Losing Us is about family love and survival, based on an award-winning script. We follow two children's lives who have been thrown into a dark abyss dealing with threatening situations, their own emotional state and vulnerability as they grow up.
What happens in Losing Us?
Siblings Gezim and Elira live in a happy, loving Albanian family. But violence in their community is rising and the killing of their dad forces their mother Luljeta and the children to flee for their lives. After a treacherous long journey, they finally end up in the UK. Here they have to find ways to survive with the help of the dangerous human trafficking gang member who gives them fake passports. Gezim is doing everything he can to keep his 12-year-old sister Elira safe after their mother goes missing and they are left to fend for themselves.
Why this story?
We have a passionate team of filmmakers who are committed to making this film from the point of view of the children. They go through dramatic experiences and journeys as refugees, even after they reach their final destinations. Many refugee stories go unnoticed and even more so how children go through such life-changing experiences. We want to make this film to move audiences and open their heart to this story.
Meet our crew
Our open-minded vision of the world is reflected by our team, with ethnic backgrounds and nationalities ranging from Estonian, Dutch, German, English, Albanian, Italian, Danish and French.
Estonian born and UK-based Teele Dunkley is a director, editor, writer and still photographer.
Her career started in 2010, working for Eye Film and TV. Soon after that, Teele went freelance, focusing on making music videos, short films and actors showreels in the UK and in Estonia.
Now, Teele has directed 27 projects, with the size of the crews ranging from ‘one-woman-crew’ to 70 people. She has recently received awards for scriptwriting short film 'Metres Apart' that she also directed in 2020.
Teele can apply all her skills, passion for filmmaking and her interest in meaningful human stories by creating Losing Us.
Lesley, who is originally from the Netherlands, is a producer, photographer and communications professional. She has more than two decades of experience in communications, marketing and project management. Her unique mix of being visually creative and having worked in the corporate world, is a real asset to Losing Us. Recently, Lesley produced short film ‘Metres Apart’ and has previously produced promotional videos while working as Head of Communications. In 2009, she produced a set of short films about Gypsies and Travellers. The project won a national award from the Royal Town Planning Institute that year. She has a big heart for the environment and is working on her own film (script phase), which is about climate change aimed at young teenagers.
The project's Director of Photography is Paul Cook. After graduating from Film Studies from University of East Anglia, Paul has built a name for himself in the East of England as one of the top young cinematographers.
His work spans from high-end commercials to feature films and brings attention to detail and passion for the industry to every project he works on.
Paul and his trusted crew will be providing the latest camera and lighting equipment to the project, ensuring that the film will be as engaging visually, as it is emotionally.
He has previously worked with Lesley, Stephan and Teele on various projects, making them a close-knit team.
Stephan Drury is an award-winning script writer, lecturer at The Open University and an actor. He has trained at Rose Bruford College, a Theatre and Performance academy, and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Stephan has written several scripts for film and theatre productions. He writes black comedy, tragedy and drama that is sharp, witty and psychologically informed. He often explores existential themes of mortality, madness and isolation in an absurdist manner.
His professional writing experience is paramount and has enabled him to write a raw account of refugee life and a meaningful script, that won Losing Us numerous awards and high ranking places in script competitions and film festivals.
Actor Anton Kamillus has previously worked with director Teele Dunkley on several film projects, most notably on 'Metres Apart' where he also closely collaborated with producer Lesley Van Dijk as executive producer. Anton was raised in Paris before moving to London at 11 years of age to pursue his studies, later going on to train acting at prestigious institutions such as RADA and IDENTITY. He started his acting career on stage, more recently shifting his focus on film and television roles in association with AKP Management Agency. Anton is currently filming and due to appear in a major new sci-fi series, produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment and Amazon studios for Prime Video. On top of his acting career, Anton has numerous writing projects in the pipeline, namely an exotic crime-comedy feature film project in partnership with Teele Dunkley. In addition to his role as co-producer, Anton has found it intriguing to lead the casting department in 'Losing Us' where he got to experience the other side of casting decisions.
We have a wonderful team in place to make this film a success and we cannot wait to be together again in September to continue filming Losing Us.
We have a talented team that has created eye-opening shorts, stunning music videos and beautiful commercials. They are ready to make this compelling film.
Meet our cast
We have a wonderful professional cast of actors.
Scope of the film
Losing Us will be an approximately 20-minute long film and shot in the beautiful county of Norfolk in England over five days. Besides the 16 actors you can see above, we will also have many extras on set during some of the scenes. This film is aiming high and we are hoping you will join us on this journey of bringing Losing Us to the world. Once finished, Losing Us will be entered into various film festivals around the world.
What we are looking to raise
As you can see, Losing Us is an ambitious film project. The total film budget is close to £40,000 (production + post-production + promotion). Now, we are looking to raise at least £20,000 for the production.
Your generous contributions will cover these costs:
1. CAST (£3,545) - We believe in paying our actors!
2. CAMERA & LIGHTING - (£4,000) - If the actors are the painters then these vital crew members (and their gear!) will create the canvas that makes this film a work of art.
3. SOUND (£2,000) - This makes all the difference in time and quality if done by a solid sound recorder.
4. PRODUCTION TEAM (£2,400) - To produce the best film possible we have recruited professionals who will make your investment worthwhile.
5. FOOD & LOCATIONS (£1,445) - No-one will go hungry or will have to sleep under a tree.
6. TRAVEL & TRANSPORT (£870) - We are keeping these costs as low as possible to keep emissions down while being practical.
7. MUA/ HAIR/ APPRENTICE (£742) - Make-up can be so impactful and it needs to work hard as we are planning a big variety of scenes!
8. RENTALS (£350) - Prop cars and van.
9. ACCOMMODATION (£1,100) - With five days of filming, we are homing our out of town crew and cast so they have a good sleep + to keep transport costs and emmissions low.
10. PROMOTION & CROWDFUNDING COST (£1,500) - Every video we watched and every article we have read about crowdfunding says you need to put money aside for admin and promotion. So there we are! We want to reach as many people as possible to make this film.
11. JUNE FILMING (£2,538) - Check out our video with the pilot scene!
What you get
We do not take your contribution for granted! If you support this project, each and every one of you will become a valued part of our team. Even the smallest contributions will have their names mentioned on our Facebook page and get a thank you email from the team. We will also send you newsletters about how the film project is going.
With the higher end contributions, you have a chance to join our production team by choosing between Associate Producer or Executive Producer perks.
Want to know more?
Vesarta and Donna talk about where their roots are from and of their experience of being part of Losing Us.
Have a look at this interview with director Teele and actor Harbin where they dig a bit deeper into making Losing Us.
Here is the showreel of our cinematographer Paul Cook.
Other ways you can help
If 2020 and 2021 have been challenging times for you financially, you are not alone. As people in the creative industry, we particularly understand what that may mean.
So if a financial contribution is not the best fit for you, we would be super happy if you can spread the word and share our campaign. You may know people who care about the issues this film talks about or who would like to get involved with our filmmaking team. Please use the share tools and give us a shout on social media.
Thanks a lot! Teele, Lesley and Anton