Member News December 12, 2016
by Lauren Festa
Crimson is a unique film, set in 18th century China, about female pirates. It follows a young Chinese prostitute who takes an opportunity to better her life by joining a pirate fleet, but her older sister forces her to leave her daughter behind in the brothel. We watch Crimson return to her sister’s brothel and fight for the custody of her daughter. Crimson’s origins in a Chinese brothel are loosely based upon the true story of Ching Shih, so the story takes place in the late Qing Dynasty in China. Chloe Brown and her crew are working to bring this ambitious pirate film to life, and that of course costs money. They’ve turned their efforts to Crowdfunder, and making a monetary contribution is as easy as a few clicks. Until December 15th, do good in this season of giving and support the arts.
As per the directors testimony in the campaign film, we found this story fascinating-romance, deception, and of course an ambitious set design. How did the idea come about and how did you get involved?
This idea actually came from myself and my producer, Amber Ryder. We wanted to write a script about a fierce, female pirate, initially aimed at a family audience. The Chinese element came into the script and became a lot darker and more mature when we began to collaborate with our director, Dorothy Kay. She wanted to base it on some historical truth and told us about Ching Shih and Amber and I reworked the script. It took a completely new form but I honestly believe the story is the strongest it could be thanks to the alliance and exchanging of ideas between the three of us.
Have you worked on films of this type/scale before? what’s the most thrilling part about it?
I have worked on short films before in various art department roles and production roles- last year I designed a film which shot in Bridport in Dorset, England and had to make it look like Oakland, California which proved very challenging, however I think Crimson will be an even bigger but also more exciting challenge! During our research, we found out that a lot of Chinese prostitutes in the Qing Dynasty would have been trafficked from many different countries- particularly from the Middle East. We were also influenced visually by the style of films set in the European rococo era so we really want the aesthetic of the film to harness all of these multicultural influences- this part is the most thrilling for me. I’ve also never collaborated with visual effects on such a large scale before so this is a challenge I’m very much looking forward to, as I believe the relationship between visual effects and production design is absolutely fundamental to creating a coherent visual style and I’m learning a lot from our VFX guru Henry Medhurst already! I’m also really excited to dress and shoot some of the scenes which take place on a pirate ship which will be aboard a real ship!
What has been the most challenging part about making this a reality?
The most challenging part about this film in regards to production design will probably be keeping the film historically and geographically authentic whilst also expressing a creative and unique visual style. For the general production of the film the sword fighting sequence and shooting on a pirate ship are likely to be very challenging for the entire crew, especially our producer, director and first AD.
What are the most pressing needs in terms of funding for the film?
To accurately and respectfully present the Qing Dynasty on screen, the most pressing needs in terms of funding are for art department and make up and costume. We will be building the brothel where the main action swordfighting sequence will take place and we also need to hire out a pirate ship. We have a fairly large number of actors to be dressed in either authentic pirate costumes or traditional Chinese clothing, which our costumer designers will be making from scratch so their financial requirements are important too. We hope to be shooting on the TS Phoenix which is an absolutely stunning location-but it isn’t free! We are really eager to create an original and unique aesthetic and The characters in this film require very specific and captivating performances from the lead actors and preferably who are either trained in combat, martial arts and/ or dance so a lot of pressure is on getting the cast absolutely perfect to bring the story to life.
With only one week left, tell us why ADC members and beyond should donate to help see this film come to life?
To our knowledge, this is the only swashbuckling film to feature two female leads. This is an extraordinary opportunity to get involved in this unique, dynamic and thrilling story but we can’t do the story the justice it deserves without the budget we need to bring the setting and characters to life. With only a few days left until December 15th, we still have over $2500 to raise on our Crowdfunder-if we reach that target we still have over $6000 to find funds for. If you are able to donate after the Crowdfunder is over please contact us via our Facebook page.