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Film premiere kicks off with Penalty

Intrusive thoughts can be a nightmare but imagine if the thoughts weren’t your own …

When twentysomethings Danny and Jada arrive at a hotel, it soon becomes clear that they are surrounded by people who want something from them. With dated décor and staff and guests performing bizarre routines, checking out may seem like the best option. But do they have a choice?

To screen a film called Penalty on the day of England’s World Cup quarter-final has to be more than a coincidence. But this is not a film about the beautiful game. The actors who will be taking their bow are all from Manchester’s fringe community. Many have been homeless, most of them have issues that have kept them out of the mainstream of life.

They are the stars of company of actors Acting on Impulse, a Manchester charity which is a ministry from Altrincham Baptist Church, which has enjoyed creating films and stage performances with people on the margins since 2007.

Lauren Pouchly, founder and Artistic director: “The focus of storytelling has always been to get beneath the surface of homelessness issues, using the ideas, experience and talent of the people who join our acting workshops. But this year, Penalty felt like a chance to push the boundaries a little (well, a lot), to dare to be bold and not completely cling on to the usual format. We wanted to challenge the actors and create something with a fresh approach.

“Perception and judgement are issues that confront their daily lives, so we picked this up. Horror as a genre came to mind as a chance to look at these themes in a wild, fun and slightly wacky way.”

The workshops, directed by Rachel Muter, enabled the actors to explore the themes and draw out ideas for characters, setting and plot. They also received training in movement, which plays a significant part in setting the film’s atmosphere.

Penalty was written and directed by Lauren Pouchly. It was shot on location over three days at a hotel in Salford, with a cast of 21 and a 30-strong production team led by Producer Luke Filz: "I’ve been working with Acting on Impulse for five years now and every year the projects seem to get bigger and better. The part that the charity plays in supporting the cast and helping to develop their ideas is one of a kind. They are giving a voice to people who don’t usually have one.”

Along with the main feature and behind the scenes film, the audience will watch murder mystery film Trade Out. This was created in five outreach workshops held at agencies working in the homeless and recovery sectors, joined by students from Oasis Academy Oldham. The participants only know about their own part in the film. They will have to wait for the screening to find out whodunit.

Penalty is a film that gets under the skin of perception in an abstract way. With atmospheric music and unexpected special effects, people will be left guessing until the very end.

Screening date: Saturday 7 July 2018, 11am, HOME cinema
Tickets from Eventbrite

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