WE HAVE NOW REACHED OUR TARGET. PLEASE DON'T LET THIS STOP YOU FROM DONATING, WE STILL HAVE ANOTHER £80,000 TO RAISE TO COMPLETE THIS FILM. THIS £2000 IS OUR FIRST SMALL TARGET. PLEASE STILL SUPPORT US. THANKS!
Still Born, Still Loved : The Life Within Us
This is a feature length documentary looking at parent's journey's from the heartbreak of stillbirth, to acceptance, moving forward with their lives, and finding happiness and a joy in living.
How do you carry on when the baby you’ve been waiting months for dies before you had the chance to ever really know her? When on the day you were supposed to be bringing your baby home, you have to carry a tiny coffin and see him buried in the cold ground? What happens to all the love you feel for your child? How do you move forward with your life with a heavy heart and empty arms?
This documentary goes right to the heart of the human suffering caused by the death of a tiny baby. There is no greater suffering for any parent to bear than the loss of their child. We will tell the parents’ own stories, using their own photographs and video footage of the only precious hours or sometimes days they will ever have with their child.
Our film is special because each of the stories within it has a powerful, life-affirming message, as the parents involved work through their suffering to accomplish something really spectacular in memory of their baby. Despite the tragedy in the film, the outcome will be uplifting and inspiring, and will highlight how even the most vulnerable of people can shine in the face of adversity.
Our challenge is to find the light within the darkness. To show the humanity and humour that enables the parents, and our audience, to find their way through this sorrow to a place of acceptance, happiness, laughter and a joy of living.
The Creative Team
The Writer/Director is Debbie Howard of Big Buddha Films, an independent film company in Sheffield, UK. Debbie has made a slate of award winning powerful, thought provoking films in the past. You can see all of their info on their website: www.bigbuddhafilms.co.uk
"After completing Peekaboo, I felt very strongly that there was so much more to say on this subject. I felt that these parents should speak for themselves. This subject matter is not popular, but these stories must be told so that people understand what happens to someone when their baby dies. I feel utterly compelled to make this film and break the silence around baby loss. This is my mission."
"A wonderfully tender and compassionate articulation of love and loss. Peekaboo unwraps the layers of grief and emotional reconciliation with heart breaking precision and sensitivity."
Caroline Cooper Charles, Creative England
See the trailer for Peekaboo here
The Producer is Colin Pons of Studio of the North has worked in the UK film and TV industry over the last twenty five years. Amongst the 26 feature films Produced, Executive Produced or Mentored are the BAFTA winning “This Little Life” (Director Sarah Gavron ) and the much acclaimed “Acid House” (Director Paul McGuigan), “The Darkest Light” (Directors Simon Beaufoy and Bille Eltringham), “HUSH” (Director Mark Tonderai) “iLL Manors” (Director Ben Drew) and feature documentary “Zoned In” (Director Daniela Zanzotto) which won the Tribeca audience award for documentary. Short films include BAFTA winners “Shadowscan” (Director Tinge Krishnan), “My Wrongs # 8245-8249 & 117” (Director Chris Morris) and the much acclaimed “Kissed By Angels” (documentary Director Daniela Zanzotto), Hands Solo (Director William Mager) and Cannes nominated “Better or Worse” (Director Jocelyn Cammack).
Our Associate and Advisor is Hussain Currimbhoy, Programer of the prestigious Sheffield Documentary Festival, one of the top three international documentary festivals in the world. Hussain Currimbhoy was born in Canada and moved to Australia in the 1990s. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia before completing a Masters degree in Film at the Victorian College of Arts in Melbourne in 2002. Since 2003 Hussain worked in programming for the Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide Film Festivals and ran his own short film festival in Australia. In 2008, Hussain moved to the UK and became Programmer for the Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Christine Bell - Executive Producer, Vanessa Thatcher & Alice Jolly - Associate Producers - 3 of our very kind sponsors.
What we need to raise financially
We have raised £7,000 so far. We need to raise another £50,000 - £60,000 to complete this film. We wil be doing this in stages. We have a target of £2,000 for this pitch, so that we can reach our target and get shooting. But any addition money will be going to towards the total amount needed to complete our film. Please help us to do this. We are offering some great things in return, see the rewards on offer.
"Thank you for what you are doing. When I lost my little girl, I had no idea that losing my child in the way I did was even possible - not really. It wasn't mentioned, there was no warning. And then to go on to find out how common it really is really frustrated me. Awareness needs to be brought to this topic. Something needs to change.
I look forward to tracking the progress of your project. Strength and light to you as you embark on exploring one of the most cruel losses. And thank you again for taking it on."
With love, Cath Adelbert, Sydney, Australia
Please join us on Facebook:
Big Buddha on Facebook:
Peekaboo on Facebook:
I am absolutely delighted to say that we have completed Phase One of our shoot for Still Born, Still Loved. We have shot for ten days. We covered a weekend with Stephen and Bethany Morris before they set off on the Born Silently Cycle Challenge, interviewing them about the tragic loss of their twin girls, Felicity and Harriet. We then filmed almost all of the the Cycle Challenge, travelling 325 miles from Crowborough in East Sussex to Northallerton in Yorkshire, and raising money for Tommy's and TAMBA baby charities as they went. This was an amazing week, very inspirational and a huge emotional and physical challenge for Beth and Steve, and their fellow team mates. They have raised over £20,000 for charities during this ride. We filmed from the back of several motorbikes and across the Humber Bridge, country lanes, busy roads and the emotional finishing point greeted by friends and family from around hte country.
We then travelled to Somerset and have filmed our first two days with Mel and Baz Scott and their daughter Toni. Mel is the author of the beautiful book, After Finley. We have been finding out about Mel and Baz's journey to dealing the loss of their son Finley three years ago now. Mel is an inspiring therepist who is working hard to make baby loss a little easier for other parents to cope with.
We have spent all of our the money raised so far on this filming, as we had the equipment to buy and we have covered around 5,000 miles already in travel. This has all been done on a shoe string to make our budget go as far as possible.
Filming this has been very powerful and more than ever we are determined to continue filming the rest of this very necessary documentary. To do this, we need to raise more money. Although we have passed our official target on here, we still have so much to raise.
We have 14 days left of this pitch and it would be fantastic if we could get to £3,000 by that time. Please help us by donating, spreading the word and sharing the link with friends. Every pound donated goes into the film and helps us to continue our work which will raise awareness and break the silence around baby loss. Please help us today.
We completed day one of our shoot for Still Born, Still Loved yesterday. We travelled down to East Sussex on Saturday night, and early Sunday morning our DoP Emma Dalesman, Sound Recordist Grant Bridgeman and I arrived at Bethany and Stephen Morris's house. Bethany and Stephen made us so welcome, offering us breakfast, lunch and home baked cakes throughout the day. And it was fantastic to meet their beautiful dog Mr Darcy, who is regal indeed!
The shoot was difficult emotionally and very draining for Stephen and Bethany, who were amazing and so open hearted, sharing with us their story of how they lost their twin daughters Harriet and Felicity. It was hard for them to go through all the pain again, especially as it still so raw, only being four months since their girls were stillborn. Thanks so much to both of them for being so open and sharing so much with us. They also showed us the girl's nursery and all their presents, cards and keepsakes. Bethany very bravely read some diaries she's kept to the girls. There were many tears, and not just from Bethany and Stephen. Although this was hard, it will be powerful stuff indeed for our film, and so we all felt it had been worth it to make a film that will make a huge difference to so many people.
In a week's time Stephen and Bethany and the Born Silently team will undergo a 325 mile cycle challenge in memory of their girls, and to raise money for Tommy's and TAMBA baby charities. We will be following the on this journey and wish them well! You can see full details of their journey and sponsor them here: http://bornsilently.blogspot.co.uk/
Bethany and Stephen are a truly inspirational couple, who have focused all their grief and energy on doing something spectacular for their girls as a way of channelling their love for them.
Thanks so much to them, our crew and our sponsors for getting to to this stage.
We still have so much more to film, please support us to carry on doing this fantastic work, making a difference and raising awareness about baby loss.
We begin our shoot tomorrow! It's very exciting. Today we're getting all the last things ready, checking our kit and driving down to East Sussex. Tomorrow we will film one day with Bethany and Stephen Morris who lost their twin daughters Felicity and Harriet earlier this year. Next week they will be beginning their cycle challenge going from East Sussex to North Yorkshire to raise money for baby charities. We will film this journey. We're very excited our shoot is finally beginning. The first of many days. Thanks to everyone that has sponsored us so far and got us this far along the way. You're all fantastic!
We've hit our target today and I'm delighted! Thanks so much everyone that has donated. This is great.
Any new sponsors though - please do still donate. The cost of entire film means we still have around another £80,000 to raise, so every single donation will still be used to completing the film.
Thanks everyone. You're all kind and wonderful xx
We're at 99% of our goal. One more donation gets us over our target!!!
Thank you to everyone that has donated, you're all amazing!
I'm delighted to say that we've had loads of professional, experienced bikers off to help us with our first phase of our shoot when we follow the Born Silently Cycle Challenge on their journey from East Sussex to North Yorkshire. Thanks so much. We're lookig foward to the ride! Just a helicopter to find next ..... we're working on it!
Monday 15th October is baby loss awareness day. Please do something incredible in honour of babies that didn't make it. Please support our film so we can give the parents that lost their babies a voice and help raise awareness for those that don't understand.
Lots of exciting developments have taken place in the last few days. We have our team confirmed and a new Line Producer has been appointed, this is Peter Fraser, who has come on board yesterday to help us get all our logisitcs in place. We also have Isla Badenoch assisting Peter and the rest of the team, here in Sheffield. Thanks Peter and Isla for coming on board.
We have confirmed our shooting schedule for phase one of our shoot. This will be the cycle challenge with Bethany and Stephen Morris. We will be filming a very long cycle ride for a week, that they will undertake in memory of their twin daughters Harriet and Felicity. You can see more about this here: http://bornsilently.blogspot.co.uk/
We have ordered all our camera kit and are getting everything else sorted out and ready to go. We will be doing some filming with Bethany and Stephen before the cycle challenge begins, so our first shoot date is confirmed as Sunday 4th November...in 3 weeks time. Exciting!
Thanks to all of you that have helped us get this far. We're nearly at our target, and hoping we get there and beyond. This is only phase one, we've much more to film and much more to raise so please keep supporting us. We need your help. Share our link, spread the word!
We're so nearly at our target! Thanks so much to all of you that have donated and helped us. It's hugely appreciated!
Please help us to make it.
Thanks to all our sponsors so far. At nine days we're at 62% of our goal, and have 24 backers. This is fantastic! Please keep those donations coming in so that we can start shooting as soon we can. Thanks so much everyone xx
We're at 19 Backers and £595. Not bad going for just over a week of our pitch. Who can be no 20 and take us over the £600 mark?
An Ugly Pair of Shoes
I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others’ eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realise that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have walked in these shoes so long that days will go by before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet because of the shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
Here's the brief biog's of some of our key crew. Talented bunch or what?
Emma Dalesman is a freelance Cinematographer and a graduate of the Cinematography MA at the National Film and Television School. Experienced in drama, documentary, commercials, promos and animation. She has shot a variety of short films, including ‘Thicker than Water’ which was shortlisted for the Kodak Student Cinematography award, ‘Au Revoir Monkeys’ , nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Film in the Fujifilm Shorts Competition. ‘Kahanikar (The Storyteller)’ won Best Animation at LA Shorts Festival and has been screened in competition at many international festivals. The Anti-Piracy Commercial she shot for the Film Distributer’s Association is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.
Paul Wiseman has shot a great many Film Council commissioned short films as well as independently funded films. These have screened and won awards at prestigious film festivals all over the world including Encounters, London Short Film Festival, L.A. International Short Film Festival, Venice and Sheffield Doc/Fest. He was chosen as cinematographer to shoot the sensitive short film ‘My Dangerous Loverboy’ in 2008 on behalf of the Police Force and UK Human Trafficking Centre for a nationwide campaign to warn people about internal human trafficking. Debbie Howard and Paul Wiseman have shot numerous short films together in the past.
Grant Bridgeman is a freelance Sound Recordist who works across many genres, and in both location sound recording and audio post production for film and television. On location he has worked on TV drama's such as Mr Selfridge (ITV), Accused (BBC) and Bert and Dickie (BBC), Feature films including Best Laid Plans, Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, Guinea Pigs, Harold's Going Stiff, Bronson and Control, and documentaries such as Goth Cruise, This Chair is not me and if Himmler Played Guitar. Working across a wide range of genres (and budgets) leads to a very adaptable approach to location recording, which is backed up by (and balanced with) his knowledge of the post production requirements. Debbie Howard and Grant have worked together many times in the past, both on set and in post production.
Huge thanks to Louise Lawrence and William Tapley for their donation today in memory of their precious little daughter, Clemency Elizabeth Tapley who was born sleeping on the 7th August 2012. Louise and William who are going through a hellish time right now. William has written to the Times and also letters to local MP's and the Secretary of Health about the negligent care they received during Louise's labour. Here is an exert from this letter:
"Whilst I cannot tell you how insufferable and unending is the pain of losing a child, I can tell you that instead of going to Clemency's room to say goodnight, we go to the cemetery. Instead of changing her nappy, we change the flowers on her grave. We lie awake, night after night, haunted by the fact that our perfectly healthy baby should have lived and would have lived if the NHS did things differently."
William Tapley, Father to Clemency Elizabeth Tapley, born sleeping on 07/08/12
Many thanks for your support during this terrible time. Love and strength to you both.
Huge thanks to our second and third backers. Ken Oates and Markus Marcou have both donated today, thanks for your kindness xx
For a 'short film' Peekaboo is ambitious in every sense. Visually it has an epic, ethereal quality to it and the performances are amazing...but it's real impact is in it's simple, devasting storytelling. A man and a woman trying to deal with a situation often considered too 'sensitive' to talk about...stillbirth and it's effects on the mental health of those struggling with loss. A courageous, moving and necessary piece of work. It's one of those films that stays with you. When I saw it in Sheffield it was one of those times in the cinema when the silence before the applause, spoke volumes.
About Debbie Howard
Debbie Howard is one of those rare artists who's work is an authentic reflection of life. I've known of Debbie's work for years, through her short films. What I find most impressive about her is her passion. Just to make a film is an achievement in itself but...to make a film with heart, courage and beauty...however harsh or unpalatable the subject matter may be...is astonishing. As a writer she seems drawn to harsh truths, real life incidents and uncomfortable dilemmas. As a film maker she then fashions those stories through the visual medium with the sophistication of a seasoned auteur. However stark the landscape...it always looks beautiful. And one is always left moved by an intelligent, visceral experience. I know quite a few actors who have worked with her...they all say the same...not only is she a generous director, but she works organically, taking ideas and suggestions in order to make the best work possible. It shows. Her intention is in every line, image and sound.
It seems an obvious, natural progression for her to take the next bold, imaginative and creative step into feature films. A bigger canvas will allow her to develop as an artist and will, no doubt, give her the creative space to explore her chosen craft even further.
A wonderfully tender and compassionate articulation of love and loss. Peekaboo unwraps the layers of grief and emotional reconciliation with heart breaking precision and sensitivity.
Caroline Cooper Charles, Creative England
Peekaboo powerfully resonates and endures. It is the latest film from Debbie Howard who proves that she is undoubtedly a talent to watch!
Colin Pons, Studio of the North & Fear Factory.
Wonderful performances. Deeply moving. A whole world of feeling in 15 minutes.
Maria Warburg-Mills, Actor/Writer
Very moving and sensitively handled. Chilling, beautiful. Great performances.
Deborah Haywood, Filmmaker
Peekaboo a hauntingly beautiful and challenging film that, despite it's brevity, conveys a depth and wholeness usually only found in a feature length film. It has made a significant impression on my mind. The best short film I've ever seen.
Stephen Givnan, Actor
An inexplicably traumatic subject handled with gentle respect, toughing sensitivity and warmth, and without compromising the complexity of emotions and reactions involved.
Gabriella Apicella, Underwire Film Festival Co-ordinator
Just plucked up the courage to sit and watch the film, was really worried I would get upset but it was lovely and very tastefully done. Was lovely to see both my childrens names in the credits too. xx Thank you for doing this, and helping to raise awareness. xx
Fabulous film. Very tastefully done and am amazed how much content there was in 15 minutes of film. What made it for me was seeing my baby daughters name in the credits. Thank you for bringing this subject into the spotlight. x
thank you for inviting me to watch peekaboo. i enjoyed it, if thats the right words. i can relate to it having lost my own son. i thought it was quite interesting you chose to have the script with 3 stillbirths in. it is rare but it does happen. the whole subject is so taboo there are people that dont realise it can happen especially more than once. thank you xx
Hi Debbie, a huge thank you for inviting us to see peekaboo today, Jay was gutted he couldn't make it but I've told him what a good job you have done! It was written and acted in such a sensitive way, there were a few times my heart beat faster at the memory of doing/seeing similar to the actors ( my 2 favourite actors btw so superb casting)
I had weepy eyes at the end and then the end credits did me! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your work, hope that we were of some help.
As we left spencer said that was really sad mummy, were you sad like that when Jak & Harrison died??? He was transfixed by it too!
Can't wait to get home tmrw and watch the DVD and share it with my children, you have done us proud, your friends proud & yourself proud! I hope it gets picked up and made into a longer film, it needs to be told!!
Much love & respect xxxx
Just wanted to say thank you for inviting me to the screening today, the film was brilliant and really true to life. I am very glad I showed your props director my daughters memory book as the book in the film was so like mine it made it all seem very real. Well done on tackling such a difficult subject so well, and lots of luck for the future of the film. Lisa x
Received my copy of Peekaboo today. I was very nervous about watching it as I knew it would stir emotions I haven't felt for awhile. The film was amazing, I'm actually quite speechless and of course there were plenty of tears. Bravo to you Debbie, the actors and everyone else involved, this needs to be seen.
Carla Regan, Australia
I wanted to write this review immediately after watching Peekaboo, so that I could recall my initial response to it. I was crying a lot by the end of this incredibly moving short film.
The film gets straight into showing the aftermath of the loss of a baby. Moving house must be a very difficult choice for any parents who have lost a baby, as the baby becomes inextricably linked to the house you have most memory of them in. The choice about keeping some items is one that most parents face, and stumbling upon those items produces great emotion which is accurately portrayed by the actors playing the parents.
I recall cradling Finley’s clothes just like that. The memory of holding my stillborn baby is so powerful, that cradling his clothes even now brings back those precious moments. People who have not been through a loss, may see the mother caring for the baby’s clothes and making bottles as extreme and perhaps illness. As a Mum who has lost a baby it is very easy to see how living in that fantasy world is easier than facing what has happened. I am sure that most baby loss parents can recognise elements of that behaviour in themselves. I know I can, I vividly remember a new routine in the early days of going into Finley’s room and drawing the curtains, turning on the light only later to return to an empty nursery with an empty cot and turn the light off.
The role of the Dad is portrayed so sensitively, showing his own private grief while looking at the memory box. And also showing the care and support he gave his wife, in helping her face up to what happened. The last scene is a very beautiful ending – a family together in mind and heart.
Author of After Finley – mother to Poppet and Finley in her heart and Toni-Joi in her arms.
I'd like to say a big thank you to Alasdair MacHardy for being our first backer and getting the ball rolling. The first of many I hope. Thanks Alasdair!
Anonymous (not verified)