Emmanuel House ‘Sanctuary’

Raising awareness for the causes behind homelessness

Sanctuary was a commission from Emmanuel House, a support centre inNottingham. They wanted to create a short film which explored the circumstancesaround homelessness by telling the story of one man’s experience, in his ownwords.


The production for this was expansive with a myriad of logisticalchallenges, against a limited budget and tight turnaround. The script calledfor 15 scenes in 9 different locations, with a cast a dozen strong workingwithin a shooting period of just 4 days.


Fairly early on in the process we made the creative choice to lose allon-screen dialogue, retaining only the simple voiceover of the man’s story.This pared-down approach we thought would help the message to hit home withmore impact. Shooting on the Arri Alexa Mini using predominantly naturallighting and vintage lenses really helped shape the visual language of thepicture.


The sound was designed in a way which captures the struggle of themain character, whilst also offering a little bit of hope, which is ultimatelywhat Emmanuel House are there to provide. The sound design was intended toreflect the headspace of the narrator, who is engulfed in childhood trauma, andthe voiceover itself was delivered in a way to make it feel almost like aninternal monologue, as if you - the audience - are trespassing directly intothe thoughts of the narrator. Nailing the music was a challenge as well, with10 different music tracks being trialled before we found one which hit themark.