Private Project

Growing up in Public

Queer underground video artist RAY (27) returns to London to premiere her latest work, a searing treatise on the ‘cult of motherhood’. Hip, confident, successful, Ray is at the top of her game career-wise, though seemingly less so in her personal life; when Ray phones her wife back in Los Angeles, she discovers that they’d broken up without Ray even realising it.

It soon becomes clear that Ray has other concerns; her film is still not finished. Ray makes excuses and promises to finish it in time for the screening, but when the big day comes, much to the curators’ horror, the final scenes are still missing.

Ray has decided against inviting her attention-seeking mother ANNIE (47) to the screening, but Annie shows up anyway and is mortified to find that the film includes voice-over taken directly from Annie’s abusive emails to her daughter. After a dramatic public showdown, Annie storms out and, whilst Ray is partying with her friends, Annie is seriously injured in a car accident. Ray is already at the airport when she hears the news. Riddled with guilt and the fear that this may be her last chance to resolve her troubled relationship with Annie, Ray puts her personal life on hold and reluctantly heads back to her childhood home.

As Ray struggles to care for her increasingly difficult mother, she learns to accept the woman she could previously only approach through her art. Alongside gaining clarity around her relationship with her mother Ray is able to repair her relationship with her wife and finish the film in time for the rest of the run.

And through reconciling her past, Ray becomes a less antagonistic, more compassionate person and maybe most importantly of all, she learns how to love herself.

  • Kanchi Wichmann
    Break My Fall, Mixed Messages
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Dark Comedy, Comedy, Drama
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Table Read My Screenplay
    July 1, 2023
  • Hollywood
    September 2, 2023
  • Emerging Screenwriters
    Los Angeles
    January 6, 2024
Writer Biography - Kanchi Wichmann

Kanchi Wichmann (b. 1974) is an English/German writer/director originally from London currently living in Berlin.

Kanchi’s short film TRAVELLING LIGHT (1999, 26 mins) came second for best film at the BBC British Short Film Festival and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for best short film. Her short I DON'T EXIST (2004, 29mins) premiered at BFI Flare in London and played at festivals worldwide. In 2000 she was selected for the BBC/BFI Insight scheme to write and direct her first feature. In 2002 the scheme folded and the films were not produced.

Her debut feature film BREAK MY FALL (2011, 104 mins), a lesbian arthouse drama set in London, was released theatrically in Germany (Pro-Fun Media) and the UK (Peccadillo Pictures) and sold to over 20 territories via Paris-based sales agent Reel Suspects. Break My Fall is available online through all usual web platforms worldwide and on DVD in English and German-speaking territories.

Kanchi was a participant in the London Film School/ BFI feature screenwriting lab Hothouse in 2010-2012 and the Babylon Europe feature screenwriting lab in 2012.

Kanchi’s 10-episode comedy web series, MIXED MESSAGES (2017, 75 mins total) is released by Peccadillo Pictures (English-speaking territories) and Pro-Fun Media (German-speaking territories) and the Canadian-based web platform tello Films worldwide.

Kanchi’s comedy musical VANILLA (DAS MUSICAL) (2018, 8 mins), which she made as part of the Berlin 48 hour film challenge. The film was released in May 2019 online by Peccadillo Pictures.

Kanchi worked with Scottish playwright James Ley (LOVE SONG TO LAVENDER MENACE) on the second draft and hopes to continue working with him as the project moves forward.

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Writer Statement

Growing up in Public is a film about the archetypal symbiotic mother/daughter relationship taken to extremes. Drawing on my own experiences and observations this film depicts both the humour and the tragedy of motherhood gone wrong. I hope to create a visually arresting and emotionally powerful film that ultimately uplifts, through Ray’s transformation from self-obsessed diva to proper grown-up.

Ray wants to leave the past behind, give it a proper burial, immortalise it through her art as a way of finally laying it to rest. But when the resulting film unwittingly summons her estranged mother back into her life, the layers of denial start to peel away. Back in the rundown seaside town she grew up in (and thought she’d long escaped), Ray bounces between her past and her future. Between trying to finish the film and dodging her own impending motherhood. Meanwhile Annie remains consumed by age-old hurt and resentment that threatens to overpower them both.

Annie is Ray’s achilles heel, the place her shadow takes her to over and over again, the demon she can’t seem to kill off. Ray’s run, she’s hidden and finally there’s nothing left to do but face it head on. On the cusp of career success and marrying her partner, Ray risks losing it all as she crawls back into the dark spaces her mother left behind.

She looks into the mirror that is Annie and finds salvation by realising that the biggest commitment she needs to make is to herself. It turns out that when you can’t change crazy letting go is the only way to hold on. Ultimately, Ray finds the courage to walk away and step into the light that is her own future.

Growing up in Public shows us what happens when art imitates life imitating art and then life intervenes again to bring two people back together who should never have been together in the first place. A breathless comedy rollercoaster-ride into the dark side of motherhood featuring two strong women who don’t know when (or how) to stop.