Traffic Lights

by Ryames Chan in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Total raised £150

£1,460 target 3 days left
10% 7 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 19th June 2024 at 2:00pm

A coming-of-age drama following three young men as they reflect on nostalgia, male fragility, and the immigrant experience in London.

by Ryames Chan in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

THREE LANGUAGES, THREE FUTURES

Traffic Lights 

Traffic Lights is a 30-minute, multi-language drama that explores themes of nostalgia, friendship, and societal stigma surrounding male fragility, as each character grapples with his deepest anxieties for the future. The three main characters will perform in their respective native languages, namely Cantonese, Dutch, and German.

Conceived last September, Traffic Lights has been passionately nurtured by our Head of Department team, as we endeavour to jumpstart this project. This ambitious project serves as a platform for our team to unite our collective skills, allowing us to showcase our artistic visions and sincerely reflect on the nuanced and unspoken vulnerabilities of manhood.

Story Synopsis

In the wake of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, Anderson is sent to England by his parents to pursue his studies. There, he befriends Frans, a troubled Dutch author, and William, a German wedding photographer. The trio shares a London house post-graduation until their paths diverge. As Anderson prepares to leave, he reflects on his life in Hong Kong and imagines the futures of his friends.

Why this project? (From Ryames the director)

This project was initially inspired by my reading of A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara last summer, in which the exploration of vulnerable men and enthralling dynamic of male friendship deeply resonated with me. A few months later when I was in between housing contracts, I stayed in the living room of my friend Michal's place in Southampton for two weeks, where our numerous conversations and debates reminded me of the character dynamic in the novel. This sparked my conception of a film centred around men in their early to mid-20s on the day they move out of their shared house and say goodbye, as they challenge societal norms by discussing their feelings and anxieties with great passion and honesty.

This film holds immense significance for me as it sheds light on the often-overlooked struggles of young men, including issues such as depression and eating disorders. These topics are frequently dismissed or stigmatised in social conversations, despite the alarming rise in male depression and suicide rates in recent decades. Additionally, through its protagonist, Anderson, the film explores the immigrant experience of living in London, particularly referring to the aftermath of the post-2019 Hong Kong protest immigration wave. This aspect hits close to home for our team since all of our department heads are foreigners living in London who have come together to share our personal perspectives. As a Hongkongese immigrant who's grappling with depression and has experience creating documentaries about eating disorders among young men, this film is deeply personal and essential for me to create. Through each character embodying a different aspect of manhood in Traffic Lights, my goal is to facilitate meaningful conversations among younger generations about men's mental health.

Our Vision / Visual References 

Traffic Lights is a film that leans heavily into nostalgia, featuring Anderson's voiceovers that recount the progression of the trio's friendship and William's Polaroid photos that capture their adventures!

Our primary visual inspiration is drawn from the Nouvelle Vague/French New Wave, particularly Godard's works. The experimental nature of their shots greatly resonates with Traffic Lights's episodic exploration of memory, subjectivity, and nostalgia, leading to our decision to incorporate frequent handheld shots and naturalistic daytime lighting.

Additionally, we took inspiration from directors like Noah Baumbach, Wong Kar-Wai, and Wes Anderson, whose films often highlight the dramatic nuances of human interactions. Their distinctive styles also add to the visual and emotional tone of our project, as suggested in the mood board below:

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Test Shoot Screen Grabs (in RAW form)

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We have also uploaded some of the test shoot footage on Instagram and Youtube! You can find the video here: https://youtu.be/w9bkCWn3YuE

About the Team

Ryames Chan - Director/Screenwriter

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Ryames is a Hongkongese screenwriter and director with a Bachelor's degree in Film Studies from the University of Southampton, complemented by ongoing studies in MA Filmmaking at the London Film Academy. Influenced by the creative perspectives of acclaimed figures such as Noah Baumbach, Wong Kar-Wai, and Haruki Murakami, his cinematic endeavours delve into themes of nostalgia, the apprehension of isolation as well as exploration of cultural identity as an expatriate in London.

Chan's inaugural experimental short film, "Sober," made its premiere at the Southampton Film Festival in 2022. Additionally, he directed "The Necessity to Leave" during the Kino Guarimba 2022 film residency in Amantea, Southern Italy, a programme aiming at rejuvenating local cinema.

Nicola Muscolo - Producer/1st Assistant Director

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Nicola is a talented film and video creative producer based in Italy and the UK. He produces mixed visual art with the goal of bringing experimental and avant-garde concepts to a wide audience. He took his first steps in the world of theatre, producing the theatre play “Il Dr. Semmelweis” exhibited at the EuroScience Open Forum 2020 as well as the street documentary Finestre Vive, exhibited at the TACT 2021 festival. After getting a BA in Film Production at Oxford Brookes University, he started working on different projects in film, fashion and social media while blending a concrete visual style with strong concepts.

Bahia Ayos - Cinematographer

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Bahia is an eclectic director of photography based in London with a BA in Film from Middlesex University of London. Originally from Ibiza, her first sporadic pictures explored feelings of alienation similar to Daido Moriyama's. Stylised lighting and subjective expressionism are paramount to her cinematography. 

Her portfolio expands from corporate work for interior design magazines to guerrilla filmmaking in the underground music scene; from cinematography direction for sitcoms to music videos for VEVO, her visuals defend lush landscapes across various formats.

Samantha Wilson - 1st AC

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Samantha is a skilled videographer and cinematographer based in Brighton. Her journey began at Central Film School in London, where she immersed herself in various film projects. Notably, she showcased her talent as the DoP for a horror short that received several awards such as 'Best Local Film' at the Romford Horror Film Festival. She holds a strong passion for anything camera-related and will take on the role of the 1st AC / focus puller for Traffic Lights.

Chi Lu - Production Designer

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Chi is a passionate Taiwanese production designer and horror specialist who holds an MA in Film Studies from Oxford Brookes University. With a feverish dedication to filmmaking since youth, he has made significant contributions to films showcased at prestigious East Asian festivals, including the Golden Harvest Awards and China International Micro Film Festival. Beyond his cinematic pursuits, Chi is also a poet, deeply invested in portraying nuanced connections through both film and literature.

Cast

Alvin Lee (Ho Ching Lee) as Anderson

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Alvin is a Hongkongese student pursuing A Drama and Theatre Arts degree at Goldsmiths, University of London. Alvin’s artistic practices are movement, acting, contemporary dance and performance art. They believe in the ability of the body language to reflect the truth of humans instinctively and subconsciously. Alvin’s artworks engaged in solitude, transcendency, gender and relationships. For their recent works, they participated in the 4th Per.Platform Live Art Festival (HK, 2023), “Tukar Guling”, a performance art work by Tromarama as a performer (HK, 2023), and “Beyond Black and White” as co-creator and performer (HK, 2023).

Arne van der Esch as Frans

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Arne is a Dutch acting student based in Orpington. He embarked on his journey in film at the HKU in Utrecht, where he pursued a Bachelor's in filmmaking while developing skills in animation.  He then began acting during the pandemic and now studies at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London. His past roles include Jaques in Shakespeare's As You Like It, Napoleon in Orwell's Animal Farm, the husband in Eunesco's The Bald Prima Donna.

Jonathan Singer as William 

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Jonathan was born in Berlin, Germany, at the age of 8 moving to Abu Dhabi, UAE where he received a formal training in classical and contemporary theatre at the age of 15 helmed at Brighton College Abu Dhabi. He played a range of characters from Mr. Jones, the cruel farmer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the noble Ross in a samurai adaptation of Macbeth, to the slimy Paris in Romeo and Juliet. As a first professional step into the world of acting, Jonathan progressed his training at Drama St. Marys in Twickenham graduating with BA Acting with honours.

Crowdfunding Goals/Budget Breakdown

We aim to raise £1460 for this project, which will cover:

- equipment rental cost due to our limited access to the university equipment

- production design, costumes, and makeup for us to capture the authenticity of the characters themselves and their shared residence

- transport for crew, cast, and equipment as we aim to cover travel expenses for everyone

- catering for us to keep the crew and cast energised throughout the shoot!

- festival release for us to reach more audience members

- contingencies in case of any unexpected challenges

The budget breakdown chart is also attached below, showing amounts in £:

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Our Gratitude

We would like to thank you as a team for reading our film proposal and for any contributions you make. We have dedicated countless hours to spin the script into pre-production and believe that this project deserves the highest production quality possible!

Your help will make a tremendous difference in the success of the production. If you're unable to donate, we would still greatly appreciate your help by sharing the project with your friends and family so that we can spread the message further. Every contribution, no matter the amount, will put us one step closer to making our collective vision come true, and for this, we are incredibly grateful!


Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£40 or more

0 of 15 claimed

Signed Traffic Lights Polaroid Photo

A prop Polaroid photo of the characters from the film, signed by cast and department heads.

£10 or more

Thank You Credit

Any amount of donation will be included in the Supporter Section of the film's after credits

£20 or more

Digital Shooting Script

A digital copy of the translated shooting script

£25 or more

Screening Ticket

A ticket to the screening premiere of the film

£50 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Signed Traffic Lights Poster

A film poster signed by the entire crew and cast

£100 or more

Thank-you Video from the Crew

A personalised Thank You video from the crew

£300 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Associate Producer Credit

Associate Producer Credit in the After Credits of the film

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