Program is a technological thriller following Jean - a young Londoner struggling to lead a normal life. Plagued by insomnia, she spends her waking hours trawling the internet, scanning news articles and gossip tabloids alike, editing unrealistic photos of herself to post on Instagram - pretending all is well.
With the aid of her ‘friends’, her online popularity spirals into a whirlwind, and Jean soon finds she has unknowingly become an ‘influencer’. However, when fate forces her to take drastic measures, she falls down the dark web rabbit hole. Her life soon becomes deeply entangled in the virtual world as she gradually begins to lose sight of what is real, and what isn’t.
Will Jean be able to battle the ‘voices in her head’? Or will she simply become another program?
During the development of Program we have taken inspiration from films such as The Matrix, Ex Machina, Fight Club as well as the popular TV series Black Mirror. We want our short film to be an atmospheric exploration into this digitalised near future, showing the disparity between the contrived virtual world and the disappointing reality.
This inherent disconnect will be reflected in both the production design and cinematography where we hope to develop a distinctive visual style that will encapsulate the themes of our film.
We have also developed a concept trailer which should give an insight into the intended mood and tone of Program. Canary Wharf will serve as the backdrop of our story and in some sense acts as another character. We believe this setting will add production value to our film as it already has the futuristic aesthetic we want to instill within Program.
Through film making we wanted to explore the effects of modern technology and social media on mental health, and the ways in which this new digitalism has become an integral aspect of modern society.
With such technological advancement, data protection and privacy has grown exponentially in importance - our private lives have become an online spectacle, while online advertisements are becoming increasingly tailored to our wants and needs.
The anonymous nature of the internet has led to the creation of ‘fake’ social media; influencers creating an online persona distanced from their real selves. The ever increasing popularity of the ‘influencer’ culture, inevitably, has led to an increase in body dysmorphia, anxiety and depression - especially in young people - with social media being used as a key marketing tool for beauty brands, fashion lines, etc.
Not only can we now flaunt our appearance online, but we can also now voice our political opinions and views on society - by becoming a ‘keyboard warrior’ - without having to face the immediate repercussions of enacting true change. The current climate of political activism is a perfect example of this.
The virtual realm is all-consuming and all-seeing. By producing Program, we wanted to make a statement on the power of the internet and social media, and the unrealistic depictions of lifestyle which may often lead to poor mental health among impressionable young persons.
[Concept Art by Shreya Tanisha]
We are making this film as part of the National Youth Film Academy SetReady course. We are a small team of actors and filmmakers from across the country, aged between 16 and 25. Unlike previous years of the SetReady course, our team is in an unusual spot - with COVID-19 looming over us, we have never met in person and as such have had the challenge of developing our film remotely.
We will therefore meet for the first time in person this August during our shoot in London. We are really looking forward to the premiere of Program which will take place at the Greenwich Odeon.
Your donations will help us make this film the best it can be. The funds we raise will go towards: equipment hire, location permits, transport, art department, marketing, distribution and the hiring of a professional actor.
We will also give 10% of whatever we raise to a mental health charity.
Thank you so much for viewing our page! If you want to help us, financial support is not the only way. You can also follow us on our social media and share it with your friends and family. In that way, we can spread the word and our story can reach even more people.