Choirboy follows 10 year old Jason whose tranquil existence is shaken by the sudden illness of his older and much adored choirgirl sister Dawn. Weeks after her first episode, Dawn has become too ill to sing and hides away in her bedroom where Jason cannot reach her.
Meanwhile their widowed father Brian struggles to cope with Dawn’s deteriorating condition yet he refuses any involvement from doctors, choosing instead to burden himself and the increasingly concerned Cousin Vic with his daughter’s care.
In a bid to reconnect with his sister and continue his family legacy, Jason joins the church choir in Dawn’s stead. But will this reunite the family of three or drive Dawn’s heyday in the choir further behind them, leaving her a jealous ghost of her former self?
Choirboy blends the honesty of social realism with the magic of the musical, in a whimsical portrayal of a siblinghood. Mesmerizing swells of choral song guide Jason through a rural English village, a world held in delicate balance between quaint traditionalism and the realities of contemporary life. Jason is beginning to discover a world of things bigger than himself. In his wide-eyed curiosity, he explores the hallowed arches of the church and the cosy enchantment of Dawn's bedroom alike. This is a film that dwells on the wonder, loss, relief, pain, and hope felt by a young boy. This film is a homage from a brother to a sister, who inspired so much magic in his life.
Put simply - to make and film Choirboy we need your money. £6500 may seem like a lot (and it is in my book!) but in the world of professional filmmaking it is remarkably small. Luckily we have access to university filming equipment and the free-labour of our film student crew which saves us from a humongous cost that other films like ours face. Doubly lucky, all of our funding comes from you, our generous backers with no strings attached other than the rewards we have pledged to you and the assured delivery of a good film. This puts all of us in a likely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus solely on the quality of our film without the concerns like: ‘How will we ever get a decent camera?!’ or ‘How can I appease the demands of this producer and that money-backer without compromising my creative vision?!?!’. Very few films get to be made in this way and I would argue thats one of the greatest reasons to support us. Please support the Arts!
Of the money we raise a significant proportion will be focused towards paying our actors an Equity-approved fee for their work. As mentioned, we feel it is important to support those working in the Arts regardless of what those in our governments may think. Casting is a priority for us - we would rather make a well acted film than a flashy spectacle with no story or emotion. With this money we hope to find actors who can bring our characters to life in a way that resonates with our audience.
Additionally, a hefty challenge faced by our film is the creation of the world of Choirboy: the rural Wiltshire village, the Harbour Family cottage, St. Andrew’s Church, and all the smaller spaces within. Accomplishing this will require funds for Production Design to dress locations and source/create props; as well as Cinematography who must work to effectively capture the world we are building in a way that convincingly puts us behind the eyes of a 10 year old boy.
'I’m Mercer MacWilliam Hughes, the Director!
Sometimes I feel like music is the closest thing we have to magic in real life.
As a trombonist and choral singer, the melodically written, lyrically paced script for Choirboy instantly enchanted me. The dreamy nostalgia of the charming village aesthetic speaks deeply to my upbringing in the green fields of Northern Ireland and I’m keen to delve into the genuine and sincere interactions between siblings that this film explores. This will be an exciting experience for our final year at AUB, and I hope that we can help this precious little film find its place in the world..."
"Hiya, I’m James Fry, the writer of Choirboy.
The nature of lockdown certainly forced each and every one of us to do some introspection – to reflect on the better and brighter days of our past – and accordingly, it permitted me the time to reassess moments from my childhood. Family is truly the most irreplaceable, invaluable resource we’re permitted in life, and I wanted to create a piece predicated on my notions of home, family and community - with the magic of music thrown in for good measure!
I’m also in the very privileged position to producing Choirboy alongside one of my best friends, Billy Cooke. For us this is beyond ideal; both Billy and I have been developing the idea since its inception, so I believe that together we make up the best possible production team to help realise that vision. And with Mercer on as our director, that vision couldn’t be in safer hands.”
“Hello, my name is Billy Cooke.
I’m the Co-Producer of Choirboy alongside my wonderful partner James Fry. Together we form FryCooke Productions - watch out A24! Since coming to study at Arts University Bournemouth I have discovered a passion for Producing, as I realised that the process of supporting a film from its inception to completion was what excited me most about the filmmaking process.
Developing Choirboy with writer James Fry and then director Mercer Hughes has been one of the most creatively rewarding experiences of my life. Seeing it move from conversation, to idea, onto 1st draft, then to 4th Draft and now into tangible production-planning has shown me the incredible reward that comes from continuing to fight for a story you know is great. My only goal now is to do justice to Choirboy on the screen. Luckily, studying at AUB has allowed me to find like-minded people who are as enthusiastic about filmmaking as I am; doubly lucky, most of those people are working on Choirboy, putting the project in the best hands possible!”
“Hi, I’m Alice Tucker, and I am the director of photography for Choirboy.
I am looking forward to working on this film and harmonising with my angelic camera and lighting crew who will all contribute to making this film a hit. I am rarely seen without my trusty camera operator, Maria by my side. After working and growing with her at AUB it only feels fitting that we go out in style together. Reason why I loved James’ script is that it is so deeply rooted in human nature, as a film about the complex bonds between siblings. I can’t wait to contribute to bringing Jason’s world into colour.”
“Hi, I’m Elijah Oakes and I’ll be doing the production and post-sound design for Choirboy.
I knew from the moment I read the script that this story needed to be told, and I’m so excited to help bring this story to life through sound. The film wonderfully explores a sincere sibling story and the role that music plays within their lives in its transcendent ability to say and express things we struggle to. The film will feature a lush rural soundscape where we’ll hear the village church bells, the neighbouring farmlands and the sound of leaves dancing in the wind. These sounds will contrast with the grandeur of the choir resonating throughout the church halls. We’re crafting a mesmerising audio soundscape for this mesmerising film. Prepare for a sound design that explores how enchanting our reality can be!”
“Hi there, I’m Alex Marshall, the Editor of Choirboy.
As pretentious as it sounds, sitting down with all the raw footage is like gazing at an incomplete jigsaw – one with almost infinite combinations. But somewhere in those puzzle pieces is a picture. A picture that draws the viewer into a space where their subconscious is invited to transcend the images being presented on the screen. I aim to harness the reflective state cinema is capable of evoking - to create almost spiritual viewing experience.”
“I'm Ugnė Kriščiūnaitė, and together with Lindsay I will be designing Choirboy.
To me, the script of Choirboy has always felt close to home, bringing back memories of singing in my local church as a child. As the story unfolds, every moment feels fragile and personal, and my goal is to make the viewer experience these emotions with me. We want to transport our audience to their childhood using magical realism, reminding us of our innocent curiosity. As we watch Dawn and Jason, we desperately hope to save their innocence as if it was our own. This project is very dear to me, and I will try my hardest to make it a reality. Thank you for making this film possible.”
“Hi, I’m Lindsay Potter and I’m the co-production designer for the film.
Choirboy intrigued me as a piece because I was able to connect deeply with the themes of sibling bonds and family values. Being framed through the eyes of the youngest child, it links closely to my childhood, growing up as the youngest of three girls. It can often feel isolating not always being listened to or not having everything explained to you when you’re too young to understand. Choirboy’s focus on this point of view felt important to me. I think reflecting the character’s romanticized view on the world through production design will be an effective approach to contribute to the story.”
“Hi, I’m Fiona Andrew, and I'm the costume designer for Choirboy.
My passion for costume comes through in the tiny details that tell the story of who a character is and their story. This is what drew me to Choirboy as I really loved how real the characters felt; how what they are going through would reflect in what they wear and how that would change as the film goes on.”
“Hi! I’m Jack Clark, and I am the gaffer on Choirboy.
Since starting at AUB I have nurtured a passion for cinematography. For me the draw to cinematography was the ability to introduce visual poetry into any given scene, something myself and our cinematographer Alice Tucker are striving to create. Choirboy pulled me in with its heart-warming story of 2 siblings which sit at the centre of this film. As gaffer I’m looking forward to working with our talented lighting crew to bring light into Jason’s story.”
“Hi. I’m Rosie Wright, Choirboy’s 1st Assistant Director.
I am on the producing specialism at AUB, and I have a passion for seeing a project through right from its inception to the final edit. I was drawn to this project as I used to sing in school choirs growing up so this brings back nice childhood memories for me. My aim for this film is to keep everyone on track to get shooting done in a timely manner. I’m so excited to work on Choirboy!”