It’s a wrap for Barking playwright’s £5,500 feature film

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 August 2018

Silvano Griffith-Francis in Family Secrets. Picture: Tom Cressey/SVG Productions

Silvano Griffith-Francis in Family Secrets. Picture: Tom Cressey/SVG Productions

Tom Cressey/SVG Productions

A playwright who ditched the BBC to direct her own movies is putting the finishing touches on her first feature film.

Cast of Family Secrets. Picture: Tom Cressey/SVG ProductionsCast of Family Secrets. Picture: Tom Cressey/SVG Productions

Silvano Griffith-Francis, of Puffin Close, wrote, directed and starred in Family Secrets, a comedy-drama shot around Barking.

She and her crew put together the film on a shoestring budget of around £5,500 — half of which came from her own pocket.

“We had a lot of help from a lot of people and [asked] a lot of favours,” she laughed.

“We begged, we borrowed: we drew the line at stealing.”

Scene from Family Secrets. Picture: SVG ProductionsScene from Family Secrets. Picture: SVG Productions

Friends lent their house and office space for the film. Her church, Elim Christian Centre in Axe Street, became the setting for a wedding scene.

“People really rallied together to support it,” she added.

“It was great.”

The film, which is suitable for children over the age of 12, is about three siblings: the Matthews.

Viewed from the outside, the trio seem an ideal family. Ruth is successful and happily married, her brother, Zac, fresh out of university with a top degree. Their sister Naomi will soon tie the knot, but will the “forced smiles and restrained conversations” — Silvano’s words — hold? Is there an ugly undercurrent beneath a shimmering surface?

These ideas, according to Silvano, came from observing fellow church-goers.

“We can be a bit guarded or we can put up a shield because we think there’s something going on in our lives that no-one else would understand, not realising that sometimes that other person’s got something going on as well,” she said.

Believers proved fertile ground for Silvano’s ideas. Her play Life Begins looked at middle-aged singledom through the eyes of four Christian friends turning 40.

While Silvano said her upcoming film steers away from a conventional ending with everything “tied up at the end,” she hints that the siblings find out “they are not by themselves” and have their family’s support.

Family Secrets premieres on Saturday, September 22 at Elim Christian Centre. Doors 6.30pm.

Tickets cost £12 if purchased before August 26, £15 after.

To book your place, click here.

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