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H A B I T U A T I O N

A BFI NETWORK funded short film

Synopsis:

Bed-ridden and isolated I-Kiribati-Yorkshire nun, Anna Betero, struggles to come to terms with her ailing body, and discovers a strange symbiosis with her climate crisis threatened homeland. After Anna’s carer, Mary, finishes providing her with personal care, Anna serendipitously tunes in to a radio broadcast from her brother, The President of Kiribati, who informs her that her native island’s survival is dependant on Anna completing a faith-defying amphibious transformation.

 

Initially overwhelmed by the task, Anna is presented with visions of communities ravaged by climate emergencies. Discovering scales are already forming on her leg, Anna embraces her transformation as a means of reconnecting with her childhood. She looks through old photos and shares with Mary a local myth surrounding a woman who was born with the skin of a turtle. Concerned by Anna’s increasing deviation from religious convention, Mary reminds Anna to stick to the “good ideas” from the Bible texts. Anna rejects this and dedicates focus to pursuing her amphibious transformation, sellotaping the skin on her face tightly so she is ocean-primed.

Seemingly near-death and surrounded by the sisterhood, Anna expresses gratitude for the life she has lived.

 

Anna communicates to her brother that she is getting stronger. Her room becomes immersed in ocean-blue, and Anna rises from her bed to perform a balletic rendition of the Kaimatoa dance, celebrating her newly discovered amphibious properties, before falling into a prayer position. The blue drains from the room and Anna finds herself lying in bed, consumed by reality and facing her death. She prays to Holy Father Benedict for a safe passage into heaven, but finds her prayer overwhelmed by swirling voices from the radio, from Sister Mary, and from a thundering storm. Angelic voices come in. Anna eyes widen at the sight of something in the window. She rises up and walks to greet a silhouette of her brother. Her brother encourages her to open the window. Despite being not ready, Anna summons the strength and courage to prise it open.

 

 

Shot on location in February 2024 in West Yorkshire.

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Featuring

Sarah Lam as Anna

Dune: The Prophecy (2024),

Call the Midwife (2023)

Featuring

Ishia Bennison as Sister Mary

Happy Valley (2023)

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Louisa Rose Mackleston
Director

Louisa is a Writer/Director/Producer and the owner of Northern Fortress Films.

 

 

Louisa is a member of both the Queer and Disabled community and advocates for equality in the industry, by running accessible sets with inclusion at the heart. She has produced & directed over 15 films since Northern Fortress' inception, in 4 different languages spanning commercials, narrative & documentary format filming across the UK, Italy & Japan.

She has worked with Oscar-winning Screen Writer, Simon Beaufoy on Ruth & Safiya, and Hollywood legend, John Landis whilst training at the International Filmmaking Academy in Bologna. She first met Thea on Screen Yorkshire's FLEX talent development scheme.

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Thea Burrows
Producer

Thea is a Cannes Lions award-winning producer with over 20 years experience producing, making the move from branded content to film and drama in 2020. Her first feature as Producer, Wait For Me, has just secured theatrical release in the UK and won Best Director at Manchester Film Festival. She has produced several short films including BFI funded The Rising of the Sap, starring BAFTA winner Joanna Scanlan.

 

She set up Yorkshire-based Cosmos Films as a vehicle for co-productions and has several TV and film projects in development with UK and US production companies. She is Executive Producer on Hidden which shoots in Scotland in Autumn 2024.

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Joshua Boultwood-Neale
Writer

Josh is a freelance writer and script editor. He has script edited on eleven shorts and three features, many of which were BFI-backed.

 

He has a strong working relationship with BFI NETWORK and is regularly contracted to provide structured support to emergent writers. He also runs bespoke online storytelling workshops which prioritise access to those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

 

Josh works as a reader for BBC Open Call/WAG, BFI NETWORK, Film4, Channel 4, and Unsolicited Scripts. He has also been contracted by Screen Yorkshire to provide mentorship on the Beyond Bronte’s programme.

 

Josh was selected to participate in Film Hub North x Aesthetica’s Script Lab programme for 2022/2023.

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