For the past few years, Charlotte has been dutifully caring for her husband, whose advanced Alzheimer’s has been making their lives increasingly difficult. Throughout their many years together, her love, care, and affection have never wavered, but following a medical emergency, she is forced to put her husband into short-term care.
It is over the next few days that our story takes place. As Charlotte finds herself without her husband for the first time in years, her son, John, pays her a visit to keep her company. We follow the pair over the weekend as John tries to make his mother see the impact that caring for her husband is having on her. Their conversations grow increasingly tense as the two’s opinions on what to do appear to be starkly different from one another, and Charlotte is forced to confront the reality of her husband’s future in her care.
Why we want to tell this story
The story and characters of 'Respite' are drawn heavily from the experiences of our writer and director, Joe. Here is a statement from him explaining this in his own words:
“'Respite' was born out of my own memories and reflection of my late grandfather's battle with Alzheimer's disease and my grandma's experience of caring for him. I remember being struck by the fierce love and care that she showed him, even as he faded further and further from any resemblance to the man with whom she had spent her life. I felt that it was this narrative – that of the reluctant caregiver – that offered us a fresh and authentic window into this subject.
“Taking place quietly over the course of a few days, my intention in telling this story is to capture the stillness of our central character’s life, not allowing its form to create any distraction or barrier between the audience and the human drama. Our visual style will pair soft naturalistic lighting with a gentle palette of greens and browns, twinned with patient, transparent cutting choices. We hope that this will culminate in an immersion that encourages viewers to focus in closely on a character who represents the love and duty that is the reality for countless families around the world.”
As part of the fundraising goals for our film, we’ve partnered with Alzheimer’s Society, and we will be donating 10% of the amount that we raise* to support their work.
Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity working tirelessly to challenge perceptions, fund research and provide and improve care and support for anyone affected. They offer support services and education, and they are currently investing more money than ever into funding dementia research.
Alzheimer’s Society provided support to Joe’s family when they needed it and we want to use this as an opportunity to not only honour his family’s story, but also to support the work of the people who helped them and countless others around the country. By supporting Alzheimer’s Society we are contributing to their ongoing efforts to fight dementia and improve the lives of those going through it.
*after Crowdfunder fees.
Why we need your help
We’ve already got a brilliant core team, a script that we love, and access to great, high-end equipment, including an ARRI camera kit thanks to the University of Portsmouth. But to make our film, there are many additional costs that we need to cover, including our cast, location, transport, accommodation, and catering.
Our two biggest expenses are our actors and our location. Our story is an emotional one, and to tell it right requires believable, skilled and experienced actors. On top of that, the majority of our film takes place in Charlotte’s family home. Finding the right house was paramount, as the right location would be able to tell the story of a life lived in it, and that’s exactly what we’ve found. These two aspects of our film are absolutely vital to telling this story in a way that serves it in the best possible way.
Our current goal of £4,500 is the minimum amount we need to raise in order to make 'Respite', and to donate to the brilliant work of Alzheimer’s Society. The more we raise, the further we can take our vision, and the more we can give back to the community.
Meet the filmmakers
Joe Stringer - Writer/Director Joe is a writer/director with a track record of executing high quality short films and music videos. With a passion for evocative visuals and strong human characters, his work has exhibited on tours, online and in festivals around Europe. Aside from this, he works as a freelance Assistant Director on features, commercials, and shorts. ‘Respite’ is a deeply personal project for Joe, and he is excited to bring the film’s story and characters to life.
Susannah Creasy - Producer Susannah is a producer who has worked on a number of short films including a selection of short documentaries. She brings with her a strong sense of narrative, and a head for organisation, as well as her passion and commitment to finding and telling meaningful stories on screen.
Cristian Necula - Cinematographer Cristian is a cinematographer whose credits include work on short films, music videos, commercials, and most recently as a camera trainee on a feature film. Combining a strong understanding of narrative filmmaking with the visual sensibility of a stills photography background, Cristian brings a wealth of skills and experience to the team.
Seb Stone - Sound Recordist Seb is a sound recordist with experience working on multiple short films. His expertise in audio recording and mixing, and a strong passion for sound design and sound art, will allow him to capture clean, crisp audio on set to complement the visuals of 'Respite'.
Adam Hovell - Editor Adam is an editor with a range of experience in post-production, spanning from short films to freelance and commercial work. He will be responsible for sculpting the audience’s experience of the film and its characters. He’s excited to bring his instincts for seeking out a story’s drama into the cutting room.
Risks and challenges
Filmmaking always comes with its own unique risks and challenges, but in 2021 there are extra safety precautions that we need to put in place. With the rollout of the vaccine in the UK, and the huge downturn of COVID-19 cases, we are hopeful that by the time we come to film in April, the UK will be in an, overall, much safer position. This does not, however, lessen our responsibility to conduct our set in as safe and conscientious a way as possible. Before stepping foot on set, our crew will have already completed the ScreenSkills Coronavirus Basic Awareness training. As well as this, food on set will be single serve only, PPE will be provided for those who cannot bring their own, there will be regular sanitising, and we will have a Covid Supervisor on the shoot to ensure that everyone is adhering to guidelines set out by the government.
Other ways you can help
Thank you for taking the time to read our campaign. We hope that you would like to join us on this journey! If you can, please consider contributing – every pound really truly helps us out.
Thank you from the 'Respite' team!