Private Project


In a world where data is our only currency, a career-driven young mother is forced to fight for her way of life when a global tech giant comes to claim a debt.

A.R.P.U. – which stands for ‘average revenue per user’ – is a short dystopian film inspired by the Netflix documentary ‘The Great Hack’ and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The film explores our relationship with our online data, and what could happen when we give it away so freely.

Maeve Fairfeld is a woman who seems to balance it all; the loving family, the wonderful home and the successful career. That is, until the day Mr Jones knocks on her door. An employee of Tekhnes, the tech giant that owns everything from your fit watch to your home hub, he is here to call in a debt. As a dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues, it becomes terrifyingly clear that Tekhnes may know Maeve’s world better than she does. With her innermost fears, desires and private thoughts laid out on the negotiating table, she is forced to decide just how much she will sacrifice to protect the ones she loves. A cautionary tale of data points, privacy and ownership, A.R.P.U. may make you wish you’d read those terms and conditions after all…

'Congratulations, you've been commoditized and you never even knew it...' - Professor David Carroll, 'The Great Hack'

  • Phil Spencer
    House Hunting, Big Brother
  • Lily Howkins
  • Double Yellow Productions
    Best Friends, Dibs
  • Cassidy Little & Lily Howkins
  • Cassidy Little
    Key Cast
    "Mark Fairfield"
    The King's Man, Doom Annihilation, Coronation Street, The Alienist, Holby City, Midsommer Murders, Doctors
  • Lily Howkins
    Key Cast
    "Maeve Fairfield"
    The Stranger, EastEnders, House Hunting, Thicker Than Water
  • David Solomon
    Key Cast
    "Mr Jones"
    EastEnders, The Politician's Wife, Love Hurts
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Dystopian
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes 53 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 29, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    4,895 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Discover Film Awards
    United Kingdom
    Best Fantasy Film
  • Berlin Sci-Fi Film Festival
    November 5, 2021
    European Premiere
    Grand Jury Award
  • Soho London Independent Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 19, 2021
    London Premiere
    Nominated for Best Thriller/Sci-Fi, Best Director & Nest Actor
  • Birmingham Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 20, 2021
    Nominated for Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design
  • Manchester Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    March 17, 2022
  • Boston Science Fiction Film Festival
    United States
    February 18, 2022
    North American Premiere
    Nominated for Best Short Film
  • Toronto Shorts International Film Festival
    November 10, 2021
  • London Lift-Off Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    December 1, 2021
Director Biography - Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer is a writer, filmmaker and producer who has a passion for poetry and powerful visuals. Phil’s screenwriting and directing debut was with short film, 'Big Brother'. Funded by the Royal Marines Charity, 'Big Brother' had its international premier via TV broadcast on Remembrance Day 2019. Phil’s second directing credit was with short film, 'House Hunting'. An Arts Council-funded commission with Exeter Phoenix Creative Hub. 'House Hunting' premiered at Two Short Nights film festival in Nov 19. Phil has worked and collaborated with the likes of Imogen Stubbs (Actress), Amanda Faber (Producer), John Pardue (DOP), James Anderson (DOP), Richard Pencott (adventure filmmaker/producer) Sue Outlaw (Editor) and the Soldiers’ Arts Academy (charity).

Phil’s sees poetry as a powerful means of storytelling, his poetry credits include; 'Shakespeare & Remembrance' at the Globe theatre, 'Body & Soul' with NW Live and RADA workshops.

Phil says that he owes this journey into writing and filmmaking to his experiences in the Royal Marines. He served for 11 years, including several operational deployments, but was ultimately medically discharged due to injuries sustained in combat.
Unknowingly to him at the time, the Marines would prepare him with the experiences and skills required to make a real impact in his new chosen industry.

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Director Statement

My main ambition for the film is for it to be thought provoking. I want audiences to walk away and find they are still turning it over in their heads hours later, that they think twice when accepting terms and conditions to access free wifi later that day, that they check their security settings on facebook.

I want to draw the audience in so they feel a part of this world we are creating, and for that to be as fully realised and three dimensional as possible. The aim is to make them feel completely at ease in this world, so that they will feel their stomachs slowly start to turn as the film develops and the consequences of this reality become clear.

My passion is for powerful visuals and creating a dystopian world allows me to experiment with this in a really exciting and daring way. I want the audience to be caught up in the events along with the character of Maeve and for them to be with her as these unfold, unravel and spiral.