WARNING - THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS DISCUSSIONS ON DOMESTIC ABUSE AND ADULT THEMES THAT SOME READERS MAY FIND UPSETTING.
Brilliant fresh minds brave enough to tackle serious social issues are an important part of the future of film making and these young film students from the UK are tackling one of society's most delicate subjects in their final year project.
Sanctuary is a psychological/gothic horror film shaped by unflinching testimonies of domestic abuse and violence against women. The film follows a dissociative married woman named Caitlin, who is tormented by warped and decayed manifestations of her suppressed trauma as she attempts to piece together the truth behind her relationship with her husband. One such manifestation includes a horrific doll-like construct of limbs and torso that is seemingly imprisoning her within her own home. Caitlin becomes increasingly aware that she has been trapped inside a delusion that her husband has manipulated her into believing is real and that her actual existence is a tragic nightmarish prison.
A condition that many abuse victims have reported is being unsure as to their own minds - an activity used by abusers commonly known as Gaslighting where their focus begins to doubts their own reality and their recollection of certain events. Caitlin ultimately questions whether her husband really is abusive and if he has manipulated her into believing that he is not.
Who is the real Caitlin and can she regain control of her identity?
The people behind Sanctuary are a small team of university students from Solent University in their final year of studying Film & Television and is their final project for the course, intended to be a graduating piece and their breakthrough into the industry. Callum Tomalin is the writer and director for the film. He has forged Caitlin's unnerving but poignant story and is committed to guiding the project to its fullest realisation and treating the subject matter with the right amount of respect. Lewis Partoon is the cinematographer and one of the editors for the project. Using creative and technical skills, Sanctuary will be brought from the page and into life on the screen. Enio Pais is the producer for the project. Thanks to his tireless efforts, he'll be managing the behind-the-scenes and logistics to ensure production runs smoothly. The rest of the crew are assembled of both Solent University students and professionals in the field, ranging from assistant editors to the composer of the soundtrack.
Lewis tells us, "Sanctuary explores taboo subjects such as domestic abuse, traumatic memories, and the struggles of overcoming an abusive relationship. Our aim is to tell a harrowing but introspective story about domestic abuse through subtextual imagery that conveys the feelings of lingering grief and trauma abuse victims are often left to come to terms with."
Sanctuary is being produced through crowdfunding and the team hope to take the finished film to various festivals. If you wish to help fund Sanctuary and give these brilliant creatives the please consider donating at their Indiegogo page HERE.
There are a host of incentives even including an appearance in the credits as an Associate Producer!
If you've been affected by any of the subjects in this article, there are many organisations set up especially to provide support and advice.
In the UK, please call the Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk
There are ways out, you can be safe.