The Year Dot
A heartwarming short film about loneliness and isolation...
Dot (92) is planning an end-of-life party. When lockdown begins and her plans are postponed, her family sends teddies to comfort her. The teddies gradually come to life, if only in Dot’s mind.
The Year Dot
The Year Dot was inspired by my grandma. I cared for her in her last year and became brutally aware of issues I had no pre-conceptions of. I hope that having an elderly protagonist can become a conversation starter for how we consider the elderly in our community. Dot's character is emphasised by the music she loves, her outfits and her growing surreal relationships with her stuffed toys (a metaphorical expression of her state of mind).
Setting this film during the time of the pandemic, increases the feeling of isolation and gives us two important themes which are constantly competing. The fear of the unknown makes Dot’s quest for validation even more difficult. We will all be Dot eventually, we just have to hope that the society we live in will be more accommodating.
The Year Dot needs to be made this year, so that it can stay relevant for years to come. A passionate crew has been formed and any help with funding to make this special project into a short film would be hugely beneficial.
Our fabulous cast (Clockwise from top left):
Moya Allen - Liv Bergeron and Liv-the-bear https://www.spotlight.com/profile/9737-0192-6244
Blair Plant - Miles Parsons and Miles-the-dog https://www.spotlight.com/9296-0166-8471
Lesley-Anne Webb - Kate Danbury https://www.spotlight.com/3330-1204-7887
Kayley Rainton - Mary Danbury and Mini-Mary https://www.spotlight.com/5814-1208-4196
Carrie Cohen - Ethel https://www.spotlight.com/3330-1209-8985
Verity Joy - Dot (Dorothy Parsons) https://www.spotlight.com/profile/2515-6751-9895
Shaila Alvarez - Hanna Cortez https://www.spotlight.com/profile/6819-8970-816
Jean Cameron - Bobbie Bergeron https://www.spotlight.com/3577-6725-2861
Meet the team bringing Dot to life:
Writer, Director & Producer
Eva Wilshere is a multi-disciplinary creative who is transitioning from factual television into fictional storytelling. Graduating with a distinction in her scriptwriting MA at Falmouth University, Eva is passionate about making her multi-award winning script The Year Dot into a short film. Eva had the chance to work with Ben Pohlman from Pinewoods Studios on this script and meet the wonderful Verity Joy who will take on the role of Dot.
Eva has worked in the East Sussex media scene for over a decade. She wrote, produced and directed her first short film Local Girl in 2014 (winner of multiple awards, including Best Director at DreamzCatcher Film Festival) with help from Katherine Shannon as assistant director, who shall be reprising her role on The Year Dot. Eva also worked as 1st AD on Daniel Grasskamp’s first feature film Cat Skin.
Eva has always been politically minded and uses her creativity to promote social causes. Eva’s full-length documentary Homeless By-The-Sea was appreciated so much by Bill Smith at Latest TV that she was offered her own talk show Eva’s World. Eva is passionate about telling stories featuring relatable, quirky and diverse characters, she wants her work to help others relate to life in a way that film helped her to navigate the world as a neuro-diverse individual.
Director credits - Eva’s World, Homeless-by-the-Sea and Local Girl
Producer & Editor
Since moving to Brighton at the beginning of 2020, Joseph has been working as a multi-award winning filmmaker, working with clients including YMCA Right Here, Odd Content and BIMM Brighton, as well as local music and poetry artists. They have also begun to expand their work into American productions. Joseph is currently editing a feature film - The Captain, starring Patrick Bergin.
A jack of all trades, Joseph has worked on various productions as a writer, director, producer, editor, sound editor, director of photography, and has even done some VFX work. Even the pandemic couldn’t stifle their creativity, as they wrote and directed a short comedy film, with remote filming in both the UK and Germany. They have worked with brands including Twitch, IKEA, AudioActive, BIMM, Made to Order Movies, Odd Content, and more.
1st Assistant Director
A 1st AD and award winning writer and Director, Katherine has recently worked for BFI/Mumbai/LA award winning “Queer Parivaar” which represents the LGBTQ+ community, “Re-Shaped” for award winning Director, Stephen Pierre Mitchell, BAFTA Producer, Alex Newland on “Tiny Vessels”, and recent Features including “Dimension Slip” and “Silent Night”, which are available on Netflix and Sky. She was a Consultant on “Mrs Wilson'' for the BBC and Snowed-In Productions, with her cousin, Ruth Wilson.
She has Produced and Directed award winning films “Tables Turned” and also wrote, “Crisps and Zombies”, which currently has six awards from Hollywood, Paris, Milan and London. She has two comedy series in development and is looking forward to reprising the role of 1st AD on The Year Dot.
DIrector of Photography
Oscar Freemantle studied Filmmaking as an MA at Sussex University in 2018. He shot several short films during this time, winning awards at film festivals including a gold medal in the Londom seasonal Short Film Festival. Oscar's passion project, Stepan's Game (Freemantle, 2016), an action/thriller, heavily inspired by Drive (Refn, 2011) and its “faux-80s” style and soundtrack, won awards including official selection at the London International Short Film Festival. There had been issues with the original shoot during his under-grad but Oscar persevered with the project after his final submission. Oscar spent the next 3 years shooting as many films as he could, upgrading his camera again in 2017.
Oscar started making films when he was 14 having saved up for over a year to buy his first camcorder. Over the next couple of years he roped in his family, friends and neighbours to act in his films (thoroughly annoying everyone in the process!).Originally hired as 3rd AD on Brighton Wok (Howard, 2008) his hard work, flexibility and eagerness over the 2 years of production and post-production, meant that his camerawork was used throughout the film. Oscar became fascinated by optical lenses, buying dozens of old lenses from Ebay and modifying them while also growing his collection of Contax SLR lenses from the 70s and 80s. He still shoots with these beautiful lenses today.
Born in Lancashire, Andrew studied design at Chelsea School of Art and on graduating worked for four major publishing houses for sixteen years and designed literally thousands of book covers. From there he moved into publicity design and stage design, then into magazines. Most recently he has become a published author of fiction and drama and works in local television as a producer, presenter and art director. His great loves are theatre and cooking, he creates artwork as a means of staying relatively sane.
Siwan Hill trained in make-up at Greasepaint college in 2010. She spent the next decade putting make-up on people. Notable victims include; Alan Titchfield, Tamsin Greg and Paul Kaye. She has also worked for various well known brands such as Jaguar, Santander and Barclays. In addition to this she has also worked in the art department and costume, including working as the head of department for low budget features.
Siwan lives in London, she enjoys making things, she doesn't really enjoy talking about herself!
Aaron started composing during his time at University, he has scored several student short films and worked as a sync music composer for RedCat Creative and London Sync. He previously enjoyed success working with Eva on her powerful documentary 'Homeless by the Sea' in 2018. Alongside his passion for orchestral scores, Aaron also produces house music tracks and relishes experimenting with electronic textures.
Having gathered musical influences from a range of TV and movie composers including Murray Gold, Christophe Beck and Thomas Newman, he is aiming to channel their methods to help bring the complexity of Dot to life musically and cannot wait to be a part of the project.
We’re delighted to announce our lead actress...
Verity Joy as Dot
Verity began performing for fun from a young age and appeared in local shows for many years. She then trained with The Actors Company at The London Centre for Theatre Studies as a mature student. She has also written and directed plays for children to perform in addition to a short film and a fringe theatre production.
More recently Verity appeared in ‘Moth Hunting’ at The Cockpit Theatre as the mother of two feisty daughters. Like Dot, the character she played had been diagnosed with cancer and was keen to spend time with her family and for them to be supportive of her and each other.
Verity was also part of the production of ‘Far Away’ at the Donmar Warehouse and has appeared in a variety of films, tv shows, corporate projects and commercials.
Having helped care for her elderly mother, Verity has seen the vulnerability and bewilderment that can affect the quality of life for a very old person. To portray Dot on screen is both humbling and thought provoking for Verity and she feels honoured to have the opportunity to do so.
Dot and her daughter Kate discuss plan’s for Dot’s ‘end-of-life’ party. Dot knows she’s terminal and is keen to have one last celebration of her life with all her favourite people, Kate reassures her they will all be there. The news of a national Lockdown puts Dot’s plans on hold. Dot holds on to the hope that she will stay alive long enough for the lockdown to be lifted, to have her party. Over the next few months, some family members call Dot to check in on her and send her teddy-bears. Dot chats absentmindedly to her teddies and as the collection grows so does her reliance on them. Dot sticks a photograph of her late husband on her original bear’s face, chatting away to it. George-the-bear replies and Dot tells him off.
It’s raining and cold outside, Dot listens to her son Miles say he is too unwell to visit at the moment, but that he’s sent her a toy dog. Granddaughter Mary calls to check on Dot who’s started looking forward to her party again. A new lockdown is announced on Dot’s television. She speaks to her daughter Liv on the phone about her life in Beijing. Dot thanks Liv for the new teddy which she holds to her chest during the call. The flat is looking rather unkept and the other teddys are out in full force. Dot is in her flat having a blazing row with Liv, it turns out to be Liv-the-bear she’s talking to. Dot realises her end of life party won’t happen this year and squabbles with the bears as if they are family. On Christmas day Dot has a video call with her real family. The connection is spotty and the conversation both difficult and broken. Dot throws the ‘Portal’ to the floor, more frustrated than ever. Dot attempts to take her own life, during a party with her teddy-bears. She slips and falls and is rushed to hospital.
Hanna (Dot’s new carer, 40’s) drives Dot back from the hospital. She explains that she’ll come every day from now on. Dot holds the toy dog from Miles and squeezes it hard. Dot holds a party with her bears, including some which have just arrived to join her ever growing ‘family’. They all have photographs of whichever family member sent them (except Miles who is the dog-teddy he gave her!) glued to their faces. When Hanna visits, Dot invites her to join the party.
We plan to film in 4 days in early November. Due to Dot's isolation, most of the scenes are in different rooms in her flat. The hardest part will be changing the rooms around to match Dot's mood as it changes during the course of the film. Our set and costume designer will decorate the flat to suit Dot’s style. The only other location is a brief scene in a car and we shall use a stationary car for this.
The 1st AD, Katherine Shannon and DOP, Oscar Fremantle have both agreed to come on board and share our artistic vision. Aaron McNicholas will make his film debut as composer, along with using music from pre-1940. Siwan Hill is a fantastic makeup artist who can age-up Verity Joy to a 92 years-old.
The biggest challenge may be the scene in which Dot’s family members appear on her ‘Portal’ - a basic video chat device. Filming the Portal scene with our supporting actors will take preparation and planning to get a good result.
To minimise our impact on the environment, we will be using minimal locations, feeding cast and crew with homemade produce grown on my balcony (or delivered in an Oddbox) and we will make sure to recycle everything. There will be no single use plastics on set and all catering will be vegetarian. The props and costumes will be borrowed as much as possible and anything bought will be from charity shops.
Why we are fundraising
We believe in paying all of the cast and crew fairly for their hard work and while we have taken steps to ensure no money will be wasted - we have sourced the location, materials and equipment, it takes a great team to make a fantastic film. We've built a brilliant crew and would love to be able to provide travel expenses and accommodation for everyone.
This funding will enable the film to have high production values, and be the best it can possibly be (including investing in a better wig!). In return for your contribution, we have some fantastic perks, which we hope you’ll enjoy!
We are extremely grateful to everyone who has backed The Year Dot so far, please continue to invest in us and we shall produce a powerful and heartwarming short film.
Other ways to support us
Can you help us spread the word? Please consider sharing this campaign with your friends, family and followers on your social channels. Every mention is a big boost and will allow us to reach more people.
Thanks for reading
Huge thanks for taking the time to learn about our film and for considering becoming a part of team Dot. We can't wait for you to join us on our journey to create the film. We appreciate every single one of you.
We've got a wig! It's natural and style-able and will be a huge improvement from the one we used in the teaser. A huge thanks to Aderans and Trendco for donating this wig, we look forward to crediting you, and hosting you at our cast & crew premiere.
Admin queen, all forms of support and accidental bubbleologist, Sienna was bought up in a theatrical environment at West Sussex Theatre Studios in Worthing.
We're lucky to have Rich on board to help us achieve the virtual family Christmas party scene!
Rich is a former cruise ship photographer and lab technician who fell into film through his cabin mate of five months, who invited him to shoot stills on this masters in cinematography.
A big thank you to the guys at The Collaborative City Ltd for coming on board as our first Associate Producer. We're super excited to be that much closer to our goal.