‘What are my nipples for?’ Ron asks after learning about a Celtic fertility ritual, and falls into a personal crisis with a drastic solution.

Warning, this film may send you down an existential crisis. A little warning for sensitive stomachs may be needed as well. But other than that, ‘The History of Nipples’ is just another bizarre and twisted dark comedy from alum filmmaker Bailey Tom Bailey (Dead Dad, Street Spirit). By the end of it all you will be you scratching your head with a smirk. And probably also wondering why you are smirking.

The Origins of The History of Nipples

The idea came from an exhibit at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. Which described a bizarre Celtic fertility ritual that involved sucking on a King’s nipples and the repercussions when the ritual failed. My original idea was a mock sex education film but it became more of a drama. What fascinated me beyond the absurdity was how it contrasted with our modern relationship with our bodies, the physical world and spirituality today.

When I initially thought of the idea it seemed too silly. But as my writing began to consistently take the form of dark comedy-drama meets surreal psychological horror with a focus on character and theme, The History of Nipples seemed like the perfect vehicle to crystalize my voice. When working at Somesuch I met producers Aaron Z. Willson and Callum Harrison who were interested in producing the short through their company Bad Collective (now re-branded Ground Works) along with associate producer Mel Giles.

The film stars Joseph Macnab (Dumbo, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them) and Lily Woods, who deliver a marvellous performance despite the tricky and unusual storyline. A mixture surreal psychological horror with comedy-drama boiled within the film’s structure. But ‘The History of Nipples’ banked on timely production quality from the crew. A perfect blend of comical music to the stressful situation keeps the film on track for a smooth ride.

Behind The Nipples

The film was shot by Spike Morris and lit by Helio Ribeiro, we used Alexa Mini and Hawk V-Plus Anamorphic lenses. We could only take part of the package and being stubborn I asked for all the wide focal lengths. We shot for four days on a mix of locations and studio space (freezing warehouse). The original intention was to make all the scenes feel diagrammatic: life was simplified and observed with cool objectivity. I kept putting Ron in the middle of the composition as the anamorphic frame isolated him and showed the pressures of the modern world around him. There are some special FX moments provided by the incredible Suzi Battersby (Red Girl FX) that had people cringing on set.