On their final night together before they head their separate ways, three girls enter a nightclub bathroom to escape the eyes of a leering man, only to discover something much worse. As their friendship is tested and secrets are revealed, something sinister watches on.
This film starts off as a comedic banter between close friends which turns sinister as their conversation continues, the underlying reason for it is sexual assault. Sexual assault and the fear of its unpredictability is an incredibly serious topic and something that needed to be reflected throughout the storytelling, something achieved by layering real believable friendships and doses of humour and slotting that into a location which to many women can seem like a safe space, and for a while it is.
The problem with many public bathrooms is that they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing of places, especially nightclub toilets, however we want to lean into this grimy atmosphere by creating a lightly washed, neon-grungy style. With smoke from the fog machines outside mixing with the broken fluorescent lights of the poorly maintained women’s bathroom, creating a familiar unsettling atmosphere and bouncing off of the graffiti covered tiles. Each of the three girls, Dolly Jules and Fern have their own unique and interesting dynamic and personality.
“I’ve lived with these characters in my head for 2 years now, having written them originally for a short back in 2019, and tucked them away for the future once that project fell through. I really love them, and I slightly wish I could be part of their friendship group, but in some ways I already am. Jules, Fern and Dolly were heavily influenced by my own friends, our dynamic, our way of speaking, even our inside jokes. It’s thanks to this, I feel, that these characters truly feel like real people who genuinely do love each other.” – Lily Harris, writer.
JULES: Confident, bulshy, funny, working class, inspired by Kathy Burke and Jayde Adams.
DOLLY: Quietest of the three, humble, non-confrontational, a naturally anxious person, but the strongest of them all.
FERN: Opinionated, confident, passionate, silly, in a sense the leader of the group, the one who ties Jules and Dolly together.
Films within the horror comedy genre often find their comedy in the situation, putting its characters in a ludicrous horror scenario and watching them die in silly ways. However, for this film, since it focuses on such a harrowing real-world threat that could also be quite triggering for certain audience members, the comedy must be handled more sensitively. Thus, in The Cubicle, the comedy will come from funny people being thrown into a terrible situation. Unlike a sitcom or a pure comedy film, here the humour will all be character based, allowing for the darker, frightening moments to carry the emotional weight they need to. This kind of darkly comic tone is greatly inspired by the BBC anthology series Inside Number 9, which has become well known for its fantastic comedy and trademark twist endings. Each episode will usually leave you reeling after you’ve spent the last 30-minutes growing attached to the characters you’ve just seen die in some horrifically thrilling way. Likewise, this balance of comedy and horror suits The Cubicle particularly well, as the comedy makes characters feel relatable and real, and makes the audience grow attached to them, and the horror reflects the terrifying reality of rape culture. Comedy also allows for on screen women to be funny, gross, and realistic, confronting rape culture by making women real people and not just Hollywood eye candy, and forcing a certain type of man to see them as multi-faceted human beings, and not purely sex objects.
Let's start with our Cinematography!
The lighting for this production will take direct reference from works such as Drive (2011) for its high contrast ratio, Euphoria (2019) for the way emotional realism is communicated through the mise- en- scene and Suspiria (1977) with its creation of depth through neon practical lighting. These inspirations will aid our production to achieve a realistic feeling space where the story can unfold. Subtle neon-coloured practical lights will build on the depth of the scene; strips and bar lights will add extra colour variation, much like a nightclub’s bathroom. Also, symbolising the different mindsets of each character, showing they will be going off on their own separate pathways after this final night together. The tonal range of this production will include complementary colours that blend shadows into light, foreshadowing the events that transpire. This film is about female friendships but has an underlying serious tone, thus meaning the colour palette for this project must not distract too heavily from the sensitive subject matter. The use of layered coloured lights will add depth to the visuals and create a more immersive film experience. With the use of practical’s in a controlled studio illusion of this existing world can be attained. This will juxtapose light and the setting against the complex and serious issues raised throughout the course of the narrative. Fog, accented by the florescent lights of the dingy room will build on the unsettling atmosphere bouncing off the designed space surrounding them.
A claustrophobic atmosphere will be revealed to the audience through the intruding lens of the camera. Wide and shallow shots with gimbal free hand movements will follow the characters, with a focus on their emotions, blurring the background emphasising their struggle, almost distorting their state of mind. Due to the parameters of the set build, we will need to take advantage of floating walls and camera traps in mirrors to capture wider shots. Making the space a character, a voyeur as much as the audience is. Establishing shots along with close ups shall reveal emotions between each of the character, body language and subtle queues indicating their hidden motives.
Our Production Design has the biggest budget and here is why:
The set for The Cubicle is inspired in part by the set designs for Inside Number 9, as well as ‘bottle episodes’ of other excellent TV shows, such as the Doctor Who episode Midnight. Since these all take place in one location, the set designers had to be creative with how they made one space dynamic and engaging to watch. Equally, the various different TARDIS set designs within Doctor Who were also a huge inspiration because of how dynamically they’re designed. For example, the 12th Doctor’s TARDIS set, designed by Michael Pickwoad, is multi layered, with a balcony up top and steps leading down to the main console room, then another layer beneath the console with a grate between the two to allow for smoke or light to billow up from below. This layered approach allows for constant movement within scenes, grand broad shots with different characters inhabiting different levels all speaking to each other at once, and interesting light and shadow opportunities for the camera and lighting department. Thus, with The Cubicle set design, I really wanted to afford the actors and other departments as many opportunities for dynamic movement and interesting shot choices as possible, so as to elevate what could be quite a boring, square box of a set.
The set, in its current form, has a rostrum for the actors to walk down a small corridor leading to the two toilet entrances, ladies and men’s. Then, once they open the ladies door, there’s a small staircase around 4ft high down into the main toilets. Within this main set there are a couple of floating walls, and the mirrors double up as camera traps, so there are plenty of ways to get any shot Alice and the camera team desire. Lastly, the roof will be curved to emulate an underground archway, perhaps a repurposed underground railway arch, inspired by the nightclub Heaven in London, as well as some photos I found online of dilapidated railway toilets. This underground aesthetic really emphasises the grotty, claustrophobic feel of the film, and thus, the set. In terms of set dressing, the toilets will be covered in graffiti, which could potentially foreshadow the story or depict hidden messages, sticky floors, outdated tiles, discarded drinks in every corner and fixtures that look like they’re cleaned on a bimonthly basis with nothing more than the light swipe of a wet wipe. It needs to feel uninviting, reflecting the uncomfortableness of the subject matter, as well as my own experiences of nights out in your average British bar or club.
The Costumes and Make Up of our characters:
Since this is their last night out at university before they all graduate, the girls’ friendship group decided to make this final night a true last hurrah and do it in fancy dress. The theme? British icons.
Having each character in a fancy dress costume was a great way to immediately communicate something to the audience about their personality within the first minute of the film. Jules is Noel Edmonds, with a dodgy wig and fake beard. She’s the type of person who puts being funny before everything else, including looking remotely good on a night out. She’s also the type of person who puts a lot of effort into a joke, so she’s gone all out with this costume, and she’s really quite pleased with it, even if no one seems to know who she’s meant to be. Fern is Kim Woodburn, fake tits, over-lined lips and fluffy duster in hand. Fern also loves fancy dress, and equally put a lot of effort into her costume. She spent all day leading up to this gluing feathers to the base of her pink marigolds, and the previous 3 weeks crafting a Cillit Bang costume for her boyfriend, Reece, made entirely of cardboard. She cares really deeply about her friends and so this last hurrah means a lot to her. She’s also the perfect fit for the queen of clean because she has that Woodburnian sense of authority, and a slightly hard edge to her kindness. Lastly, Dolly is Geri Halliwell in her iconic union jack dress. It’s a somewhat low effort version of this look though, she just bought the dress on Amazon and wore some red shoes she already owned. Unlike Jules and Fern, she’s not the biggest fan of fancy dress as she’s not the type of person who loves to stick out in a crowd and be the centre of attention. Nevertheless, she loves her friends enough to at least put in a bit of effort, instead of being that one contrarian who spends the whole evening making a point about how much they hate fancy dress and turning up in a t-shirt.
Now moving onto Sound...
Previously our sound designer and the production sound mixer has worked on several short film productions, these have ranged from horror films with soundscapes focused on an aura of silence to more informational films such as a collection of four short films being made for the NHS focusing on PCD. Using this experience he hopes to be able to create grounded and realistic moments between the friends but also be able to create tension within the more fantastical moments of action. In The Cubicle we plan to emphasise the overbearing sounds of the nightclub and juxtapose them with much quieter and isolating sounds during the tenser horror moments within the film. Wanting to try and build the tension with sound throughout the film, we plan on keeping the twisted uneasy sounds as part of the backdrop, but also to cover up the more violent and aggressive sounds from the other characters within the scene we will use the equally aggressive club music that will be muffled in the background throughout the film to mask the cries and struggling of the girls. To try and create the best soundscape for the club atmosphere Daniel has already reached out to a local club and has recorded the sound of a typical Friday night. Although he won't be able to use the recording (due to the abundance of copyrighted music that we will be unable to licences for) he plans on using it as a reference that he will keep going back to to try and create as realistic sound as possible. We plan on trying to create our own “club Tune” to be used in the background of the film utilizing royalty free and free use beats and loops to create his own track that will fit the mindful, uneasy and aggressive tones on the film where needed while also blending into the background.
Overall we will be trying to create and utilise loads of subtle sound cues that will build up throughout the film to create a realistic and immersive soundscape that will keep the film engaging but hopefully not overpower the film.
The Cubicle is so much more than just a student film. It shines a light on completely different perspective on sexual assault survivors who never reported their experiences, which is the majority, and just want to move on with their lives and not let it affect them. The comedy and banter between the characters contains their repressed feelings and fears, which come out as their conversation progresses and tests their friendship. With your support we are confident that this film will not only be made, but be made in the best possible quality for us to submit to festivals and promote further to spread awareness and, hopefully, change someone's life.
As you can see, 42.1% of our budget is going to go into the Art Department which is building the set in the AUB studio. That way the public bathrooms, where our story is based, will not only look realistic but will also match the vision of our writer as well as production designer, Lily. Upon any updates, cuts and potential expansions we will delegate the extra money to our wonderful cast, as this film is also a conversational piece to the core of which are our three main characters.
Please help us to make our dreams a reality and stay tuned for the results!
Alice is once again returning to the AUB directing helm to tell this important story about female friendship and its trials and tribulations. Having written with the BFI as a part of their residential programme, she has always had a passion for telling unique and interesting stories and can’t wait to bring Lily’s brilliant script to life. Having had previous success with her award winning short Internal Consumption, Alice can’t wait to start working with such an incredible crew to produce a fun, powerful and impactful story.
Writing has been Lily’s passion since she was old enough to hold a pen. She would write stories in primary school workbooks which teachers would pin to displays on the classroom wall, and entered competitions with poems to win everyone in her class a free branded pencil (you’re welcome Cuddington Community Primary School Class of 2012). As a teenager she would write songs that were essentially just bitter unrequited love poems written in a witty way, so that her family would laugh when hearing them, instead of looking worried and informing her school. In her later years she honed her craft more into screenwriting, writing little scripts that would stay on her laptop forever, too embarrassed to ever show anyone her silly jokes, until finally, The Cubicle proved to her that she could actually do this as a career. This script is the culmination of her journey as a writer so far, and she’s incredibly proud to have finally written the story she’s always wanted to tell.
However, Lily has not just one, but two roles on this film, as she is also the production designer for The Cubicle. Her two passions have collided within this project, as the script was written with design heavily in mind. The story is all happening in real time and entirely in one location, so the set design has to be compelling enough to hold the attention of the audience for the full 15-minute runtime. As a result, she has written herself quite the challenge, but one she’s beyond excited to sink her teeth into.
Stacey Vlasyuk is the producer of The Cubicle and is very excited to be working on this project. This is a very important story to tell as Stacey has suffered and seen her friends suffer from sexual harassment/assault. This stays with you and she believes not enough is being done to support and understand the victims. These stories tend to stick in our lives.
Her previous experiences in production department make her a competent and dependant leader. In the film The Graveyard Shift she was producing there was very little budget which left bits to sourcing, improvising and making from scratch. The much bigger short film that Stacey has produced was Sunday Roast when she crowdfunded and lead the project throughout the whole year. The final film has now been selected by AUB to be submitted to Royal Television Society award. She can’t wait to take on a new challenge and seeing this story come to life.
Victoria is the Co-Producer for The Cubicle. At a very young age, Victoria found her passion for filmmaking through books and storytelling, which eventually led her to creating her own short films. Since then, Victoria has studied Media and Film throughout all her school years, and since coming to Arts University Bournemouth she has gone on to both 1st AD and Produce numerous short films throughout her 4 years, gaining a great deal of knowledge in the production area, and hopes to use them to help bring the idea of The Cubicle into reality. This is a story that relates closely to Victoria, having experienced sexual harassment constantly, it is a story she feels needs to be talked about and looked at from a more real and relevant perspective.
Emily will be the director of photography for the upcoming film The Cubicle. During her time at Arts University Bournemouth specialising in cinematography and partaking in a number of projects she has gained a wide of range of experience. Upon reading the script Emily was immediately intrigued and could clear vision the look for the film. With neon club toilet lighting achieved by the talented gaffer Sam Piper and Alice’s unique take on camera movements.
Jason is the 1st AD on The Cubicle, and has also helped Lily throughout the writing process. He wants the film to be made as it deserves to be seen on the big screen. The horror elements mixed with comedy make this film an opportunity too good to pass up, and the underlying messages about sexual assault are really important and highlight an issue we have to address. This is emphasised even further by the relevancy of the nightclub theme and the plague that is drink spiking.
Jason’s interest in film only developed recently. He joined Arts University Bournemouth in 2018, doing a Foundation in Media and Design, initially wanting to focus on photography, but throughout his foundation he was drawn to making short films in group projects. Moving image had that edge photography could not provide, it was fulfilling to be working in a team environment and to watch an idea form into a final product. Since his foundation he has worked on short films with the university as well as personal projects. Jason worked alongside Lily on a feature film last summer as 1st AD. It was a really enjoyable experience, even despite the many red eyed mornings, he felt like he was in his natural environment throughout the production, to be part of a team rewarded him, and it laid a great foundation for his working relationship with Lily. Furthermore, horror is one of his favourite film genres so this project is a perfect fit for him.
Sam is specialising in cinematography, which means he will be working closely with production designers, producers, and directors. His focus for this production will be based around his role of Gaffer; lighting the set and helping bring the Director and DOPs vision to life. Having gaffed on previous productions throughout his education and sparking two award winning shorts he is confident in his own knowledge, happily collaborating throughout the production process. With both his parents having practical jobs, Sam has applied this practicality he has been surrounded by and applies it to realistically discuss problem solving for the most effective results. Sam understands the serious nature of the film and the unpredictability of sexual assault, because of this the core story and narrative will be heavily discussed with the Director, as not to offend or miscommunicate the intended messages to the viewers. Utilising the technologies of his specialist area, physically on and off set, this will allow him to explore different techniques and lighting setups for a more stylistic look. Sam loves being present on set, applying that practicality to lighting through his plans. Based on the subject area of this film, he hopes he can tell an important and meaningful story while also manipulating colours to juxtapose the tonal shift.
Welcome our camera operator, Sam! From a young age he was gifted a top of the range hd jvc camera for his 7th birthday and from that day forward his fascination with film grew and grew, His specialties lie within music videos working with underground artists from his estate and hopes to release his new short for the artist BITTERSWEET Debut album “Serenity” early next year. He's looking forward to working alongside the fantastic crew on this amazing and frankly important film and is immensely eager to implement his unique camera experience on to The Cubicle.
Previously Daniel has worked on several short film productions, these have ranged from horror films with soundscapes focused on an aura of silence to more informational films such as a collection of four short films being made for the NHS focusing on PCD. Within The Cubicle he plans to emphasise the overbearing sounds of the nightclub and juxtapose them with much quieter and isolating sounds during the tenser horror moments within the film. Wanting to try and build the tension with sound throughout the film, he plans on keeping the twisted uneasy sounds as part of the backdrop, but also to cover up the more violent and aggressive sounds from the other characters within the scene he will use the equally aggressive club music that will be muffled in the background throughout the film to mask the cries and struggling of the girls. To try and create the best soundscape for the club atmosphere he has already reached out to a local club and they have agreed to let him record the sound of a typical Friday night. Although he won't be able to use the recording (due to the abundance of copyrighted music that we will be unable to licences for) he plans on using it as a reference that he will keep going back to to try and create as realistic sound as possible. Daniel plans on trying to create his own “club Tune” to be used in the background of the film utilising royalty free and free use beats and loops to create his own track that will fit the mindful, uneasy and aggressive tones on the film where needed while also blending into the background.
Joe is an aspiring film editor and after spending the past year gaining experience as an assistant editor and digital image technician for short films such as STARGAZER and JUNIPER, now feels ready to use his experience and knowledge in his debut as an Editor on The Cubicle. Having a background in Photography and Art, Joe came to AUB expecting to become a cinematographer. However, when Joe first experienced the cutting room, he knew this is what he wants to pursue in filmmaking. Joe is eagerly looking forward to working with the rest of The Cubicle crew to bring Lily’s script to the screen.