A photographer has found his muse. A 15 year old prostitute. How far will a nobody go to be a somebody?
I have dreamt of making feature films for many years. My dreams are that of greatness, films that gain an incredible response from an audience. In attempting to achieve this dream it could be said, everything has pretty much gone wrong. Five short films, made with my own money and the best talent and resources I could muster. And they have done a whole lot of nothing, no festivals worth writing about here.
Despite this lack of encouragement I still have attempted to get better with each film. All my shorts explore perceptions of reality through character studies, they have an object that they see the world through, signalling to the audience they’re watching a distortion. Choir Girl is partly inspired by Taxi Driver, where we see a violent neighbourhood from the skewered perspective of the protagonist.
In some way I have become Eugene, working away in the (semi) darkness defying rejection. And also in a more poignant way, these short films have been made over a seven year period where I was also caring for my elderly parents. All the scenes between Eugene and his Dad are real. Like Eugene I am prepared to go all the way to score. Josephine is a 15-year-old hooker who ideally should be played by a girl with a similar screwed up background. Life imitating art, imitating art. How far are we prepared to go? Let's find out.
There are characters like Eugene and Josephine all over the world, the isolated, the forgotten. People for whom the line 'no one gives a shit so no one gives a shit' is sadly true. And people who are prepared to cross the line to say 'I exist, I am here.' The need for acceptance is universal and this story explores that in its most extreme form - people pushed too far. They lose, and must regain, their perspective.
At some point everyone has wondered what it would be like to be someone else, have wanted to be somewhere else. Increasingly media, via internet and television, supplies a view into such a world, stoking our envy.
The driving force of Choir Girl is the very necessity of crossing the line. As a filmmaker I am challenging myself to go as far as possible to capture the gut realism of the material. Though Eugene drives the story, Josephine is its heart. She is exploited for money, for her body, for exposure and recognition, and the exploitation holds a mirror up to the world - just how much of ourselves will we sell to achieve a dream?