Aberystwyth alumni Rosie and Vasco de Sousa are producing their first feature film, Dara Says, a romantic comedy set in small village near Aberystwyth.
The two have worked together for years; both were founding members of the student filmmaking society, and Vasco was president of the student Film and TV society. Vasco graduated with a joint honours in Film and Television Studies and French, while Rosie studied biology and helped make films with the society in her spare time.
When Vasco wrote the script for Dara Says, he was inspired by the French theatre he studied at Aberystwyth University, including Molière’s Tartuffe. He had seen Tartuffe long before he came to Aberystwyth, being inspired by a visual performance of that play which he witnessed in Belgium. But in Aberystwyth he learned more of the story behind the creation of that play, and was exposed to a wider variety of texts, which helped inspire his love of classic European theatre and cinema from around the world.
Molière was an inspiration to Vasco, as were Goldoni and other great dramatists in France. The way they interacted with their own time, and made Greek and Roman stories contemporary, inspired Vasco to do the same for his work.
Though Rosie studied science, she always had an interest in art. During her time at the film society, she storyboarded films for the group newsletter, as well as helped design characters for other projects including one on Celtic mythology. Rosie continued her art after University, selling a painting at an exhibit through the Ceredigion Art Society and creating more work for display in local galleries.
The two got married while studying at Aberystwyth and have been making films together since, including historical documentaries and short comic skits. This will be their first feature length film.
Now that they’ve both graduated and have worked for others, they’re bringing their skills back together to finish a project that they started years ago. Dara Says is the story of an expat who works CCTV night shift, and his wife who lectures at university. Just as many of Molière’s leads are blind to the scheming of their heroes, Molly is too caught up in the Maxims of her idol, Dara, to see Dara’s true intentions. Vasco and Rosie thought it would be fun to have a female hypocrite as a contemporary version of Tartuffe; someone who hypocritically preaches the new etiquette of the self-help gurus in the same way that Tartuffe and the villain of L’École des femmes hypocritically preached the politesse of 18th century Catholic France.
After Vasco wrote the script, Rosie storyboarded it, and the two have worked together to plan out the shoot, schedule and budget it. They’ve found backers in five countries who are supporting the project, but none yet in Wales. If they fail to reach their goal by the 21st of February, all their backers will be refunded and they’ll have to start again from square one.
Dara Says is not yet fully financed, but should it reach its budget, the pair are considering hiring other Aberystwyth graduates to record sound, edit, and do other work involved in the production. They have already spoken to bodies like Go Wales about some of the advantages of hiring graduates, as well as looking at other local filmmakers who may be available for the shoot.
The Dara Says crowdfunding campaign ends on 21st February 2013.
If you’d like to find out more about Dara Says, or how to help support this film, please visit the Dara Sayswebsite at http://darasays.com and the crowdfunding page at http://www.pleasefund.us/projects/dara-says
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Dara Says will be shot very close to the Aberystwyth beach. Photo by the film’s director.
No sheep will be harmed in the filming of Dara Says. Photo taken by the director in A-baah-ystwyth.