“Lose it Now! Ask me How!”
I’m Ms. Jenni Mendoza… Businesswoman, Mom-ager, Boss
Breadwinner is a short fictional film following the most important day of Ms. Jenni Mendoza’s life.
A brassy and formidable single mother, Jenni mitigates her dreams of providing her migrant family with a better shot at life, by working as a salesperson in a pyramid scheme selling weight loss and wellness products.
When she is finally spotlighted by her boss to be an exemplar of a #bossbabe as the face of the company at a dinner party, Jenni is determined to maintain the facade she has created by leveraging her chances of success around the one and only thing she truly owns, her son, to fully prove that her products do indeed work.
Everybody knows a Jenni Mendoza in their lives, be it a mother, sister, aunt, cousin or simply the ambitious friend who happens to mention their career at every chance they get.
But Breadwinner is more than that.
It is a story that focuses on the inhibitions of pride and failure of a mother, and the sacrifices one would make to succeed in a place they simply do not belong. In the face of single parenthood, Jenni attempts to negotiate the path she’s always longed for with the relationship she has with her son, Ronnie. Her surging desire to erase her and her family’s so called 'outsider' status poses as a threat when it is intrinsically tied with the latter’s wellbeing. The film questions and explores this ambivalent and codependent bond between mother and child, as a means to discover what it truly means to be the ‘Breadwinner’ of the family.
As our thesis film in the undergraduate Film Production programme at Arts University Bournemouth (Bournemouth Film School), Breadwinner could also be seen as a coming-of-age story through the eyes of the opposite side - the mother.
Often we focus on the trials and tribulations of growing up through an adolescent’s perspective, however, we believe in creating a piece of fiction that not only shines light on the people who have raised us, but to also dive into the moral complexities of such a bond, in the context of navigating one’s worth. After all, growing up never ends, even for mothers.
The characters of the film are key to the story’s formulation. At its heart, Breadwinner is a Filipino orientated story, based in England, set against the backdrop of a rosy suburban English neighbourhood. Part of our goal is to raise the visibility of the Filipino community - a (not so) minority group that has commonly been looked over in both the media and social fabric of the United Kingdom.
According to The Manila Times, in 2007, nearly 10,900 Filipinos gained British citizenship, making it the second largest nationality after India. An estimation made by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2015, approximates that 132,000 Filipinos are residing in the United Kingdom, 80,000 of which have since been in service of the British healthcare system - a testament to its presence in Britain's working class.
It is a highly probable feat that many of the new babies surfacing into the country first laid eyes on a Pinoy face attending to them in their first moments of life. The film will explore the issues and sacrifices young Filipino mothers face, and the extent they would go for their families to lead better lives.
In light of the Filipino spirit, we visualise the film as an extension of Jenni’s world - a world that does not entirely focus on her subjugations as a single, working class mother, but that of an independent woman who strives to pave her own path. We envision Jenni to be a young and charismatic woman full of contradictions - rough on the edges, but naive and vulnerable at the same time, clasped between the realities of the world she seeks to achieve, and the truth that she hides in order to prevail.
Breadwinner provides the opportunity for us to explore the metaphors that come with on-set locations - how do they convey a message visually to show the divide between class and race? We plan to secure and enhance locations that speak volumes of the character realities. Starting with a study of colour and lighting, our cinematography will envisage Jenni’s character arc with the subtle tonal shifts that follows her throughout the film. From pinks, to purple, to green - marking her journey to becoming the sole ‘Breadwinner’.
Inspired by the collaborations of South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho and cinematographer Hong Kyung-Pyo, we plan to utilise practical lights to enable a clear separation between Jenni’s reality and that of her boss’s - one that can afford natural sunlight to beam through her home, and the other, a reliance on synthetic, tungsten light. Influenced by Kyung-Pyo’s subtle yet minimalistic compositions, we aim to capture the story with a similar approach. However, we plan to subvert this convention with a maximalist style breaking away from the predictable and giving an unexpected twist to conventions.
Films that have inspired this aesthetic choice are 'Neon Demons' shot by Natasha Braier and 'Euphoria' by Marcell Rév. We plan on shooting with anamorphic lenses to encompass the sense of space in both locations. Inspired by the composition and lighting of Paul Klee and David Hockney’s paintings, we wish to reference their work in pursuit of creating a world that is immersive and highly nuanced. Utilising an analogous colour palette for the film, this will enable depth, in both metaphorical and literal senses, for the characters, as a means to enhance the narrative visually.
The budget for both production and costume design will be invested in the creation and making of props and costumes that reflect Jenni’s circumstances: a branding of the weight loss/wellness products she spearheads, the stylised clothes that speak volumes of her mental state, with an added juxtaposition of her son Ronnie’s portrayal, emphasising their relationship, as well as conveying her want to prove herself and her ambitions. We plan to put an emphasis on the texture and subtle differentiating tones of these components to highlight the physical and psychological divisions between characters, with both where they stand and where they hope to ultimately go.
ANG-REUBEN FOONG - Writer & Director
Reuben is an image-maker from Singapore. A graduate of Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Film, Sound & Video programme, his short film, AFLOAT (斗鱼), had its world premiere at the 26th Singapore International Film Festival in 2015. An avid photographer, his works have also been featured at Somerset House, London, in an exhibition curated by the World Photography Organisation in 2014 & 2015. Reuben’s passion for visual storytelling stemmed from his formative years listening to the short, and often wry notes his mother had shared with him about beauty whilst putting on makeup before heading to work - notes on how the tangible and material manifests themselves as armour and keys to survival in a world that only cares for nothing less than perfection. As a fashion and beauty image-maker, his work often questions these ideals and the value of it in a hyper-enhanced, modified age.
In line with the tropes of his body of work, BREADWINNER will mark as his thesis production at Bournemouth Film School (AUB) - a short film tackling the inhibitions of pride and failure of an ambitious single mother, her willpower to succeed and the mitigations of her own reality in order to keep her family afloat.
COURTNEY KERRIGAN-BATES - Producer
Having began her interest in film in front of the camera, Courtney started out acting in both short films and on the West End. She soon realised it was the creativity and dedication that came from behind the camera that inspired her. Now an aspiring Producer, Courtney’s passion is taking a script she is inspired by and ensuring it can be brought to screen. The plot of Breadwinner is one that resonates with Courtney, with Jenni’s passion and drive for her career reminding her of her own mother. With a love for the story, determination within her role and a talented team to collaborate with, Courtney will ensure the production is a great experience for all involved.
BRYAN BETIA - Line Producer
Upon his discovery of film through various different mediums, he began experimenting with cameras where he began making short films projects. From a hobby, to a goal his journey lead him to study at Art University Bournemouth to learn the proper ways of filmmaking. Bryan is a “people’s person” meaning it is easy to communicate and collaborate with him over the course of production. As a Line Producer he helps manage the budget of the film with Producer as well as running the day to day physical aspects during the films production. Breadwinner spoke out to him as it shows the difficulties of Filipino family’s face living in the western society. As a Filipino himself, he experienced first-hand of the hardships his mother faces and the sacrifices she makes for the family.
VEN SHIBABA - Director of Photography
Based in Singapore, Ven has spent the last four years honing her craft as a camera assistant, working on commercials, short films and feature films in the camera department since 2017. Ven is passionate about telling visual stories and creating stimulating aesthetics to complement each narrative. Her love for film was ignited by photography at the tender age of 7, and she has been pursuing her passion of becoming a Cinematographer ever since. She aims to create an immersive world for the characters and further enhance their stories to greater heights. For Breadwinner, Ven wants to elevate Jenni's headstrong personality as well as her trying relationship with her son through powerful visuals. Working with the most dedicated team, she is confident that they can bring the film to life.
VIOLET LEWIS - Production Designer
As the production designer for Breadwinner, Violet is excited to create a space in our locations that brings to life such a unique story. Creating the weight loss brand Nurture Well is another aspect of her design that will be carefully curated to be the most convincing weight loss program you've ever laid your eyes on. Through these different aspects of the design, she will embody the essence of each character, capturing exactly what it is that makes them, well, them! She will also make Nurture Well look so enticing that even you will want to buy it. Trust her on that one!
HARRY BONHAM CARTER - Camera Operator
Harry Bonham Carter was introduced to the film world when he worked as a humble extra at the age of 7. However, it was behind the camera that caught his attention and thus, began his passion for cinematography. In between his time at AUB, Harry has worked on a wide variety of projects including feature films such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Cinderella. Nevertheless, commercials and music videos are where his passion lies with credits on Sky, Kinder Bueno and more recently Vogue. Harry was attracted to the project due to its unique visual style. Its minimalist aesthetic and soft colour tones that will be fascinating to capture behind the lens. With Ven as DOP and Harry as Operator, they make formidable team to bring this project to life.
BEXULTAN BAYEKENOV - Sound Recordist
Bex was born in Kazakhstan in April 1996. He grew up in a family of cinema lovers and had a great childhood watching films on VHS tapes. Since high school, he started learning Film Production. He has dreamt about working in film industry since then and will try to level Kazakhstan film industry up. As a hobby, he started making music and editing it. Films without soundtrack are hard to watch - that's why he was always interested in making Music scores for movies and Designing sound for films. Making music helped him learn sound editing for film and he is willing to participate in the bigger projects.'Breadwinner' is his main priority for the next year and that's why he feels confident and excited to create this film.
ALEX TURNER - Gaffer & Post-Sound
Growing up in Norfolk, Alex found his love for film making through photography but found that his experience creating and working with music and audio meant that sound came naturally to him too. He is passionate about both departments and is excited to work on Breadwinner to make it sound and look as good as it can. He has worked on a number of short and feature films in both departments and is excited to continue this with Breadwinner.
SPENCER GRANT - Editor
At 17, Spencer moved from the United States to Bournemouth, England to study film editing. Since then, he has worked on a wide variety of projects and authored a book, and is looking forwards to using his storytelling and practical editing experience to the project. As an immigrant himself, he hopes to bring some of his own experience juggling multiple cultures and the pressures that brings to Breadwinner. As an editor, he finds the only thing more satisfying than watching a well-crafted film is the act of... well, crafting it. He looks forwards to helping make Breadwinner the best film it can be.
LAURA SCHULT - Costume Designer
Breadwinner is our Costume Designer Laura’s first film and she’s very happy to be onboard for such an exciting, hard hitting production. She hopes that her costumes will convey our characters’ personalities effectively, as well as drawing on various aspects of their backstories and surroundings. Jenni is desperately trying to fit in and prove her worth, largely through her fashion choices which will need to be carefully selected to tell her complex story and her relationship with her son. Laura can't wait to see the crew's vision on screen.
TALIA KASINATHAN - Makeup Designer
Talia is the Makeup Designer for the amazing Grad film that is Breadwinner. She has worked on several films in the past, specializing in prosthetics, and hopes that past experiences will allow her to execute the directors intricate and well-thought through vision. Even though makeup is only a small fraction of all the hard work and planning that goes into creating a film, it is one of the elements most obviously visible to the audience. Oftentimes, in addition to costume designs, it helps create an atmosphere particularly on set, allowing for the actors to truly delve into their characters. Seeing as this is such a relevant and poignant script with a vast array of relevant themes, she hopes to design the makeup in a fashion that complements the other departments hard work and allows the beautiful story to be seamlessly translated to screen.
Budget Example Breakdown Chart
Our budget has been worked to ensure each departments needs are met at every stage of production.
Any donation, big or small, will contribute to the creation of Breadwinner. This could be anything from casting our talent to the creation of Jenni and Ronnie's home.
We understand not everyone is able to make a donation, but don't worry - you can still play a part in supporting our film! Every share of both our Crowdfunder and Facebook page helps build attention and excitement for our production.
On behalf of all those behind Breadwinner, thank you for your support and interest in our film.