JOSH PEARCE (17) is an academy level goalkeeper, aspiring to one day live out his dream and play professionally. His father, ANDY (43) a man of few words, struggles with expressing his emotions but has always maintained a close relationship with Josh through their joint passion for football. After a well-earned victory, Josh’s worst nightmare comes true as his gaffer, COACH DAVIS (59) tells him he’s no longer welcome at the academy, because Josh is gay.
As Andy waits for Josh to get changed, he is approached by Sandra, a mum of Josh’s good friend on the team, Louie. When she accidentally tells Andy the news that his son is gay, before Josh has the chance to tell him himself, it spirals a series of enraged and miscommunicated arguments; that cause Andy and his son’s relationship to deteriorate. Whilst Josh slowly becomes more confident with his new identity, he leaves behind his old one that rejected him, along with the glue that bridged the pairs' relationship together. Set in his ways, Andy tries to keep Josh’s dream alive whilst struggling to fix the relationship with his son, making him reflect on his personal priorities and learn how to communicate what he’s feeling or risk losing his son forever.
Orange Peel highlights some of the current issues that lie deep within some parts of the football community. Currently, there are no openly gay footballers at a professional level in the UK, but over 5,000 'heterosexual' professional players in the industry. Yet, there is estimated to be over 1.7 million openly LGB people in the UK, with the figure growing expeditiously each year as more people come out.* 7 in 10 football fans who've attended a match have heard or witnessed homophobia on the terraces.* Many think that this is what deters gay players from coming out or continuing their career professionally in football. This film intends to personalise these figures, enabling the audience to sympathise with a victim of homophobia and see the injustice it causes within football and within their personal life.
Orange Peel sets out to bridge the gap between differences in sexuality and the male professional football world. On that journey, we encounter a relationship between a father and son - a social-realistic slice of life and a relationship which embodies the film. As a director, I am striving for authenticity and deep emotional understanding. Navigating such a new and therefore difficult subject is equally exciting and challenging.
A raw and gritty style, the film captures the everyday with relatable costume and characters we all feel we have met before. The setting is familiar and that of a working-class area of the United Kingdom. The camera is fluid and free to move which allows you to follow the journey of the characters as if it was your own. Blue and beige dominate the colour palette, isolating the characters with wide angle lenses to support this feeling. The sound is dialogue heavy, yet awkward silences creep up on the characters when their communication issues emerge. Editing is clean and the cuts match what you want to see, when you want to see it - again, almost like you are living through the characters.
For the cinematography we're drawing inspiration both from social realist films such as 'Kes' (1996, Loach, K) and 'Ratcatcher' (1999, Ramsay, L), as well as intimate LGBT dramas like 'Moonlight' (2016, Jenkins, B) and 'God’s Own Country' (2017, Lee, F). As the film is set in Britain but deals with quite a sensitive subject matter, we believe this is the best way to go about telling the story. The visual style will be very much grounded in reality, utilising lots of muted colours and handheld shots to draw the audience in as much as possible and make everyone feel the strong emotions Josh and Andy are experiencing.
In terms of the world building in this is film, it is very reserved in the ways of staying close to realism, this is not a grandiose film in terms of Production Design but we intend to visually illustrate the characters as well as support the tones of the scenes these spaces feature in. That comes down to knowing the characters, knowing the script and then putting forward a plan to help fill the background of the narrative.
Andy is a trades person who is a massive football fan. It’s been something he has grown up with his entire life from youth and has been a means of recreation and socialisation. As is typical with the demographics of a trades person, they are a person of habit and routine and care for practicality over aesthetics. This should be seen in the spaces he occupies. His van will function purely to fulfil his needs at work and get him from A to B and his living room and kitchen will be a means for him to put his feet up and relax. They won’t be designed in an elegant way, as Andy will only see the need to put thought into the things that matter to him. This will also pronounce the lack of a feminine presence in the home as Josh’s parents are separated. This will be seen in prop choices, such as basic black photo frames and minimal decoration on bookshelves and counters. Despite being fairly bland, the house will be kept in a pretty good condition considering only 2 people occupy the space. Andy cares very much about his son’s well being, and would hence care about the space's they both share frequently.
This will juxtapose Andy’s Van. The back will be full to the brim with tools and trade supplies that are in an unordered heap in the back of the van. The front having useful things Andy would frequently use on site; a thick coat, a high vis jacket, road maps, a deluxe colour booklet, nails, screws and other small bits and pieces as well as some football dash ornaments and some tacky bumper stickers on the back of the van. This space will need to look as uncomfortable as possible to look at for the viewer as it is uncomfortable for Josh to sit through the ride home when he is dismissed from the club.
Coach Davis is quite a pencil pusher and a narcissistic busybody, as well as a homophobe. Typically speaking that would make him quite a productive coach with an eye for detail, which should be evident in the level of micromanagement he wants to put into the team. His office should be littered with game plans and profiles on all their key players. It will also look like he has driven himself crazy trying to get the best for his team, obsessing over tiny details, leaving trails of paperwork and other clutter surrounding some of the more empty areas of the room. Similar to Andy’s van, we want the audience to have a distaste for the environment Josh sits in, it would be great to communicate Josh’s disgust with the manager by the way he looks over the space.
The basis of Josh’s room is a typical teenager's room whilst also reflecting Josh's character more personally. He has been involved in Football for a long time, he takes his fitness and appearance seriously, he attends school and he’s gay. We want to show that although he enjoys football, he uses it as a means to stay connected with his Dad and that it is a corner stone of their relationship, whilst also highlighting that it's Josh’s life long dream. Scattered around the room will be props to reflect this such as tacky and generic football related props like an alarm clock, pencil case, trophies and other football paraphernalia. To reflect how Andy sees his son, Josh, may still have football related bedsheets, which would be impactful in the closing scene where Andy learns that Josh is no longer a child and should be treated accordingly. The arrangement of Josh's room will be fairly neat and tidy to begin with to show his control over his life initially, making a bigger impact with the audience when his life turns upside down, and his room subtly gets messy.
The costumes in Orange Peel should be clever and deliberate, there are subtle metaphors littered throughout the film for watchers with a keen eye. The costume progression will follow the growth of the characters closely, particularly for Andy, as he comes to terms with his internalised homophobia. Andy's clothes will begin very closed off, with coats fully zipped up with scarves, progressing towards the end as he begins to express himself, his clothes will reflect his openness. Working closely with the director and the producer means that the artful use of colour theory harmonises well with the overall colour palette of the film. Orange Peel is supposed to make you think about the treatment of others, and costume design will help to convey that message.
The editing will be unnoticeable, every cut will be decided on the basis of serving the characters and the story. With the correct rhythm and reveal of information, the edit will appear seamless showing the right shots at the right time. The edit is the place where the perspective of the film is revealed, and in Orange Peel the audience will live vicariously through the characters’ perspectives and journeys.
Orange Peel is a slice of life story that aims to tackle relevant topics which will be conveyed within the sound design. Assembling a collection of sounds to bring the fiction of the film into reality is crucial. As well as providing the audience with a sense of recognition to their own everyday life; making the film a relatable environment. Orange Peel needs to resonate with the audience and make it feel like this situation can and does happen to normal people in normal environments and not just on the big screen.
Hi, I’m Alex Rolph, co-writer and director of Orange Peel. As an ex-academy player coming from the professional football academy system, I will be drawing upon everything I saw and experienced during my playing days to bring beauty back to football films. I feel they have lacked the authentic feel and genuine emotion and I am determined to change that. It is so important to me to tell not only a new story of injustice, but a story of how dads across the country deal with change, acceptance and communicating their emotions. Please help us tell the story and spread the message of the film, in the hope that we can start the ball rolling in bringing change to football’s discriminating homophobia and emotional silence from men of all ages.
Hi I'm Jordan I'm the co-writer and producer of Orange Peel. Film has always interested me and I've been making films ever since I got my first camera when I was 7. Film is a powerful tool, not only does it allow us to escape, it can allow an audience to pause to reflect and learn from what we see on the big screen, as well as be entertained by the story. It is with this purpose that myself and Alex wrote the script. Growing up as a gay man in a hyper-masculine, football enthused household, I was conscious of how hetero-exclusive the sport was. As an outsider to football watching the reaction to the Euros last summer, I became aware of how much bigger these issues within the football environment are, and how necessary a story like this needed to be shared, to begin changing attitudes to football fans to make football more inclusive. Interestingly, with the recent announcement of the first openly gay professional footballer in Australia, Josh Cavallo, this is the perfect time for this story to be heard in the UK. This film highlights lots of other important issues of masculinity, parental relationships, homophobia and identity that I think are all linked together and are present in the football world, for our characters Josh, and Andy. I'm very excited about this project and can't wait to bring it to life!
Hi, I’m Mari, I’m Co-Producer for Orange Peel. I’ve produced a few projects before as well as written scripts and worked in different producing roles both in Estonia and in UK. Just like football, making a film is a team effort, where every person counts. That’s why I love doing film and being a producer. Such wonderful things can happen and will happen if like-minded people who are passionate about film come together and I love being a part of that and watching the project unroll. The older filmmakers used to say they were making dreams. Well, teamwork makes the dream work. I came on board this project because I believe it has a strong message to bring light to the important topics of homophobia, masculinity, and acceptance in society in general. Even though this film tells the story of a young gay footballer, it is part of the bigger picture we, the crew, want to show to the audience.
Hey I’m Pete and I’m the assistant director on ‘Orange Peel’. I was immediately drawn to the script when I first read it as it tells such a compelling story whilst at the same time tackling several important issues in society. I wish I could say I was a football fan myself but due to my unforgivable lack of ability in every sport known to man, it never really appealed. My passion has always been films and as a film student at AUB, it’s great to be in constant collaboration with people who share that same passion. In my free time I like to watch films and go the gym, as well as making my own films with friends. I really look forward to working with such a talented crew on this incredible project.
Hi I'm Joey, I'm the location manager for Orange Peel. I believe the best stories are the ones that draw us in to the familiarity of a certain situation or environment, and then throw in an unknown element that tests the tolerance of the characters. Orange Peel is a good example of a setting we are used to, told from an angle we haven't seen before, and we hope you join us on this endeavour.
Hi, my name is Sara and I am the director of photography for Orange Peel. I am incredibly excited to work on this project! As a member of the LGTBQ+ community, the issues the film tackles are close to my heart. While I have not personally experienced any of the struggles our main character Josh goes through, it is something I know a lot of my friends in the community experience and while it is a widely discussed topic in general culture, last year's Euros showed an obvious lack of awareness of the issue within the sports and especially football scene. Being able to visually tell this story and work with a crew as passionate and diverse as ours is a big honour for me.
I'm Sam Sutcliffe and I'm the One-Man Art Department for Orange Peel. World and Character Building is what I do. It's a very intimate and touching story and I'm going to try and bring that care and nuance to the enviroments I create for this film. Football is an important thing in my dad's life, and is a means to connect with him on a personal level, so this script stuck a chord with me. In my own time, I'm much more better at Video Games and Arts and Crafts than sports, though that's not to say I don't know my way around a football pitch, which is evident by my skills at Fifa. It's very refreshing to work with an open-minded and respectful crew on a film that literally "tackles" social issues. Out of all the films I've worked on at AUB so far, rest assure this will be a "Keeper".
Hi, I'm Cee! Sound is just as impactful on the cinematic experience and storytelling as picture, and the marriage of the two creates something magical. My interest in sound comes from my love of horror films and the creepy suspense created by the smallest noise. I've since worked on several productions in my three years at AUB film production working on my skills to make films that don't just sound good but to bring everything together and create an experience for everyone.
Orange Peel is a very relevant topic in the world and an important topic that needs to be explored and something I feel very passionate about. That is why the film appealed to me from the start and I hope to utilise the sounds to get this topic talked about and heard.
Editing, like every creative department, is all about story. It’s where Alex and myself will see the combined work of our dedicated team come to life as it works together to form a coherent narrative. This film has a strong story grounded in the reality of the day to day life it is set in.
I myself was in this football academy world as a young teen so I immediately resonated with how real the atmosphere felt when I read Jordan and Alex’s script. I look forward to seeing this brought to life in the shoot and get to refine the details with choosing the right cut at the right time. In principle, this story is about a father trying to connect and understand his son. We see most of this story through Andy’s eyes, so translating this to the edit means choosing the right elements to focus on to ultimately sell the arc that his character goes through.
My name is Emily and I am the make-up designer for Orange Peel. Having worked with both Alex and Jordan before, I was very excited when they told me about their film and asked me to join their crew. Currently, I am creating a LGBTQ social media campaign that includes prosthetics and illusion makeup that represent the models’ feelings about their journey of discovering their sexuality. I believe projects like these are very important in creating a more inclusive world. In the future I would love to work in the film industry. This film allows me to further my skills in both traditional screen makeup, as well as SFX makeup by including an action scene with a punch, blood and bruising. I cannot wait to begin making this film.
My name is Cas, and I’m the Costume Designer for Orange Peel. At AUB, I study Costume Design for Performance, and I hope to graduate in June with BA (Hons). I enjoy designing contemporary and fantastical costumes that are pleasing to look at, carefully considering how the clothing will be perceived by audiences. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the subject of this film resonates with me on a personal level. Homophobia is something that every LGBTQ+ individual has experienced, at least once. In mainstream culture such as sports, it is crucial that we have a conversation about how minorities are still being discriminated against. This film will be a step in the right direction – towards acceptance and equality for everyone.
Your donation will help us get our message to as many audiences as we can to begin the conversation about changing attitudes towards homosexuality in sports, specifically men's football. Every donation, big or small will bring it one step further to the big screen, please share this page to spread the word, and follow us on our social media for a follow back!