Our film is a dark comedy drama short, exploring grief, healing...and the surprising role Tupperware can play in addressing a difficult family rift.
We’re developing the script now with our brilliant cast, and plan to film over a weekend in early summer 2021.
We want to inspire women and girls to develop stories that mean something to them, and work together to change the culture in our industry. The Time's Up movement highlighted the inequalities and exclusions we've all faced in our work. Now it's time to build the alternative.
WHY DO WE WANT TO MAKE THIS FILM?
In our combined 50+ years in the screen industries, Producer Penny Davies (co-owner of Smashing Pictures), Director Shiona McCubbin and Writer Amy Hawes have NEVER worked on a project with a female-only cast and crew. For Maureen, we're assembling a talented team, to explore how and if a set runs differently when women work exclusively together. The finished film will be submitted festivals in the UK and beyond - we can't wait to sit in a cinema and watch it with an audience!
Behind the scenes photos from some of Shiona's previous TV work...Director's hat not mandatory, but definitely a recurring theme!
There have been positive changes in our industry, but as women on set, we still find ourselves in the minority too often. We agree with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media - their trademark is 'If She Can See It, She Can Be It'. Events of the past twelve months have undoubtedly hit women the hardest, and could set back all the progress we've made in recent years, unless we do all we can to create safe and inclusive workplaces where we can all learn and grow.
WHY A FEMALE ONLY TEAM?
We want to change the perception that as a female, it's only possible to work in certain roles on a film set. It's beyond time these barriers were removed, and that'll only happen if we challenge expectations ourselves. In making this short film, with a close-knit team who all want to make work more inclusive, we'll make it clear that if you identify as female, you can choose to take on any role on a shoot, in front of or behind the camera, and build a successful, long-lasting career in your profession of choice.
HOW WILL WE FILM OUR STORY? IS IT SAFE TO DO SO?
We'll be working with a professional crew, who all have experience of following industry and government guidelines for Covid-19 safety at work. Everyone on our set will take the ScreenSkills Coronavirus Awareness on Production training course that has become an industry standard, and any risks will be carefully assessed ahead of filming. We will only go ahead with our shoot at a time when we're very confident we can all work safely.
AND WHY THIS SCRIPT?
Maureen has been written with the current safety standards for filming during Covid-19 in mind. We have a cast of two, who are able to remain socially distant throughout the film, mainly working outdoors, while still maintaining the integrity of the story.
Sadly, all too many people have experienced grief and loss since this time last year, and we feel this story may both offer comfort, and a much-needed glimpse of humour. It's never healthy to simply push aside subjects that make us feel uncomfortable - they don't just go away when we attempt to do that. Humour is as effective a way of dealing with emotion as drama, and this script has strong elements of both.
SO WHAT'S THE FILM ABOUT, THEN?
Here's a brief synopsis, without revealing too much...
Maureen's ashes have gone missing from her widower's nursing home, and daughter Niamh can't find them. Her Auntie Liz has been acting strangely, and not returning phone calls. Finally answering, Auntie Liz admits the bizarre truth: she stole the ashes.
Niamh sets up a summit on a park bench to get the ashes back, but Auntie Liz has other ideas. Maureen gave them both a lifetime of heartache, and it's their right to commemorate her how they each see fit. Can Niamh and Liz leave all that behind, and start to look ahead to better times?
Some images of our potential filming location...amazing view from that bench!
WILL WE BE ABLE TO SEE THE FINISHED FILM?
Definitely! Once we've completed our post-production in July, we will be entering the film into festivals like Underwire, which actively supports and promotes the work of female filmmakers. We'll give everyone who supports Maureen a special private link to watch the film online before it appears anywhere else, and we'll update you regularly on any screenings, wherever in the world they take place.
WHO IS WORKING ON MAUREEN?
Amy Hawes - Writer
Amy Hawes is an award-winning Glasgow-based TV writer, playwright and trainee primary teacher. She was the sole writer on two RTS award-nominated BBC Bitesize series in 2019. Amy's first short film, Falling for Fitzgerald, won a BAFTA New Talent Award in 2012.
Amy spent ten years working in TV (researching and later assistant producing) on over 25 shows, including Hollyoaks, Dispatches, Down on the Farm, Saturday Mash Up and River City. She is also a writer and founding member of Tandem Writing Collective, a theatre company with regular shows in Edinburgh (Traverse Theatre) and Glasgow (Tron Theatre). Amy has a degree in English Language from Edinburgh University and a masters in Television Fiction Writing from Glasgow Caledonian University.
Amy's IMDb credits: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4314470/
Shiona McCubbin - Director
Shiona is an award-winning Glasgow based director/producer/ artist and cookie maker. After a degree in Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art, she started at STV as the first ever female stagehand, sweeping floors and making fake whisky on Take the High Road.
She has numerous Director credits, including 64 Episodes of the BAFTA-winning Balamory, River City, Logan High, No 1 Newton Avenue, Junk Rescue, and BAFTA nominated The Insider’s Guide to the Menopause with Kirsty Wark.
Shiona’s previous short films “How High the Castle Walls” & “Goodbye Happy Ending” were screened at many festivals in Germany, Italy, Canada, the US & the UK. She has also worked as a video artist for the National Theatre of Scotland, Untitled Projects, Suspect Culture and had a solo exhibition at the CCA in Glasgow.
Shiona's IMDb credits: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0567070/
Penny Davies - Producer
Penny is an Edinburgh based Producer, and one half of new production company, Smashing Pictures. Penny and co-owner Simone Pereira Hind set up SP in July 2019, after being selected to produce Consumed, a short fiction film, funded by Screen Scotland. The film premiered in the Scottish Competition at Glasgow Short Film Festival in March 2021. Penny and Simone have a particular interest on working with new talent, and are now concentrating all their efforts on bringing Maureen to life.
Penny is an experienced producer of short content for Film and TV, and has numerous credits as an Assistant Director, Production Manager and Line Producer. She was selected to participate in BFI Network x BAFTA Crew as a Producer in 2021.
Penny and Shiona first met in 2018, working together on the second series of CBBC/iPlayer teen drama Logan High, shot in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Penny's IMDb credits: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1170189/
We have a SUPERB cast lined up to play Auntie Liz and Niamh in our film! Keep checking back here for a big announcement very soon. It's a real privilege to be working with two fabulous (and very recognisable) Glasgow-based actors on this project...more news to come!!
WHAT WILL THE MONEY RAISED BE USED FOR?
Our filming will take place in Glasgow over two days, and we'll be doing everything we can to keep our costs down, while still making a really enjoyable film, with excellent performances and on-screen production value.
We will need to pay:
Without giving too much away, we may also need to hire some special kit to recreate a rain effect for an important scene - yes really, in Glasgow!
A number of our previous colleagues have generously agreed to join us to bring this film to life. We're so appreciative of their time, energy and talent, and we'd love to be able to compensate them with something - other than our enormous gratitude, and of course more delicious lemon cookies than any one person should probably consume! Your support will go a long way toward doing that.
Come for the filmmaking...stay for the baked goods!!!
We appreciate this year has been difficult financially for many people - including our many freelance colleagues who received little support while we were unable to work. If you're not in a position to donate, but support what we're hoping to achieve with the film, please do share this page with anyone who may be able to help.
We'd also love to encourage established companies to consider sponsoring a female trainee on our film. Please do contact us via our social media to learn more about our plans.
We're also really pleased that our project is part of the Creative Scotland Crowdmatch:
We are 1 of 20 shortlisted creative projects in Scotland - that have the opportunity to win a share of £75,000 in match funding, up to £10,000 per project.
All your contributions bring us closer to our goals - making a fantastic film, supporting women to develop and grow in our industry, and sharing both the finished film and our experiences making it with as wide an audience as possible.
Thank you in advance - we can't wait to share the finished film with you!
Amy, Shiona, Penny...and everyone involved in Maureen.