Find Me A Witch

Created by Phil Mulryne, The Pitch 2020

Description

A marginalised woman with a dark ability agrees to help her worst enemy - leading to new compassion on both sides. FIND ME A WITCH is a character-led, morally nuanced film, punctuated by spectacle and action. We first meet THE WITCH barely scraping a living, ostracised from a nearby village. Fleeting moments of sympathy (an older villager smuggling her bread) are matched by aggressive prejudice (stone-throwing youths). Then a stranger arrives with his son, asking her to do something forbidden in the Kingdom - raise a spirit from the dead. In reality this man is THE KING himself, the very man who’s put a price on her life. But he’s desperate for guidance now his Kingdom is surrounded by enemies. In a terrifying ritual the Witch raises THE PROPHET - the King’s old advisor. But he offers no comfort, foretelling the King and his son will die in battle. Yet this sparks the Witch’s empathy. She makes a meal for the King, and reveals how she gained her ability after losing a young son. Forsaking her evil practice would mean leaving her boy - the first spirit she sees whenever she conjures. Then the King leaves, to face his fate.

Biblical Connection

1 Samuel 28 tells a mysterious story peppered by startlingly earthy, human moments. The prophet Samuel had previously told King Saul he’d lose his kingdom, after he disobeyed God. Later, after Samuel’s death, Israel faces a huge army. Saul has expelled mediums from the land, but in desperation now sources one, going to her in disguise and asking her to raise Samuel. Samuel’s ghost only repeats that Saul will lose the kingdom - and he and his sons will die in battle. Saul collapses - we’re told he’d eaten nothing all day. So the medium urges him to eat and prepares him a meal, before he leaves. Our adaptation retains much of this plot, but we centre the female ‘witch’, crafting her as a complex, three dimensional character. The supernatural elements afford scope for a love of modern horror and fantasy film and TV, grounded in a complicated morality refracted through the prism of two compromised characters. This story then offers up timeless themes - grief and love, death and our fear of it, and an examination of the tragic inevitability of fate. Finally, in today’s world of rising tribalism, this story sees two enemies arriving at sympathy and compassion for one another.