A Slanderous Truth

Created by Neil Linpow, The Pitch 2022

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Inspired by unsolved ‘true crime’ adaptations and exploring themes of uncertainty and assumed guilt, our story is about a single mother living in the aftermath of the unsolved disappearance of her daughter. We’ll introduce a flawed character, the type so often cast by the press as a villain. Not a middle class grieving mother, but someone young, from a different socially economic background. Someone who's not media friendly and has been made hard as she carries a cloud of doubt and notoriety. We'll see how hard juggling parental and working life with no support network is for her. How any semblance of personal life, while difficult before, is now impossible. She seems initially cold and remorseless, but we'll explore her tender side too, showing that her children really are important to her. We'll hint at evidence that contradicts and supports her story about the disappearance, leaving the audience to pick up clues as our story unfolds. She's always maintained a steadfast innocence, but our film takes her on a journey of self acceptance. Truth in reality is a grey area, and it’s truly a cathartic moment when she finally accepts that she is at fault, and in some ways has failed her child. It's the first path to forgiveness. Even if only for herself.

Biblical Connection

Psalms 109:1-5 RSV - David is a character rife for exploration. His journey has so much depth for interpretation. I’m especially struck by his relationship with his children. Absalom in particular. The wedge driven between them over a rape/murder involving two other siblings, resulting in Absalom's banishment and subsequent return to take back power from his father. What that story might look like in the ‘true crime’ age? If you strip away some of those layers, there's a great modern story about a neglectful parent, a missing child, and the repercussions of the subsequent media fallout. How slander can ruin a person’s life, especially when it bears relation to something true. We’ll take a complex, struggling mother character that prioritised her own needs over her childrens. Having been dragged through the media frenzy when her daughter dissapeared, she lives in notoriety and assumed guilt everywhere she goes. We’ll follow her attempts to reconnect with society as she attends group therapy sessions, all the time suffering with the guilt that her own choices have led to this. We'll bring a sympathy and relatability to her as she navigates the negativity and abuse, but leave the truth of the disappearance and her daughters true fate, ambiguous.