Shakespeare’s Sister, an initiative from Film London and the British Council, has commissioned two short films by female filmmakers to honor the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s passing.
Lucy Campbell’s “Marina and Adrienne” and Nat Luurtsema’s “WYRDOES” were selected from 265 applications. Both shorts are inspired by Shakespeare’s plays (“Pericles, Prince of Tyre” and “Macbeth,” respectively.)
The shorts will receive $22,000 in production funds. The teams behind them will be offered membership to Women in Film & TV and mentoring from Film4, a British public-service television broadcaster.
The films will tour internationally with the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives program, which aims to reach over 500 million people worldwide through events and activities.
Deborah Sathe, head of talent development and production at Film London, said, “Let’s be frank: Audiences are missing out when the film industry ignores the voices and talents of female storytellers, and a significant part of Film London’s work lies in trying to ensure that the capital’s industry is as vibrant and diverse as the city itself.” She added, “With women still so woefully underrepresented in lead creative roles — despite their huge bankability — we think Shakespeare’s Sister will serve as a calling card for the filmmakers we’ve selected and as a showcase for female talent as a whole.”
Back in 2010, Julie Taymor directed “The Tempest,” which swapped the gender of William Shakespeare’s Prospero to a woman, Prospera, who was portrayed by Helen Mirren. But more recent Shakespeare big-screen adaptations, such as 2016’s “Macbeth,” 2013’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Romeo & Juliet,” have been all helmed by men. So “Marina and Adrienne” and “WYRDOES” are very welcome, necessary additions to the fold.
For more information on the shorts, see below.
Marina and Adrienne written/directed by Lucy Campbell and produced by Loran Dunn, inspired by Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
The film sees fugitive lovers Marina and Adrienne posing as fishermen and finding work on a trawler. Far out at sea, a ferocious storm picks up and Marina, revealed to be female and pregnant, gives birth on board, amongst the oil, ice and fish, to the shock and wonder of the old fishermen, but dies in childbirth.
In the grip of the merciless storm, and driven by superstition, the fishermen insist the body goes overboard, with the baby – the only way to placate the sea’s fury.
WYRDOES is a comedy inspired by Macbeth, written and directed by Nat Luurtsema and produced by Jennifer Eriksson and Iona Westlake.
It centres on three sisters – Elsab, Magrit and Merope – who battle poverty and rumours that they are witches just because they’re a little ‘wyrd’. Through accidental tragedy, murder and war, the downtrodden Wyrdoes finally fight back.