"Live To Tell"

Created by Stephen T Lally, The Pitch 2017

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“Live To Tell” is a unique parable of friendship and forgiveness. It explores the extraordinary friendship between troubled Jessica Trent and her imaginary friend - feline warrior “Empress ClawScream” - throughout three decades. Eight-year-old Jessica, an only child in a single parent family, is mercilessly bullied at school. She’s a timid girl with an overbearing mother - but a feverish imagination. Her toy ClawScream comes to life as her supernatural friend who teaches her to be kind, strong and independent. Ten years later, the complicated relationship with her mother deepens when Jessica falls in love with a girl and her mother disapproves. It’s ClawScream who Jessica turns to in times of despair, and she stops Jessica from committing the unthinkable. When Jessica’s mother dies ten years later, Jessica returns to her old home and finds her ClawScream toy again. With her imaginary friend’s help, Jessica learns to forgive her mother - and herself - for all their ills. Letting go of bitterness, Jessica rediscovers her joy for life. The story was developed with award-winning writer Deborah Espect, and has attracted the hair and prosthetic artists Nina Butkovich-Budden and Astrid Stebich, and the puppeteering wizardry of Muppet maven Andrew James Spooner.

Biblical Connection

Forgiveness and reconciliation - two central tenets of Christianity - are fundamental elements of our film. It’s inspired by the Book of Philemon, a letter written by Paul the Apostle to a Christian named Philemon whose slave Onesimus wronged him. Paul felt that Onesimus should return to Philemon under a bond of familial love, and be accepted back in a bond of forgiveness and reconciliation. In our film, Paul becomes ClawScream, and we’ve switched the roles of the older and younger characters of Philemon and Onesimus to Jessica and her mother. ClawScream was a 'villain' in the TV series her toy originated from. Before becoming an Apostle, Paul was - by his own words - “a persecutor and a violent aggressor”. Despite her past, ClawScream imbues Jessica with integrity throughout her life. ClawScream’s the wise confidante Jessica trusts implicitly, and who teaches her forgiveness - akin to the role Paul plays for Philemon. Paul’s sending Onesimus back to Philemon so that Philemon’s capacity for forgiveness comes from his own desire and out of love, not compulsion. ClawScream similarly leaves this choice up to Jessica. It’s of her own volition that Jessica needs to forgive her mother, and herself, for leaving.