The Game

London, United Kingdom | Film Short

Drama, Sport

Ellerton Suri

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This campaign raised $13,780 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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Playing football in the park becomes a new frontier for Ben but for his dad, John, who’s chronically ill, it’s an opportunity to perform a miracle for his son. As appearances start to fray and John falls, he is forced to face his mortality and accept help from his seven-year old son.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Film has the power to touch people on a profound level, fostering empathy and understanding. Our goal with THE GAME is to create a visually captivating and emotionally resonant short film that portrays the physical and emotional challenges faced by disabled and/or chronically ill parents.

The Story

(Image Description: Poster for a film. Young boy with his back to camera, lifting his right leg to kick a soccer ball. He wears a short sleeve shirt and shorts, both green. He is in a sunny park with shrubbery on his right and a tall metal fence about ten feet in front of him. Blue sky and white clouds above him. On the top of the poster it reads "The Game: A short film directed by Charlotte Gwinner and written by Simon Bent." On the bottom of the poster it reads: "Photo by Dominika Roseclay.")


As Olivia anxiously departs from the local park, leaving her husband, John, and their seven-year-old son, Ben, behind, John reassures her that everything will be alright. Despite being at a critical stage in his chronic illness, John is determined to have a "normal" day out.  But when Ben eagerly runs ahead, excited to play football, John is faced with the undeniable challenge that lies ahead. He offers up his walking stick as a second post but as appearances start to fray and he succumbs to gravity and falls, he is forced to face his mortality and accept help from his seven-year old son.

The Game is a character driven, wry parable about wishful thinking, pride and learning to live with limitations. Told using a hyper-realistic and poetic style, a snatched moment between a father and son becomes a poignant event, drawing painful truths to the surface and challenging their expectations of each other.

(Image description: Side view of a man's torso, arms and upper legs. One hand is behind his back, one hand is holding a cane or walking stick. He is wearing a blue button down shirt and blue jeans and appears to be walking in a park.)

THE GAME elevates a normally mundane situation - a father and son playing football in the park - to a high stakes arena, almost in the style of a classic Western. Each character denies the truth of the situation but that denial leads to consequences that will affect their relationship forever.

(Image description: A scene from an old Western. A man in a blue shirt, brown pants, brown boots, and cowboy hat holds out his left hand towards a young boy of about 7 wearing a black period suit. They stand in a desert-like Western landscape with a brown hill dotted with green shrubs.)


This project has been developed by a core creative team who all have personally felt the complexities of parenting chronic illness and disabliity. Up until now, in our professional lives in film and theatre we have found ourselves in other people's stories, but with this film we're hitting a milestone as we're finally telling our own stories. Our BAFTA nominated writer, Simon Bent, was inspired to write this script after parenting his son alongside a diagnosis of early on-set Parkinson's disease. When she isn't producing, our producer Suri Ellerton, is raising three young children while managing the symptoms and morbidities of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Our director, Charlotte Gwinner parents alongside her disabled partner. This film authentically reflects our lived experience.

It is rare to find a piece of media that explores the daily life of a disabled parent. In a parent-child relationship, the expectation of caring is on the adult. But in a family with a parent with a disability, often the roles are reversed. The emotions that surround that experience are complex. There may be some pride in seeing our children show themselves to be capable of caring or taking on a more 'adult' role, but there is often a deep sense of shame and guilt that comes along with it, due to messaging we get about what makes a good parent in an ableist society. This film will bring this experience out into the open and allow for a better discussion to be had around it, which we believe it will help people feel seen and less alone and hopefully will enable the community to find solutions and support.

Why is this important to us?

Aside from just looking to make a great film, we want to reach audiences that personally identify with the themes portrayed in this story, particularly families affected by chronic illness and/or disability. It is of utmost importance to us that audiences who have gone through the complexities of navigating illness within their own families feel seen and represented. We aim to raise awareness about the experience of living and parenting with these conditions, a topic that is too rarely discussed and ultimately impacts the world's view on disability. To achieve this, we are dedicated to organizing screenings and talkbacks in collaboration with charities and organizations that support families affected by chronic illness and disability. We are already planning collaborations with EDS Awareness/Chronic Pain Partners as well as other organizations (thank you for your support!) Following in person screenings, we'll arrange for online distribution in order to ensure that those who are unable to leave their homes (due to disability or otherwise) have access to this film.

(Image description: A logo featuring a blue circle with a yellow ribbon that says EDS Awareness Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes.)


We already have a fantastic core creative team, and have recently cast the brilliant Rory Keenan (Somewhere Boy, The Duchess, Peaky Blinders) to play the lead role of John and the adorable Jack O' Conner to play Ben.

We plan to film over two days in a park in London and are hoping to shoot and edit the film by end of 2023.

We need your support! Alongside all of the expenses that normally go into a film (cost of crew, equipment, location fees, transportation), we also need financial support to make sure that our film set is fully accessible, which includes costs like accessible transport for our wheelchair using team members. We are asking for what we need to get the film shot, but every extra dollar will critically go towards post-production costs (editing, music, sound) which also includes accessibility considerations such as closed captioning and audio description.

Please join us and take advantage of this unique opportunity to support this film and help start an important conversation about chronic illness and parenting!

Thanks and looking forward to going on this journey together!


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Actors and casting

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Crew salaries

Costs $4,500

Help us hire a great crew to make this film!


Costs $1,500

This will help us get permits for our shooting location, as well as our needs for the set (weather cover, etc.)

Accessibility costs

Costs $2,280

Help us get our disabled crew members to and from set, and make it possible for them to work comfortably while there!

Equipment hire

Costs $2,700

Help us get camera, lighting and sound equipment for our shoot!

About This Team


(Image description: Three headshots side by side. The leftmost image is a medium shot of a woman sitting with her legs crossed, looking to her left, wearing a purple turtleneck and jeans, holding an open script in her hand. The middle image is a close up of a man with wearing a blue collared shirt, looking off to his right. The rightmost image is of a woman wearing black glasses, yellow earrings, and a blue shirt looking straight to camera.)

Charlotte Gwinner: Charlotte is an award-winning theatre director working across Film and TV. She has over 20 years of experience directing shows on mainstages across the UK, last year directing a critically acclaimed production of The Long Song by Andrea Levy at Chichester Festival Theatre. She was Associate Director at Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and The National Theatre, Sheffield Crucible, The Bush and interim Artistic Director at Clean Break as well as Founder and Artistic Director of ANGLE. Last year, she was invited to join the Directors Series at NFTS on a Screenskills Bursary and she is currently developing a Feature as a co-writer/director on Screen Yorkshire’s innovative FLEX scheme.

Simon Bent: Simon is a BAFTA nominated British screenwriter and playwright. His plays have been produced at The National Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe, London's West End, Broadway, and internationally. Television/film credits include The Yellow House (dir: Chris Durlacher); Sex, the City and Me (dir: Philippa Lowthorpe); This Charming Man (dir: Philippa Lowthorpe), and Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry (dir: Paul Tickell), for which he was nominated for a BAFTA. His theatre works include Bad Company, Goldhawk Road (Time Out best play and nominated for a London Evening Standard Award) Sugar Sugar (Bush Theatre, London); Shelter (Connections/National Theatre Studio, London); The Trouble with Girls (National Theatre Studio, London); Accomplices (Sheffield Crucible/National Theatre, London; nominated for Barclays best play); The Escapologist (Suspect Culture/Theatre Royal, Plymouth); The Associate, A prayer for Owen Meany (National Theatre, London); Under the Black Flag (Shakespeare’s Globe, London); Elling (Bush Theatre/Trafalgar Studios, London; Whatsonstage best comedy and nominated for an Olivier Award); Branded (Old Vic, London); and Prick Up Your Ears (Comedy Theatre, London).

Suri Ellerton: Suri is a film and television producer working across the global industry. She started her career assisting on productions in the US and then spent a number of years working on international productions in Israel, including Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS. In 2015, Suri moved to the UK and started producing short films, including award winning GANEF starring Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera, which has been screened in over 30 festivals internationally and was long listed for the Academy Awards. She's a current member of BAFTA’s emerging talent program, BAFTA Connect, and previously was a part of BFI Network x BAFTA crew. She started Same Name Productions with business partner Sarah Ben-Yair and is developing long form features and series.

(Image description: two headshots side by side. The left image is a medium shot of a man in his 30's or 40's looking straight to camera, wearing a blue collared shirt. The right image is a medium shot of a young boy smiling to camera. He is wearing a black jacket with a red sweatshirt underneath.)

Rory Keenan: Rory is an Irish actor working in theatre, film, and television. Film and TV credits include: Channel 4’s Somewhere Boy, Netflix’s The Duchess, BBC’s Versailles, War & Peace and Peaky Blinders. Theatre credits include the National Theatre’s acclaimed production of Trouble In Mind as well as at BAM, New York and Wyndhams Theatre in the West End as Jamie in Long Day’s Journey Into Night directed by Sir Richard Eyre, and at The Donmar Warehouse in Saint Joan and Welcome Home Captain Fox.

Jack O' Connor: Jack is an actor from Liverpool known for Enemy of the Heart and Last Day of Winter.

A special shout out to the amazing cinematographer Felix Schmilinsky who helped us film our campaign video (just the park footage obviously :) )

Current Team