Recently I was lucky enough to be part of a test audience for “Silent War” – a half-hour-long short film by Mark Anthony Games, that portrays the challenging and controversial subject of domestic violence. An ex-sports student turned film-maker, Mark now studies drama and screenwriting at the University of Worcester, and says that writing and making films has always been what he wants to do.
“Silent War” follows a young woman, Claire, who suffers abuse at the hands of her violent and controlling boyfriend, Ben, as she eventually finds the courage to speak out about the abuse. It’s a look “behind closed doors” at the reality of domestic violence, and how other people either can’t see what is going on, or can and simply ignore it.
The film is supported by the charities Men’s Advice Line, The Purple Lotus Foundation and Respect, and aims to raise awareness about domestic abuse.
Asking him why he chose to write about domestic abuse, Mark replies: “I wanted to test myself as a writer. My last emotional film was about homelessness and how the homeless are perceived in society. I wanted to explore the concept of abuse and neglect, and was going to do child abuse, but,” he adds, “I’m scared of working with kids!” He currently works part-time teaching kids PE!
“We have Children in Need and Sport Aid, but hardly anything widely publicized on TV or radio supporting victims of domestic abuse. It’s wrong that it has still has the stigma that people aren’t supposed to talk about it, that it’s none of their business.
In my research I found that the victims often feel they are to blame. What makes a person feel they deserve to be treated like that?”
Mark says the script took three months to write, and two months of research. He was careful to not glorify violence in the film, and kept most of it implied. It certainly is an emotional film to watch, and Mark says, was also a hard film to shoot.
“At the end of the day, the actors were emotionally shattered. Everyone was crying on set. Even the big, muscled bloke, who plays Ben, was bawling his eyes out!”
One of the things that really strikes me about Mark is his openness and compassion. He spoke about a difficult childhood, overcoming abuse, and using writing as a coping mechanism. He says he views his experiences as a gift, and would not change a thing. He feels that without them, he would not be able to write and make films.
“Silent War” is Mark’s fifth short film. He goes by the name of “Human Voice” online. The reason he started writing and making videos, he says, was to help others realize that they were not alone.
“Silent War” began as a poem about my own past experiences. I realized that I could use my experiences to help other people. Even if one person can relate to my work, I’m happy. Emails from comforted strangers have made me realize how common depression and abuse are. None of us can change the world by ourselves, but if we speak out we can make a difference, and help people realize they don’t have to suffer in silence.”
“Silent War” will premiere at the Crown Inn, (Bransford Road), on the 11th of December, and will be the main part of a showcase of local talent. There is a voluntary £2 entry fee and all money raised will be split between the charities Men’s Advice Line and Women’s Aid. Doors open at 7.30, and from 8.30 local band Ronin will play an acoustic set. There will be signed albums available to purchase, of which the profits will go to charity also. The fantastic cast of “Silent War” will also be present, so why not come down? It promises to be a good night, and everyone hopes to raise as much as possible for this important, but under-represented, cause.
Story by Georgie Bull.