Private Project

Coming Home

Farmer Andie struggles to explain to her seven year old son that his mummy isn't coming home. When she finally finds the courage to tell him, he vanishes into the harsh Yorkshire wilderness and a frantic search for him ensues.

  • Sophia Tamaro
    Unexpected Monsters (short drama)
  • Jo Fox
  • Jo Fox
  • Natalie Grosvenor
  • Rebecca Root
    Key Cast
    The Danish Girl, Colette, The Sisters Brothers, Last Christmas
  • Amy Popplewell
    Key Cast
    Casualty, In Extremis, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street, In the Club, The Syndicate, Emmerdale
  • Ray Castleton
    Key Cast
  • Wendi Walker
    Key Cast
    Silence In This Solitude
  • James Jakes
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes 2 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 10, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    12,500 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Sophia Tamaro

Writer/director Sophia Tamaro was born in Trieste to an Italian father and a German mother. Though she grew up in Hong Kong, she is a committed anglophile and graduate of the University of Kent, where she earnt a first-class honours degree in Film Studies.
Since graduation, she has been working with renowned casting director Beatrice Kruger as a casting assistant and worked on projects such as Ron Howard’s Inferno, Petra Volpe’s The Divine Order and Peeter Rebane’s Firebird. Sophia has also worked as a Script Translator and as a casting director on many low budget independent projects for emerging directors.
As a student, Sophia made three well-received short films, in which she didn’t shy away from covering emotive subjects such as murder, sex toys and incest. Her short documentary about sex toys, Loose Screws, was highly acclaimed.

So far, as a post-graduate, Sophia has directed two further shorts. Her debut, Unexpected Monsters, was the winner of Best Production Design at the Cinema of the World festival whilst Coming Home, based on the Blue Cat shortlisted script by AMPAS Nicholl Fellowships Quarterfinalist Jo Fox and starring Rebecca Root (The Sisters’ Brothers, Colette, The Danish Girl, Last Christmas), challenged her to direct a young child and an unruly puppy in the sub-zero temperatures of an unyielding Yorkshire Moorland in February.

An avid fan of the thriller genre, Sophia penned her debut feature ‘We Will Break You’, about an undercover agent who faces up to his tumultuous past while fighting to stay alive in the Russian Mafia, in 2014. She has since written several other screenplays including hilarious short film Interruptus and moving feature drama Maligayang Bati based upon her childhood experiences in Hong Kong.

In 2019, she formed a team with up-and-coming producer Amy Banks to develop her and Jo Fox’s New Orleans Film Festival finalist script Freya and the hard-hitting feature prison drama, Easy Prey.

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Director Statement

The tense, family drama, Coming Home was brought having placed in the Blue Cat Screenwriting contest, so realised immediately that it had the potential to be an excellent film and I was thus delighted to join the team. Even though I knew it would be a demanding shoot, I could see that it was one that would offer me the opportunity to challenge myself and hone my craft as a first-time professional director and as it was a longer short than my previous films (22 minutes), I sensed it would do more to bridge the gap between shorts and features than making another shorter film.

I see the film as an important step in bringing normal, gay families to the screen. I have observed how many LGBTQ+ films focus on sexuality, but few seemed to concentrate on gay people's everyday normal lives as parents bringing up children. Coming Home differs from its predecessors by celebrating homosexuality within a family and by having the importance of family stability at its heart. It also challenges the stereotypes of the male farmer which are regularly perpetuated in films even now in this era of attempting to recognise the importance of diversity and #MeToo.

I am also delighted and proud, as a member of the LGBTQ community, to have directed a film starring a transgender actress in a cis-gender role. Rebecca Root is a wonderfully talented actress who excelled in her capture of farmer Andie's independence and courage, when left to face up to the responsibility of telling her son Archie, that his mummy - Andie's wife, isn't coming home. I wanted to enable the audience to experience Andie's anguish and guilt at the distress her own actions have caused to both her wife and son and how even the suggestion of possible betrayal can affect a family so grievously. Rebecca did the job wonderfully. Her heart-breaking performance as Andie was everything I worked towards and hoped it would be.

The casting of such able and seasoned actors as Rebecca, Ray Castleton, Tina Barnes, Rachel Brownstein, Wendi Walker, Kat Sellner and Amy Popplewell, gave me the chance to communicate my ideas and be perfectly understood. They brought the very best performances I could have asked for, and their professionalism provided a great example for our newcomer, eight year old James Jakes in his first ever film role.

It was important for me that the family dynamic and history of the Birley family was fully understood by the actors, and I requested back stories from the writer, for each of them. This helped to ensure a realistic and familiar dynamic between the members of the cast which shows beautifully in their portrayal of the Birley family on screen.

It was important to me that the Birleys felt like an authentic, Yorkshire farming family and I believe this was achieved.
The backdrop of the stunning, but merciless Yorkshire Moors perfectly reflected the loneliness of the protagonist and accentuated the terror the Birleys feel when little Archie is lost in the hills. The snow-capped Moors encapsulate the emotion of the piece and when I came across Blakey Ridge whilst scouting for locations, I knew it would provide us with the perfect location for Andie's desperate search.

I am very proud of how we managed to make such a complex and challenging film on a very modest budget, but also of the progress we made in ensuring gender diversity in the film. In the interests of improving diversity in the industry, throughout all stages of production, I and the female producers aimed to hire women, particularly in Head of Department positions wherever possible and we happily ended up with a greater than 50:50 split of women:men in both cast and crew.

I would dearly love our ground-breaking film to be acknowledged and generate attention and discussion around the world, not only in LGBTQ+ cinema, but in the film industry as a whole.