Differences Aside

by Ashleigh V. Powell in Poole, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 15th December 2018 we successfully raised £3,945 with 118 supporters in 30 days

Set in the midst of the UK's AIDS crisis, a young lesbian finds herself caring for a dying adversary when everybody else has abandoned him.

by Ashleigh V. Powell in Poole, England, United Kingdom

Our film is set in the midst of the UK's AIDS crisis, when a young lesbian finds herself caring for a dying adversary when everybody else has abandoned him.

Set in 1987, London, Differences Aside is the story of a young separatist lesbian who finds herself in the unexpected position of caring for a gay man dying of AIDS. Debbie finds herself battling ignorance, discrimination and her own political and personal views, when faced with the impossible dilemma of being David’s last remaining ally. Inspired by countless true stories, Differences Aside is a short period drama with the aim of shedding a light on the selflessness and bravery of the real women who sacrificed and supported gay men with AIDS all of over the world during the HIV crisis.

The height of the AIDS crisis was a truly cataclysmic, and formative period of time for the LGBT community. Differences Aside aims to tackle the epidemic from a new perspective; a lesbian’s perspective. Our protagonist Debbie, though fictional, is representative of a myriad of different women. These are women that made sacrifices in all aspects of life, and adapted their ways to fight a disease as best they could. 

Throughout the film, Debbie struggles to balance her personal and political worlds, whilst trying to care for David, who is dying from AIDS.  With a habit of being unreliable and irresponsible, the real essence of the story is whether or not Debbie has the strength, and the self-confidence, to do what needs to be done in order to make a change in her community.


The initial idea for the script came from our wonderful head of social media Lauren Faulkner, when she told me about the many lesbian women who made huge sacrifices to help gay men with AIDS during the 80’s/90’s.  The story really stuck with me and opened my eyes up to such a fascinating, and pivotal aspect of lesbian/queer history, which I ashamedly knew little about. The script itself has adapted and changed in many ways since that first conversation, but through all of the research I have undertaken, one thing has become clear; these women changed our history, and their stories have gone largely undocumented and unappreciated.  My aim with the film is to create a piece of work that not only informs the audience about the past, but that also resonates with them and opens people’s minds to a new perspective.


My main influences for the cinematography of this film are deeply rooted in the art of the era; a vibrant, dichotic and extremely powerful time in fine art that showed the stark division within the country during the 1980s.

My visual inspiration for the film is mainly sourced from the classical works of Rembrandt; his visual style and use of light within his many masterpieces is a strong influence on my lighting style, and I hope to combine these two forms of art into some powerful images for the film.


Ashleigh is a Producer from North Wales and has an impressive repertoire of producing experience, both in the UK and abroad. With an interest in producing for music, fashion and fiction industries, Ashleigh has had her work shown at a number of venues, including the London Fashion Graduate week, Shorts on Tap and Roundhouse Pictures. Working with Ellie in the past, she has also produced two award winning fictional shorts, "CRUSH" and "GLORIA". Alongside her work in producing, Ashleigh has been made an associate artist of Exeter Phoenix, ‘The South West’s foremost multi-art venue’. With her strong network of industry connections, and a detailed knowledge of every department, Ashleigh will ensure that the production of Differences Aside runs smoothly from start to finish.

Favourite Film: Carol (T.Haynes, 2015)


Janet is a third-year film student from Nairobi, Kenya. Her interest in cinema sparked when she joined her school’s drama club at the age of 13, this gave her the opportunity to not only perform in short films and plays but to also assist in other areas of pre-production. In 2015, she received an acting certificate from the Africa Film and TV Talent Resource Centre after training with acclaimed Kenyan actor Gerald Langiri. Later that year, she participated in the African Jersuit Scriptwriting competition –  aimed at raising awareness on the stigma surrounding people with HIV/AIDS – and was crowned the overall winner in the continent. Prior to joining AUB, she interned as a production assistant for multiple independent film companies in her country and has since worked with other companies in England, including 42MP and Lionsgate UK. Over the past 2 years, she's collaborated on various projects as a Producer, Director and Writer; many of which have gone on to be selected for festivals around Europe and Africa. She is confident that, given the chance, this film has the potential to change mindsets of people all around the world; teaching them to spread love and put their Differences Aside. 

Favourite Film: Victoria (S. Schipper, 2015)


Ellie is the writer and director of ‘Differences Aside’.  Having spent almost a year immersing herself in the world of this story and its characters, and researching extensively into the period, she is well equipped to bring the script alive through the medium of film.  Previously, Ellie has written and directed two fictional short films, Dissolution and Does Your Mother Know. She is also a member of the producing team for the independent production company Vast Productions, having produced two ambitious short films, CRUSH and Gloria, alongside Ashleigh in the last couple of years.  As well as her experience in writing, directing and producing, Ellie was the director of photography on the award winning web series ‘Away From It All’. For 2018 Ellie has been made one of the Associate Artist of Exeter Phoenix , the South West's foremost multi-arts venue. With a broad knowledge of these different filmmaking disciplines, and a genuine passion and connection to the story, Ellie hopes to create a film that connects to as many people as possible, and sheds a light on a topic that deserves discussion and recognition.

Favourite Film: Hounds of love (B.Young, 2016)


Working in film and television since 2013, Ben has worked across a variety of productions developing a unique style visible throughout his films. From big television programmes such as BBC’s The Hollow Crown to music videos for emerging artists, documentaries and short narrative films. Ben’s aim with Differences Aside is to bring the reality of the AIDS crisis in Britain to a modern audience with all the grit and horror that the time held in the public consciousness, and striving to better represent the lives of those living through it with an intimate cinematic style, demonstrating the complex humanity that Differences Aside weaves into its characters.

Favourite Film: Apocalypse Now (F. Coppola, 1979)


Imasha Ediriweera has been enthusiastic about the Arts from a very young age. She believes a lot can be said by the art and placing of objects that can’t be fully expressed by characters themselves. She has been passionate about the art of Production Design for the past four years and has produced shorts such as, Hikikomori (2018), a Japanese drama and Dig Another Grave (2018), a thriller set in the 1970’s. This passion for design and period  films is exactly what inspired her to work on this film. Some of her work can be viewed at www.imashaediriweera.com

Favourite Film: The King’s Speech (T.Hooper, 2011)


This is our Art Director Luke, he has a keen interest in how Production Design can be used to unknowingly guide you through a world by applying both a sense of space and ambiance. His artistic style and experience building and dressing sets on short films such a Parturient and Karkinos will become invaluable during our pre-production phase and to the films overall image.

Favourite film: Drive (N.W. Refn, 2011)


Chris is a creative, hands on filmmaker with a keen insight into production design, focusing on creating and enhancing locations to convey the emotion and style within film. With a variety of design and construction techniques under his belt and experience in working on a selection of professional productions ranging form short film to advertisement, Chris aims to use this skill set to help bring ‘Differences Aside’ vision to life. 

Favourite Film: Inside Llewyn Davies (Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, 2014)

Ana Andrades Millar has specialised in editing for over 5 years. In 2014 she achieved the award for best documentary from UK TV, for a project that she directed, filmed and edited on her own. Ana has explored all genres of film, from editing documentaries to adverts to fiction films. Her favourite genre being in the music field due to the creative freedom she’s able to express. A slight perfectionist, she will never abandon or present an edit unless she feels it has reached its maximum potential. In addition to editing, her interests lie in cinematography and aesthetic distortion such as corrupting data.

Favourite Film: Spirited Away (H. Miyazaki, 2001)


Sam Elphick-John is our sound recordist, designer and mixer. Usually working in editing he has recently rediscovered his passion for sound & how impactful it can be regardless of its subtleties. In 'Differences Aside' Sam will be creating most of the sounds from scratch, hoping to create an immersive soundscape by taking influential  films and music from the era and creating a distinctive yet recognisable sound for the film.  

Favourite Film: Eraserhead (D.Lynch, 1993)


Charis has worked on several films, including 'Gloria', 'Does Your Mother Know' and 'Op Dough', and has also styled for a number of photoshoots. She is especially interested in period design, having portfolio pieces ranging from the Tudor era to contemporary.

Favourite film: Moulin Rouge (B.Luhrmann, 2001)


Ili Newson is a Hungary and UK based Freelancing Makeup Artist. She’s worked at Filmefex Studios - where she assisted the Team on projects such as NBC’s Emerald City (2017) and other commercials. Alongside this, Ili has helped create lifelike dummies to explore her talents working with foam, resin and silicone.  She moved to the UK in 2016 to attend University to learn more about special effects and prosthetic makeup. After her first year at university she did work experience with Cinemax on the British drama series Strike Back and on the French Film, Budapest (2018). Since then she’s worked on the third season of the BBC and Netflix TV series The Last Kingdom. An opportunity which allowed her to work on a more regular basis with P.A.M, special effects makeup shop at IMATS, UMAE and Birmingham Prosthetic Event. She also attended a wig making course at Pinewood Studios in the summer of 2018. Her interests are quite broad but her focus now is mainly on Straight Hair and makeup and prosthetics TV and Film.

Favourite Film: Fight Club (D. Fincher, 1999)

Now that we have a finished script, a fantastic crew, and a detailed production plan.... all that's left is the money to make things happen! We won't bore you with the ins and out's of our budget breakdown, but it goes without saying that nothing comes for free, and that's why we need your help to create this film. 

Our main costs: 

  • - One ambitious 1987 hospital set build, including a reception/waiting area, phone booths, and a ward 
  • - Two other period locations, with all the dressings to match 
  • - Three professional cast members to bring the story to life 
  • - Specifically designed Costume and Makeup for our wonderful cast 
  • - And a big chunk of all the fun things like transport, cast accommodation, copyrights and music


Here's how you can help: 

- Donate to our Crowdfunder page. Whether its £5 or £500, your contribution will go directly to the production of the film and enable us to make our idea's a reality

- Help us to spread the word, that could be by sharing this Crowdfunder, any of our social media's, or just telling your friends. A little goes a long way! 

On behalf of the whole Differences Aside crew, we sincerely thank you for your interest in our film. Please give our Facebook and Instagram a like, so that we can share our journey through production with you. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more


A small donation goes a long way. Help keep our amazing crew going on set! A well fed crew is a happy and productive crew

£10 or more


See the film before anyone else! We will send you a private link via Vimeo once the film is complete so that you can see it before it hits the festival circuit.

£20 or more


Get all of the above and a Digital copy of our Storyboards

£35 or more


A special thank you, and your name in the credits of the film + All of the above

£50 or more

2 of 20 claimed


We will send you a copy of our differences aside Zine created by our very own Lauren Faulkner, which will contain details on the crew, the films history, the people who inspired us and much more! [Booklet size A5] + DIGITAL COPY OF THE FILM

£75 or more

0 of 20 claimed


Join us in celebration at the screening of the finished film with all the crew members and a glass of bubbly or beer. [Screening to take place in Bournemouth] + All of the above

£100 or more

3 of 5 claimed


Our amazing Illustrator CYMK will draw a portrait of YOU! (Upon request - via. email [email protected]) + All of the above

£250 or more

0 of 8 claimed


We want to give back to you for helping us! Receive an Associate Producer credit and a special shout out for your business, or even a self-promotion of your work! + All of the above

£500 or more


You will receive an Executive Producer credit for your support on our film. + All of the above

£1,000 or more

0 of 2 claimed


Our amazing Co-Producer Janet Njau will sweep you off your feet on a date for 2 at her favourite local Carvery. Don't worry about picking up the bill she's got you covered... [Offer applies in the UK only] + All of the above

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