Sapper Smith - A Short Film about a Fearless Female Soldier
Based on a true story, Dorothy undergoes a dangerous transformation into a British male soldier to report from the front lines of WWI.
At the outbreak of WWI, a young British journalist named DOROTHY LAWRENCE, yearns to experience the war firsthand as a reporter in the trenches. She approaches her editor to support her bid as a war correspondent, but he laughs her off, telling her that women can only write ‘fluff pieces.
Dorothy responds by traveling to France as a freelance reporter where she meets two cheeky soldiers, TOM and BILL, in a Parisian inn. She makes a daunting request to them -- to help her reach the front lines by transforming her into a male soldier.
Moved by her passion to serve, but aware of the risks at hand, Dorothy is taught how to look, walk, and talk like a man, and drill and march like a soldier. Soon, ‘Sapper Denis Smith’ is born, but Dorothy’s biggest test is yet to come.
Saying good-bye to her “Khaki Accomplice,” Dorothy now leaves for the trenches. As she approaches the army camp alone, she encounters a familiar face who may jeopardize her true identity. Will she make it past the army camp guards or will her true identity be discovered?
Why is this project important?
For many years, Dorothy’s story has remained largely unknown because she was a woman who did the unimaginable – boldly heading to the front lines as a war correspondent. There are many women and femmes throughout history whose stories are given a blind eye, and even today, we are still fighting for our rights universally which makes her story that much more relatable to us as a majority female filmmaking team.
Dorothy used her feminine characteristics to her greatest advantage. She transgressed gender lines in her quest to report on the Front and proved that women can be just as courageous, ambitious, and resilient as men. We want to give a platform to female-driven stories portraying women with myriad hopes and dreams who have the strength and perseverance to accomplish.
What will the money go towards?
- Cast: The role of Dorothy Lawrence is as demanding as it is exhilarating. We, therefore, need to undergo an intense casting process in order to find a talent that embraces Dorothy's spirit in its entirety.
- Crew: Most of the crew are Goldsmiths MA students, but to have the best, most authentic period film, we will hire in a Production Designer, Costume Designer, 1st Assistant Director, Script Supervisor, Grip, and more who can contribute to the efficiency and value of the production.
- Location: In order to achieve the authentic look and feel of the early 1900s, we aspire to shoot the outdoor scenes of this film in open air museums that feature WW1 tanks as well as authentic WW1 campsites and armory.
- Equipment: In order to ensure a high-quality outcome, we will invest a large part of our budget into renting professional equipment such as a camera dolly, a jib rig, and Steadicam stabilization. Also HMI lighting and gripping equipment will be required.
- Wardrobe: Wardrobe for this film is crucial! For Dorothy Lawrence, her “Khaki Accomplices,” and the background actors, we will need authentic wardrobe from that time, including dresses, skirts, hats, accessories, and most importantly, WWI military uniforms.
- Travel: To capture the “French countryside,” we will have to travel outside of London to film particular scenes. The costs for travel will include location scouting, transport of the equipment, and transport of the entire cast and crew
Meet your filmmakers
Born and raised in Southern California, Emily Morales comes from a background in Screenwriting and graduated from California State University, Northridge. She moved across the pond to pursue her studies and career in Producing at Goldsmiths, University of London. As an aspiring writer-producer, Emily has work experience with several production companies, such as London-based Blink Films and Lionsgate Motion Pictures in Santa Monica, California. She is passionate about creative storytelling portraying strong female characters who are not only inspiring, but completely bad-ass.
Vida Breže is an actor / writer / director based in London. Coming from an acting background, she's passionate about achieving genuine and fresh performances of actors that she works with. Besides that, she is equally passionate of high visual aesthetics. She has worked with a wide range of visual formats and genres, from documentary, to drama, and to a variety of videos achieving high acclaim for her work.
Liza Jane Wiedemann is a development producer from Germany. She acquired a bachelor's degree in Media & Entertainment Management from NHTV University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands). After directing multiple short documentaries and promotional videos, she moved on to an internship at Germany's largest privately owned television corporation, ProSiebenSat.1, developing branded entertainment television broadcast concepts. During her internship at ‘Explain It GmbH’ in Munich, she was responsible for the production, animation and editing of educational video clips for Daimler AG, Johnson & Johnson, the Bavarian Ministry of Justice, and many more.
Amanda Eberhardt is an Atlanta-based writer and media creative whose passion lies in telling immersive, emotive, and inclusive stories, especially period pieces featuring strong central female/femme characters. She has attended writing programmes at the University of Cambridge, Arcadia University London, UCLA, and Chapman University. In 2016, Amanda graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Writing for Film and Television from Emerson College. Her original drama pilot, Year Without Summer, featured as a Second Rounder in the AMC One Hour Pilot division at the Austin Film Festival in 2017.
Director of Photography
Born in Porto, Portugal, Tomás Ferreira is currently an MA student at Goldsmiths University in London, undergoing the Cinematography course. In his curriculum as an Undergraduate in ESMAE, Porto, he received a degree in Audio and Visual Technologies, specializing in Photography and Video. He has worked as Director of Photography for a number of projects ranging from fiction, fashion, film, to documentary. He has also participated in exhibitions of his Landscape photography and Fashion photography work.
Yuechen Jiang is currently an MA Cinematography student at Goldsmiths, University of London. With a Media Communications background, she has previously worked on various short films and commercials both in the UK and China, and is eager to further extend her work range in feature films. Having worked with the director and producer in a feature short previously, Yuechen is now confident and excited to collaborate with them again on this period film to bring out its fullest cinematic potential.
Sound Recordist and Designer
Naomi Waverley-Hudson is a London based sound designer and recordist. Having graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in music, they went on to study sound design at Goldsmiths and has worked on a range of short films, including dramas, fantasy and animation.