic style with the highest quality equipment, creating the feeling this is one chapter of an extensive story that mirrors the complex reality of the subject matter. Beautiful wide shots, intimate scenes by exceptionally talented actors and expert post production editing will produce a short film drama that conveys an important message.
Alison Steadman OBE - Grace
Louisa Clein - Hannah
Stuart Campbell - Josh
Mark Frost - Tom
The Film Synopsis
The film begins after the end of Tom's life. His widow, Hannah, is showing Pete out, the last guest to leave after the funeral. As Grace, Hannah’s mother, tidies up, Hannah seeks solitude to try and process the unexpected loss. Josh was due to travel with friends, but his father’s death means that he now has the responsibility of helping his mother on the farm. Over the following weeks, this causes friction between Hannah and Josh, as they find it hard to talk openly about their feelings. They try, with difficulty, to understand why a seemingly happy man could take his own life with no warning and leave them to pick up the pieces. Josh argues with Hannah and heads out, leaving his mother to worry about him and how he is coping. Hannah and Grace discuss the situation and resolve to talk to Josh about how he is feeling. They come together in a common grief, and agree that Josh’s future away from the farm must be considered.
The film shows that behind the seemingly bucolic idyll, a loneliness and isolation exists in farming that can be a fertile breeding ground for mental health problems. With encouragement to open up and talk, these problems can be mitigated, allowing people a way out of a destructive spiral.
Rebecca trained at Drama Studio London and worked as an actor in theatre, film and TV, then moved behind the camera to become an assistant director and has worked on a variety of high end TV drama and film. Credits include Bridgerton for Netflix, Endeavour and Grace for ITV, Idris Elba’s In the Long Run for Sky, The Girl Before for HBO, His Dark Materials and The Outlaws for BBC and feature films The Power, Break, Kat and the Band, Body of Water and the upcoming Sweet Sue.
Having grown up in rural Lancashire, Rebecca has a deep rooted connection with the countryside and the farming community. As a film maker she is interested in telling real stories that need to be told. Rebecca’s vision for Wake is to combine sweeping wide shots of the landscape with intimate and emotional scenes with the actors and explore the complexity of such a traumatic subject.
Producers and Crew
Alison B Matthews
Alison has worked in the TV and film industry for over 30 years as a Line Producer and Producer. Credits include: Judge John Deed, In the Long Run, Hetty Feather, Damned and Jed Mercurio's upcoming new thriller Trigger Point.
Ian is an experienced and established producer. Credits include: Downton Abbey, Black Mirror, Britannia, The Pursuit of Love and Sandition.
John trained at Drama Studio London. Alongside acting in theatre, TV and film he has worked in the art department on BBC and ITV productions, designed theatre sets and voiced charity films. Credits include: Wire in the Blood, Wimbledon, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, The Girl Before and Sandition.
Producer/Director of Publicity
Tina Price is a publicist and manager with 25 years experience. Alongside producing she manages the careers of award-winning actors and directors. She recently produced the short Coffee and has in development a feature film written by award-winning playwright and actress Lolita Chakrabarti, which will be directed by Adrian Lester.
Co-Producer/1st Assistant Director
Andrew has a wealth of experience in TV, feature and short films. Credits include: The Duchess, White House Farm, In the Long Run, Departure, Kat and the Band, The Power and The Mad Axeman.
Rob is an extremely experienced DOP and operator. His background in fine art informs his creativity in composition and story telling and has worked extensively in TV and film.
Credits include: The Banishing, Alex Rider, White House Farm, The Durrells, The Long Song, Wanderlust, Gunpowder, Miss You Already and Trust Me.
The Marketing and Presentation
Stills of WAKE will be captured by experienced unit photographer Sally Mais, whose credits include Five by Five, starring Idris Elba, Silent Witness, Broadchurch and Undercover starring Adrian Lester.
A press release with details of the project, actors and funding partners will be compiled prior to filming and distributed to all appropriate media, including film, farming and mental health publications. Festival acceptance and awards will also be accompanied by a release.
The crew are giving their time for free to shoot WAKE. There are some unavoidable costs, including travel, catering for cast and crew for a 5-day shoot, accommodation for anyone needing to travel to the shoot, insurance, covid testing and post production, editing and film festival entry fees.
WAKE will be entered into major domestic and international film festivals before general release to assist in promotion, including Raindance, BFI London, Edinburgh, Glasgow in the UK, Sundance, Tribeca, New York and Toronto in North America and Cannes, Venice and Berlin in Europe. Alongside festival entry and screenings we envisage a PR and marketing plan to promote the film.
A full PR campaign will be compiled for the film’s final release to the general public including targeting national media for coverage and social media promotion.
Wake explores an uncomfortable subject in a sensitive manner.
By dramatising the aftermath of a suicide, rather than the act itself, the film shows the impact of an unexpected death on those who are left to deal with the consequences. Mental health problems occur in all walks of life, with many different backdrops, but, with the suicide risk amongst farm workers more than twice as high as the national average, it is imperative to shine a light on the devastating effect this is having on families. We want to tell a story that is underrepresented, to raise awareness through film of the subject and highlight the need to get mental health at the forefront of conversation in rural communities.
The overarching message is positive - break down the stigma, acknowledge the metal health problem, seek help and talk.