The Blood Bride, Directed by Hannah McKibbin and Caspar Leopard (United Kingdom) - When a young woman held captive by a trafficking gang is shot, she falls into a surreal journey through her subconscious as she battles for her life. We were horrified to discover that there are an estimated 40 million victims of human trafficking in the world today. Most of those victims are women and children. Inspired by the psychedelic films of the 70s, we wanted to create a story that spoke about this issue through powerful visual metaphor but was also anchored by meaningful dramatic narrative. The Blood Bride is a surreal revenge film: it is a metaphorical story about an abused and silenced woman remembering her own divinity and rising into her power to overthrow an oppressive patriarchal system. It is an empowering feminist narrative, reflective of the post ‘Me Too’ world we are living in. Abstract and experimental elements (sparse dialogue, dreamworld metaphors, and a score that at times leans towards the uncomfortable) exist within the framework of a narrative drama in order to reflect the discombobulation that our heroine, Stella, experiences as she journeys through her subconscious towards death. Reflecting Jung’s theory that the subconscious speaks in metaphor, the film is littered with ideas that allow the audience the space to interpret Stella’s experience in their own way. By fusing the real with the surreal, we were able to go inside Stella’s head in order to delve beneath the surface of the human trafficking issue, creating a film that speaks about the power of the vulnerable to access their inner strength, even in times of desperate hardship. Moving away from the supporting role that music traditionally plays in film, we felt that it was important to give the music and film an equal footing to emphasise the immersive, sometimes uncomfortable world that we explore in this film. To achieve this, Caspar Leopard (co-writer / co-director / composer) wrote the music at the same time that we wrote and developed the story. This allowed these two elements to evolve and influence each other throughout the creative process, giving the music the chance to take a lead role in the story telling and carry the audience deep into Stella’s subconscious.