A short film backed by Richmond Council highlighting domestic abuse is set to premiere at Twickenham’s The Exchange.
Tears Dry To Frost will premiere 22 October and stars Anastasia Martin as a young woman who realises she needs to liberate herself from an emotionally abusive partner.
It was written, produced and co-directed by UCL graduate Alexandra Shaw, of Twickenham, and funded by The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Local Area Fund.
Shaw said: “I’m so excited that it’s premiering, I’m absolutely thrilled and I’m just so proud of the team.
“It really is surreal when you’ve been dedicating yourself to a project as raw and significant as this for a year and then the time comes for it to be shared with people.
“I look forward to any responses that we might get and any progressions the project might contribute towards, in terms of raising awareness of the nuances of emotional abuse.”
Shaw pitched the film to Martin, who she’s known since school, in late 2020, and it was shot on Twickenham riverside over two days in June.
The film was shot in one take, and sees Martin’s character become increasingly distraught during a telephone conversation, which the audience only hears her side of.
Shaw said: “We hope that as you’re watching it you wander to yourself: ‘If I was to hear this conversation out and about what would my response be, what would I be compelled to do about it, if anything?’”
Start-up production company Onnos Media co-directed and edited the film and Isabella Luca provided an original song.
While everyone collaborated on a pro bono basis, Shaw applied to the Local Area Fund to meet costs incurred.
The fund was introduced in 2020 to support local initiatives and develop projects that make a difference to the borough, with each ward having £10,000 available.
Tears Dry To Frost met the fund’s priorities under ‘Improving health and wellbeing’ and ‘Enabling local people to develop, agree and deliver their own responses to local issues and building stronger communities’.
It was shown at a full council meeting on 28 September and was well received, with councillor for East Sheen Julia Cambridge calling it poignant on Twitter.
Shaw said: “I’m so pleased to say that it resonated with councillors and they understood the importance of the issues the film raises.”
The team hopes to share the film with relevant charities in future, as well as incorporating it into the PSHE curriculums of schools to examine healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Shaw added: “If it was to encourage or help one person, or a couple of young people, then that would be it for me, that would be fantastic – if it was more, then that would be even more brilliant.
“I’m really excited, I believe in this so much and whatever can come out of it will just be wonderful.”
A qualified and experienced psychotherapist and relationships counsellor, James Earl, will also be attending the premiere at The Exchange, to contextualise the film and provide expert insight, information and advice.
The Exchange, which is owned by Richmond Council and leased to St Mary’s University, opened in 2017, and is used for University use, Community Group use and public events.
Shaw, who self-published a poetry collection called Raw in 2019, said she has more ideas for future films.
She said: “They are of a similar feel and fit into this idea of highlighting issues through a creative industry – I’ll see where they take me.
“I’m excited for future projects and seeing what else we get up to.”
Tickets for the premiere are available here.
Featured image credit: Tom Minty