Purgatory

Lilith wakes up every day to the perfect man, Adam. He’s kind, loving and handsome, but a darkness lurks in paradise. Lilith seems oblivious to the subtle signs of Adam’s control, manipulation and eventually his domination. Throughout the course of her day, it becomes clear that she is trapped by Adam, and needs help to break free.

Director’s Vision

During the UK lockdowns, I wrote several scripts and PURGATORY started as an isolation piece about a female character. I decided to introduce a partner, and that perhaps he was lying to keep her trapped and isolated. From here, I began my research into emotional manipulation and coercive control. Sadly, I learned very quickly that the truth behind these stories is far more powerful and poignant than anything you can imagine. PURGATORY is an all-to-true situation for many relationships. I believe that with thorough research and true empathy, stories can educate, stimulate change, and respectfully raise awareness of their content. Domestic abuse is not something to be trivialised, nor mis-represented and an abusive relationship is only hell.

I chose to direct this film because of a classic “shower moment.” I realised that when I was talking about the figures and research of domestic abuse to friends, family and other creatives, most people had no idea or weren’t prepared to discuss domestic abuse. In the shower that morning, I thought about why. Why would I make a film about domestic abuse and why do I feel it’s necessary to show rape? That’s when I realised I was shying away, just like everyone else, that’s when I saw a social movement, a message, a banner; making this film wasn’t about ‘the film,’ it was the bigger picture! If we make a great film and spread the figures, the truth and get people talking, we could help break the cycle of abuse. #Breakthecycle was born.

I knew from the start that I had a goal in mind; Adam had to mislead the audience before a shocking revelation; he had to make them uncomfortable and upset enough to address it. My intention was to also allow the audience to misjudge Lilith as lazy, or that she is suffering health concerns. I wanted Adam to appear as the “nice guy” before we started to show red flags in his behaviour. I also wanted the audience to be a little frustrated by Lilith’s slow pace at the beginning. However, as the red flags become more obvious, leading to Adam’s outburst, Lilith’s real character has been revealed and the audience feels a sense of guilt for misjudging her. She needs their help, not their judgement. This is the view I want the audience to have of victims and survivors of domestic abuse, be they male or female victims.

I advertised for crew members on mandy.com and asked all potential crew to read the script first, to understand the delicate nature of what we were dealing with. I also couldn’t afford to pay any of them. Not a penny. The entire crew would have to work for free, but I had faith that the subject matter would inspire them. From that moment on, the pre-production stage took flight. I brought together the most talented, and caring, cast and crew to bring the story to life. I was even approached by staff at Pinewood Studios! Yes, that’s right, my first ever venture into film and professional sound re-recordists from Pinewood ASKED ME to help make it the best it can be. Through our extended network, we then got a yes from a colourist from Goldcrest Studios to paint our film in post-production. Again, these professionals all worked for free, in their own time, to support the making of a film that could help people in need.

One of the biggest issues we hit was funding. I paid for this entire enterprise myself, with no outside funding at all. I was covering all travel and accommodation costs and my wife cooked everyone’s meals, even preparing breakfast bags for those staying over. When it came to the filming equipment, we were incredibly fortunate to be introduced to a special lady at Shoot Blue, who helped us wrangle a deal we could afford.
Throughout the entire process, I never lost sight of why I was doing this. Yes, I want to make films, however, I wanted PURGATORY to make a difference. I reached out to local and national charities, asking if I could share their contact information on the film, as well as links from the film’s website to theirs. The benefit to them? I would divide all profits from the shop between all charities that said yes. Needless to say, we won the backing of some of the biggest and most intimate charities across the nation. When PURGATORY was released at the end of May 2021, I had built a website to host the film as free-to-watch, in addition to a webshop selling items branded #Breakthecycle to raise support for the associated charities.

Now my mission is to get as many people as possible watching, sharing and talking about the film and it’s social message. Please help by sharing the link to www.purgatory.online buying a mug or t-shirt, and asking those close to you if they are in need of help.