Banburyshire film-maker crowdfunds for a new movie with an astonishing plot and a strong message

A Bloxham film-maker has launched a crowdfunding appeal in a bid to make an intriguing new film based on the kidnapping and torture of an MP.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 5:59 pm
Alex di Cuffa, actor and film-maker who will direct How to Cope with Oliver Pope

Alex di Cuffa's movie is called How to Cope with Oliver Pope. It tells the story of spouses Hannah and Jessica who kidnap and torture their local MP after he opposes an anti up-skirting bill.

On their way home from a night out, the two women are up-skirted by a group of men on a night bus. When Hannah confronts the men they become aggressive and demand the women perform sexual acts on the bus for their pleasure. When the couple resists, a fight breaks out and the men beat up the women.

"This is the final straw for Hannah and Jessica as it was their local MP, Sir Oliver Pope, who blocked the anti up-skirting bill in parliament that might have protected them only weeks prior to the incident. They couple hatch a plan to kidnap and torture Sir Oliver to show him the error of his ways by any means necessary," said Mr di Cuffa.

Alex di Cuffa on the set of on set of Protector, an action film for which directed with the fight team from Vikings

How to Cope with Oliver Pope - written by Tom Hartwell - will be shot on various locations in Oxfordshire and London and some specific spots are still sought - for example a 1960s antique study/library which would be the location for a headmaster's office.

"We are looking to engage with as many people as possible. In recent years the issues of female and LGTBQ+ rights have been overshadowed by other events but they are still as prevalent today as they were at the height of the MeToo movement," said Mr di Cuffa.

"We hope we can engage with people in an entertaining but thought-provoking way. We are also hoping to engage with the political bystanders out there who don’t believe their vote matters; the film is intended to prove that every vote does matter."

Born in Oxford but brought up in Bloxham, Mr di Cuffa, 29, trained as an actor at Stratford-upon-Avon college and Drama Studio, London. Since graduating in 2013 he worked extensively on screen as an actor but in 2017 started making his own films. Since then he has directed three short films, all of which have gone onto numerous festivals around the world and one even being screened on Sky TVs 'The Short Film Show' in 2019.

Playwright Tom Hartwell also graduated as an actor at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Since then he has taken his writing to the London Fringe, Off-West End, Edinburgh Fringe and New York City. This screenplay was originally written as a play for stage after being selected for the Battle of Perspectives, new writing nights for Black Cat Theatre (the sister company of Black Cat Films who are producing Oliver Pope) at The Pleasance Theatre, London.

"At the time there was a lot of outrage surrounding the assault of two women on a London night bus and I remember vividly the photo of the girls, faces covered in blood and in utter shock," said Mr Hartwell. "At the same time I was reading up on one particular MP who had voted against making up-skirting a criminal offence.

"The sheer extremes of perspectives made writing an encounter between the two parties incredibly exciting. Seeing the response from the crowd made the decision to adapt it to the screen an easy one and I can’t wait to share this thought-provoking piece with a wider audience."

Mr di Cuffa said: "We hope to shine a light on the shortcomings in our society and make others take action to make our world a better and more understanding place."

Those who contribute to the £10,000 crowdfunding appeal will be helping to pay for film-makers and actors - who have now been out of work for almost a year - to get back on set. The platform is called Greenlit and the film's page can be found at https://greenlit.com/project/how-cope-oliver-pope

"We aren’t just asking for donations; we have some amazing perks which people can choose, based on how much they would like to donate. They can get a copy of the finished film or if they've always wanted to walk the red carpet there will be tickets to the premiere with the cast and crew," said Mr di Cuffa.

Also available are music lessons with the composer, photography sessions with the director Mr di Cuffa (who is an international portrait photographer as well as filmmaker) and very exclusive associate and executive producer credits for those who have always wanted to see you name at the end of a film.

The project's social media pages are linked via the site.