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Frontier

Daniel Elliott, Samm Haillay

United Kingdom

synopsis

Joshua (23) is a Soldier in the British Army. His baby daughter, Beth, has become his sense of purpose. He feels a profound responsibility to provide for her in a real and whole family unit.
He works tirelessly to achieve officer promotion, believing this will overcome reservations held by his fiancée, Karen, and convince her of his qualities as husband and provider. In the evenings he cares for his housebound mother. She is a burden, for which he feels both duty and resentment—a living reminder of his troubled upbringing.
Joshua is unnerved by the arrival of a returning soldier - Private Reese - whose past is intimately linked with his own. A spiralling conflict with Reese quickly becomes the external manifestation of the conflict within Joshua himself.
Joshua’s stature within his platoon shifts. If his chance of promotion is lost his ambitions for family and fatherhood will collapse. His whole being is threatened. And the soldier knows what to do when threatened.
He retrieves a contraband weapon from its hiding place and steps towards his enemy. He looks Reese in the eye, and shoots.

intention

Frontier takes its audience through a door marked PRIVATE into the working reality of the military and the psyche of one of its young men. Joshua is a soldier who, shaped by his mother and structured by the Army, lives in a state of perpetual motion - towards promotion and fatherhood - motorised by a deep-seated fear of his own fallibility.
The military and family unit serve as a crucible in which to explore tensions between individual and institution, and the universal conflicts we all face in seeking to achieve balance between the responsibilities of work and family.
Frontier is character-driven, employing elements of mystery and psychological horror to create a tense, kinetic experience that gets under the skin of anxieties faced by us all.
Frontier will move inside the rhythms of an institution that remains cinematically unexplored. The audience will experience an intimate reality inside the military garrison via the activities of a Private, its most abundant and expendable resource. The demands it makes upon his body, his psyche and emotions; the skills the military teaches him, the life it gives him; its tensions with the civilian parts of his life and self. This complex world of collective relationships and the conflicts within them will be rendered without stereotype, cliché or judgement.
The garrison and the various iterations of family home that we find in Frontier - the cluttered rooms of Margaret’s desolate bungalow; the middle class normality of Karen’s parents’ home; the ambivalent promise contained in the married quarters that might be Joshua’s new family home - embody the institutions Joshua struggles inside of. His movements are charged with the tension he feels within them.
I’m fascinated by the connection between the individual, their body and the landscape they inhabit; and the military working class landscape is one I’ve lived in and understand. My camera will move fluidly with Joshua and his trained physicality through the corridors, hallways, stairwells, bedrooms and dormitories of the garrison and family house. Frontier will be a film of motion and controlled aggression, in which external objects become resonant motifs whose meanings evolve with the progression of the narrative. It will be scored with the sounds of movement and struggle, conflict and dying that characterise Joshua’s internal and external worlds.
Frontier offers a visceral and compelling experience of stark military and domestic landscapes, within a thoroughly modern context.

budget & financing

Third Films is committed to developing films with the express intention of crossing the divide between artistic concerns and financial considerations. Creative vision and lyrical, provocative content are the cornerstones of the choices that we make. However we seek always to ensure a strong financial model and audience base on which to make these choices. Frontier is the first dramatic feature for Daniel Elliott. Third Films produced his award winning shorts Jade and The Making of Parts, which we presented at Berlin (2009) and Venice (2006) respectively. These films marked Daniel as a creative force in UK filmmaking and their international success in prizes and sales show there is a market for the types of films that Third makes with Daniel. The budget for Frontier is € 1.1m and we are in discussions with partners from across Britain with the BFI being central to the finance plan. We have identified Scotland as a great shooting location for this film as well as significant potential source of finance, and Scotland’s national screen agency has been tracking the project during development. Thus we are working with Brocken Spectre as Scottish co-producers. It is important that we do not limit the financing to sources from the British Isles only and we will also look to a European coproducer to help us secure European finance, including i2i (as the project was funded for development by MEDIA). We will also cashflow a percentage of the UK Producers Tax Credit and incorporate this in the budget. There are several firms in the UK who offer this service.

distribution & sales

Auteur cinema has demonstrated its significant sales potential for European films and Frontier is the debut of Daniel Elliott, who fits into this category. Daniel is a director of huge international potential, proved by his winning at several European festivals with his short films The Making of Parts and Jade. We believe that Frontier will have a life in cinemas and festivals at a national and international level as it deals with prescient subject matter that is relevant far beyond the UK. There is interest from several UK distributors but it remains to be seen if we are required by financiers to commit to a deal prior to production. Having the correct sales agent on board prior to production is important to us as a dynamic strategy for festivals and sales can be worked on concurrently to the film being made. We are in discussion with several companies who we feel are a good fit for this film and Daniel’s distinctive style. The world premiere of Frontier is vital and a competition slot at an A list festival is the aim: Cannes, Venice, Toronto or Berlin. We have strong relationships with all of these festivals and Daniel has been awarded at both Berlin and Venice. Following such a premiere we believe that to secure sales we need to ensure a long festival life and build word of mouth on the film to achieve our aim of distribution across the globe. A festival run is only part of the aim; we definitely understand the importance of such activity but we also acknowledge that sales to distributors are what help generate real audience figures, and a potential following for Daniel as a director. We are therefore keen to collaborate with distributors as well as our sales company.

Frontier is the end-game of a man’s private battle to belong: a war film without war, on another field of battle.
235-daniel-elliott
Daniel Elliott

Scriptwriter, Film Director

info@danielelliott.com

310-samm-haillay
Samm Haillay

Production

samm@thirdfilms.co.uk

production notes

directed by
Daniel Elliott

produced byThird Films
Kingsland Church Studios Priory Green Byker
NE6 5NN, Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom

in co-production with
Brocken Spectre - Scotland, UK

total production budget
€ 1.375.000

current financial need
€ 1.220.000