Created by Jonathan Kemp, The Pitch 2015

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I’m pitching the Biblical story of Ruth. My version transposes the Bible story, more or less intact into an immigrant community in present day England. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi have fled their home country due to a military conflict that took the rest of their family. They went through a lot to survive and establish a new life in the west, but now find themselves slaves in the service of a trafficking ring. Naomi is not well and Ruth knows she won’t survive long in these conditions. It’s the love that she has for her mother-in-law that inspires Ruth to defy their gangmaster, leaving their accommodation unaccompanied to track down a relative of Naomi’s who is believed to live in the same city. Ruth asks him to find the money to purchase Naomi, but Boaz offers to sell all of his concerns in exchange for both Naomi and Ruth’s freedom. Later he and Ruth get married and start a family. To me this is the story of a strong woman’s struggle to survive and live in dignity, and about the redemptive power of love. It’s Ruth’s selfless and sacrificial actions that ultimately lead to her own salvation. Additional information about the Pitcher's previous films: I have written and directed two shorts recently. The first one �Michael� won a prize at the �Unchosen Modern Day Slavery� film competition [judged by Ken Loach] and screened at the Raindance Film Festival, amongst others in 2015. It can be seen here: [Password: Tern] The second short is also a film focused on a modern slavery story and is currently in the final stages of post-production. The film, �Victoria� was made with Andy Toovey, Enter the Pitch�s winner from 2015. It is not fully polished, but can be viewed here: [Password: victoria]. I am also a Film and Media lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire.

Biblical Connection

I’ve tried to take a story from the Bible and tell it as faithfully as possible. A lot of Bible stories don’t seem to lend themselves to a literal transplant to the modern day since so many Bible stories take place in a society so different from ours. I’ve wanted to tell the story of Ruth for a while but something that seemed central to my understanding of it; that Boaz literally purchases Naomi and Ruth seems so alien to our modern western way of life. It was the thought of combining Ruth with a subject matter that I’m passionate and already making films about; modern day slavery, that seemed to be a solution to the problem. The current refugee crisis also inspired me to incorporate that into the story, creating something that is at once topical and a direct transplant of the Ruth story and also an exploration of Biblical ideas of personal freedom.