Farewell She Goes is in pre-production and you can read more about it here
To support the Farewell She Goes production fund
We pledge to create opportunities for the people we don't see enough of in front and behind the camera: women, black people and underrepresented groups.
We pledge to share this important story about race, female friendship and women's rights.
We pledge to create partnerships with organisations and charities to raise awareness and funding for social movements such as women's rights and Black Lives Matter.
Stories matter. You can’t become what you’ve never seen. The burning question remains then: why do the majority of period films that we see either entirely neglect Black people or continue to tell the same tired narratives of crime, civil rights and slavery?
FAREWELL SHE GOES is here to challenge this and to change it. By placing a friendship between a white and a mixed race woman at its heart, where race is relevant but is not dominant and where the bond of sisterhood trumps the societal doctrine of marriage, it tells a story of possibility. Possibility for a real seismic change.
Cat White, Co-Creator
Recent events have just starkly emphasised the importance of telling this story. Why has cinema been so reductive, so white. The white community have said we'll step up, we'll donate, we'll educate, we'll read, we'll shout. But actions speak louder than words. We cannot let this be another social media uproar where nothing changes.
Dido and Elizabeth's story has never felt more relevant. Here we have an unbreakable bond between a white woman and a mixed race woman who grew up as sisters, as best friends but most importantly as equals in their own eyes.
Isabella Speaight, Co-Creator
Inspired by the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804), Farewell She Goes is a late 18th century story about two young women who sneak away from their strict stately home existence to lay their pet canary to rest. One white, one mixed race; these are cousins bonded by more than blood. Stood at the cusp of the ocean, it soon transpires that one of them is pregnant, and they contemplate what should be done.
Why are we telling this story?
For years, women in film have poured the tea, kissed the lips and been talked at by men. Now, finally, they've started talking (PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, BOOKSMART). We are creating a film that seeks to help this wave of change grow to a tsunami.
This is a story where two women, their intricacies and complexities as individuals, and their relationship with the world and with each other is unashamedly and deservedly the sole focus. This being a friendship between a white and a mixed-race woman, with their lives inextricably linked, is something that we still seldom see in a modern context - let alone a period film.
The period drama genre has seen waves of interest in the past year, but still black women are relegated to playing the maid; a footnote in the history books. Not only is this factually incorrect - for wealthy, independent women of colour existed, as evidenced in the historical reality of Dido Elizabeth Belle - but it is a disservice to the inclusive and expansive stories that we could be telling.
The heart of this story is a friendship between two women, grappling with life changing circumstances, whose secrets lie at the bottom of the ocean and whose hearts lie with each other.
A feature script for Farewell She Goes is in development and we plan to use this short as a proof of concept to gain sufficient financial support to shoot the feature-length version.
Written by Claire Tailyour
Directed by Sophie King
Cinematography by Ann Evelin Lawford
Co-produced by Savannah Power
A couple of months ago a friend posted on Facebook
‘Anyone got any films about female friendship you’d recommend?’
I stopped and thought about it for a while. Which films were there that I could suggest, that were entirely about female friendship? Not at all to do with a man? The Bechdel test reared its head and challenged me. Pitifully, I could think of very few mainstream films that do follow this. When Isabella and Cat approached me with FAREWELL SHE GOES, I was delighted to read a script that really was purely about female friendship. This doesn’t mean it’s all happiness and sunshine, of course, because that’s not what female friendship is. Even in this brief window into the world of our two protagonists, we see love, frustration and admiration play out in full. These are rounded characters with flaws, and they are all the better for it.
Through the metaphor of what to do with the ill-fated canary, these women consider the illegitimate pregnancy at hand and what should be done. This too appealed to me, as it is a conversation we still comparatively rarely see on screen. Whether to have a child or not is still presented as a fairly clear choice: if you are married, do, if you are not, do not. But when there is life growing inside of you, this is surely not such a simple decision to make. In putting these issues through a period drama lens, I actually feel that Isabella and Cat have made them feel even more pertinent, by highlighting how little has changed over the centuries, and how we still need to lift the stigma on such topics.
I’m hugely excited by the potential to bring a modern and authored directorial approach to the film. I want to push myself to make bold choices and take the audience on an emotional roller coaster.
I hope that FAREWELL SHE GOES will inspire many other future filmmakers, female or not, to consider how drama does not have to be centred around a romantic relationship, and that period dramas in particular do not all have to be about discussing the best potential suitor over afternoon tea.