A Leighton Buzzard writer and director is crowdfunding for a new horror film which unlocks the hidden voices of Britain’s dark, colonial past.
Cassiah Joski-Jethi, 25, is working on a chilling production called ‘Catch a Butcher’, which tells the story of a 19th century Indian maternity ward that descends into terror when mixed race babies start to disappear.
The team already has half its finance from various sources and is looking for sponsors and crowdfunding for the remaining £17,000, intending to start filming in January.
Cassiah said: “I think with a horror film there’s such an opportunity to put out a really difficult social message that can be awkward to talk about.
“However, when it’s wrapped up in a film it makes it accessible. ”
The fictional film explores the power of the British Empire over India, and is based on a period of history when Indian women could be stripped of their parental rights if they gave birth to a mixed race baby, with children sent back to the UK and “Anglicised”.
For Cassiah, whose mother is an American with German and Polish parents, and whose father was born to Indian parents and raised in Canada, it is a story she’s passionate about.
Cassiah said: “I’m half Indian and half white. I felt an incredible pressure from society to ‘choose’ my white side above all else. I didn’t have many friends at school and I didn’t want people to make fun of me. In the late 90s people were not as open and accepting as we are now.”
The film is a metaphor for this pressure, whilst also acting as a voice for the Indian mothers who lost their babies.
With her school days firmly behind her, Cassiah has embraced her Indian heritage, having included some untranslated lines of Hindi in the film to encourage viewers to research the language.
The LBO has previously featured Cassiah and her award-winning directorial debut, Polly, which tackled the issues of societal femininity.