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THE CHOKE ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT

A SHORT FILM DIRECTED BY CHRIS FOWLES


SYNOPSIS | MEDIUM VERSION

LOGLINE

IN THE LEAD UP TO CURTAIN-UP ON OPENING NIGHT, A YOUNG MALE DANCER AGONISES OVER HOW FAR TO PUSH HIS AND HIS FEMALE PARTNER’S FINAL PERILOUS MOVE...

A short drama, developed over the course of a year based on testimonials from male dancers from the English National Ballet. In the final hours before curtain up on opening night, a young male dancer, Simi, battles an inability to perform a dangerous dance move on his co-star, Alana, whom he’s also infatuated with. While his choreographer is pushing him to surrender to the violence of the act if the show’s going to be a hit, Simi’s masculine, forceful side has always struggled to come to the surface. As the audience take their seats, he becomes increasingly jealous of the other men in Alana’s life and the threat they pose. We witness the ever present sense of emasculation that he feels as a straight male dancer. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes less so. As the audience take their seats, Simi’s anxiety grows. He becomes increasingly worried that if he doesn’t confess his feelings for Alana then he’ll never be able to lose himself in the dance. He must find a way to rise to pressure. It’s a task that could all too easily end badly for both of them.

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


SYNOPSIS | LONG VERSION

A young male dancer, SIMI, and his female partner, ALANA, are rehearsing a dangerous and violent dance routine with scope for physical injury at any point. It’s for a new show in which the pair are the featured principals, and opening night is just one day away. Unfortunately though, Simi is hopelessly infatuated with Alana. This is particularly troublesome because the show requires him to throttle her (she’s his lover in the story) to death, in a fit of passion. The show’s conniving director/choreographer has pushed Simi throughout rehearsals to make the choke violent. Simi’s always held something of himself back though. His touch so far has been gentle; he struggles with the manly and forceful side of himself. The choreographer is insistent that Simi needs to let go and surrender to the violence of the act if the show’s going to be a hit. Alana agrees. Which makes things even tougher.

We discover Simi’s home – he lives with his mum and her boyfriend in a small council flat (in sharp contrast to the rest of the company) and we discover his fanatical attention to diet and body control. His hours of practice to get it right. Over time we start to feel that ever present sense of emasculation that he feels as a straight male dancer. Sometimes it’s subtle. Sometimes less so. As the audience take their seats, Simi’s anxiety grows and he becomes increasingly jealous of the other men in Alana’s life and the threat they pose. More and more worried that if he doesn’t confess his feelings for her then he’ll never be able to lose himself in the dance, Simi chooses to push everything to the back of his mind and ask her out. Only then, in his mind, will he be able to step up and perform the dance of his life. That’s a lot to go to plan. And a lot to lose if it doesn’t.

As curtain up approaches, the pressure builds. Not just from the show, but also from the rest of his world, and the expectations it places on him. The roles in real life and the show that he’s expected to conform to.

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


DIRECTORS STATEMENT

At 24 years old I have never been in a fight. Not because I’ve never felt the need to act on feelings of intense anger, but because I don’t consider myself to be a violent person. Like most men, there’s a part of me that feels the need to ‘prove myself’ by responding to feelings of frustration by making physical statements. Whenever I discuss this inexplicable inclination with male friends, they tell me that they feel the same. Even in 2017, our culture tells us that an inability to express violent emotions physically makes you ‘less of a man’. Toxic masculinity is so overwhelmingly present in society and politics that young men are led to belief that being in a fight is rite of passage. Yet, ironically, young men are also brought up to feel as though they would be breaking a set of unwritten male ideals if they were to express emotions such as hurt, disappointment or insecurity. Stereotyped beliefs about gender are relentlessly reinforced to such an extent that young men bottle things up until they’re overwhelmed, and often consumed, by them.

Ultimately, this story is a cautionary tale, of what happens when the old-world model of masculinity collapses. Of emotional repression and its devastating consequences. Putting an act of violence at the centre of the story created an inherent tension and pressure on our protagonist. This story strives to place the audience in a personal dilemma. We watch the events unfold and urge him to act, but subliminally we already know that its too late to reverse the damage caused by a society plagued by an outdated concept of masculinity.

There are many different forms of masculinity, some associated with healthy and productive behaviours, others with destructive and harmful traits. In a progressive society, which is becoming more inclusive and accepting, the traits associated with hyper masculinity are becoming increasingly obsolete. And yet there is still an inherent fear of seeming weak, emotional or in any way less than ‘manly’. This insecurity is perhaps what underpins toxic masculinity.

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


CREW BIOS

CHRIS FOWLES Chris’ is an award winning short film and commercials director. He trained at Bournemouth Film School, having previously been invited onto the prestigious BFI National Film Academy scheme, and named as one of the nations most promising young filmmakers. His directorial debut ‘Sleeping Dogs’ screened at a long list of international film festivals, at which it received numerous awards, and was subsequently longlisted for a BAFTA. ‘The Choke’ is a personal and meaningful insight into modern masculinity – a topic Chris was keen to explore.

GEOFF GEDROYC Geoff writes and produces scripts for film, TV and online content. He is a graduate of York University and Bournemouth Film School, where he received a Masters in Screenwriting. He has made numerous shorts with international reach and has garnered multiple award nominations. In March 2016 he won the Grand Prize in the Screenwriting Goldmine Awards for his spec feature The Certain Light. This is the second film Geoff and Chris have collaborated on, the first being Chris ‘Sleeping Dogs’ in 2014.

ALESSIO BERGMANO

BEN PARISH

Alessio is an Italian born Producer, who studied Filmmaking at the London Film Academy.

Ben is an emerging cinematographer and camera operator, who has worked across short films, commercials and web content.

He has an impressive list of credits across shorts, features and TV which spans internationally. Some of his most recent projects include producing online content for Redbull and Ducati, and a music video for RIVRS.

Of late he has worked in the camera department on high profile features and commercials including The Mummy and Jurassic World 2. He studied Film Production at Bournemouth Film School.

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


CREW BIOS

SAM HODGE Sam, also a graduate from Bournemouth Film School, has established himself as a talented emerging editor in the industry. Having worked on the post-production of features including ‘Spectre’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, he is currently an assistant editor on Aardman and Nick Park’s upcoming feature, ‘Early Man’. As an editor his short films have screened and competed at international festivals, most notably ‘The Shipping Forecast’, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society award in 2015.

JOSIE ROSSOUW Beginning as an Art Runner at ITV, Josie has worked across a wide range of television shows, live programmes and commercials. She studied at University of the Arts London, where she received a diploma in Art & Design and later at Bournemouth Film School. Since graduating she has worked as an Assistant Art Director at Channel 4, and is currently working to create floral installations with renowned set designer Gillian O’Brien as a part of The Flower Laboratory.

ROSE ALICE Rose is Artistic Director of the London Contemporary Ballet Theatre. She began dancing at the age of eight in Australia, where was awarded prestigious R.A.D Australian Bursary. She later continued her training in Toulouse, France and Basel, Switzerland. Under Rose’s direction London Contemporary Ballet Theatre have performed in Beijing, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Kunming and London for clients such as Tiffany & Co, BMW, Jaguar and Huawei.

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


CAST

ALISTAIR TOOVEY Alistair trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of the Arts, and his first major role was in the West End production of ‘Les Misérables’. He has since played a leading role US TV series ‘Tut’, alongside Ben Kinsley, and and will appear in the next series of Silent Witness. He has an extensive theatre repertoire and is currently performing in the European Premiere of the OBIE award winning play ‘An Octoroon’.

SHANNON TARBERT Shannon came to public attention in 2010 with her critically acclaimed professional stage debut as Delilah Evans in ‘Spur of the Moment’ at The Royal Court Theatre, for which she was shortlisted for the Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer. She has since appeared numerous TV roles and most recently starred alongside Geoffrey Rush in Ron Howard’s show ‘Genius’.

JOEL GILLMAN Joel has starred in a number of high profile BBC dramas, including ‘Ripper Street’, ‘Silent Witness’ and ‘Walter’, and as a lead in ITV’s ‘Frankenstein Chronicles’. Most recently he played the role of Jack Langtree in BBC series ‘The Living and The Dead’. He has also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre.

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


PRINCIPAL CREW SIMI Alistair Toovey ALANA Shannon Tarbet JONNY Joel Gillman STEP DAD Simeon Willis SIMI’S MUM Catherine Mobley SEAN Corey Malone DAWN Pippa Winslow DANCERS Victorija Sibakovskyte Marie Sheehy Yanitsa Dimitrova Helena Roake Joshua Ecob Katya Bourvis Duncan Hancock THEATRE GOERS Ieva Kaleininkaite Tarik Abbas Deen Pontefract Darren Shakespeare Mateusz Malecki Lewis Cowan

DIRECTED BY Chris Fowles WRITTEN BY Geoff Gedroyc PRODUCED BY Alessio Bergmano EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS Tony Fowles, Georgia Rooney DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Ben Parish EDITOR Sam Hodge COMPOSER Chris Davey PRODUCTION DESIGNER Josie Rossouw COSTUME DESIGNER Vanessa Preuss HAIR AND MAKEUP DESIGNER Donna-Marie Field SOUND RECORDIST Benjamin Gandy SOUND DESIGNER AND MIX Claudio Santos

PRODUCTION MANAGER Billy Rowlinson

CATERING Alison LLoyd

FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Jay Jones

VISUAL EFFECTS Nicolas Lekai

THIRD ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Faye Elizabeth Butler

COLOURIST Dan Carney

1ST ASSISTANT CAMERA Kit Mackenzie, Jacob Gerrard

PRODUCTION PUBLICIST Katie McGuinness

2ND ASSISTANT CAMERA Joaquin Blunt

STILLS PHOTOGRAPHER Nikolay Bogdev Ruslan Stoyanov

GAFFER Conor Chalk ELECTRICIANS Courtesy of The Beck Theatre BOOM OPERATOR Mark Harris SOUND ASSISTANT Liam Walters ART DIRECTOR Holly Nicholds COSTUME SUPERVISOR Maia Herzog Lee MAKEUP ARTIST Sophie Hamedani Debbie Geddes

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


PRODUCTION NOTES

Development

The film is based on several conversations between the production team and dancers from the English National Ballet in November 2015. The ENB was supportive of the film and helped organise the conversations, however the discussions were tense and sometimes emotionally difficult. The young male dancers opened up about their hardest challanges and pressures, including mental health struggles and violence as a result of assumptions about their sexuality. After reading the script, several other major dance organisations were hesitant to be involved, afraid it would show the dance world in a negative light. This only encouraged us that the issues needed discussing and pushed us to carry on with the film. The story also draws inspiration from the Patricia Highsmith short story ‘The Dancer’.

Production A number of the crew all attended Bournemouth Film School, where they produced another thriller with a similar subject matter, Sleeping Dogs. The dance seen in the opening and closing scenes, was developed over the course of several weeks, but learnt and rehearsed by main cast in only 1 day.

Post-production

3 time Oscar winning editor Walter Murch provided advise and mentorship over the post-production of the film. The final scene was cut only once, and never changed.

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

TITLE: THE CHOKE DURATION: 22’ 30” LANGUAGE: ENGLISH SUBTITLES: ON REQUEST SOUND MIX: STEREO EBU-R128 FRAME RATE: 25FPS ASPECT RATIO: 16:9FF with 1.85:1 LETTERBOX CAMERA: ARRI ALEXA AMIRA NEGATIVE FORMAT:

PRORES 4444 XQ

CINEMATIC PROCESS:

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE 2K

PRINTED FILM FORMAT:

1080P DCP, QUICKTIME PRORES 4444

CONTACT DETAILS

CHRIS FOWLES

DIRECTOR +44 (0) 7545 611563 CHRIS@CHRISFOWLES.COM

ALESSIO BERGMANO

PRODUCER FILMALESSIO@GMAIL.COM

KATIE MCGUINNESS

PUBLICIST +44 (0) 7703 292 958 KATIEMMCGUINNESS@GMAIL.COM

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


© 2017 CHRIS FOWLES | ALL CONTENT IS SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017


THE CHOKE SHORT FILM DIRECTED BY CHRIS FOWLES

WWW.THECHOKEFILM.COM

THE CHOKE | ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT 2017

Profile for Chris Fowles

Choke EPK final  

Electronic Press Kit for 'The Choke' Short Film

Choke EPK final  

Electronic Press Kit for 'The Choke' Short Film

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