Private Project

Mercy Land

In a future world ravished by climate change, a mother and daughter fight to survive as warring clans battle for control of the wastelands.

  • Simon Rickards
    British Made
  • Simon Rickards
    British Made
  • Simon Rickards
    British Made
  • Niti Sidpra
    British Made
  • Celia Learmonth
    Key Cast
    Murder Ballads, Ayran Papers
  • Olivia Clarke
    Key Cast
    Borrowed Time, Shouganai
  • Ben Silver
    Key Cast
    Scorched Earth, Demons at Dawn
  • Nick David
    Key Cast
    "The Master"
    My Only Relative, I Bring Joy
  • Tamsin Daley
    Key Cast
    The Minotaur, Trust
  • Drew Elston
    Key Cast
    The Placebo, Kin
  • Gordon Round
    Key Cast
    British Made, No Mercy, Justice League Extinction
  • David Mullenger
    Key Cast
    Original Gangster, Morris Men
  • Simon Ellis
    Key Cast
    Ava, Gods of their Own Religion
  • Gemma Wallace
    Key Cast
    Creatures, Blade of the Assassin
  • Matthew Moore
    Key Cast
  • Solomon B Taiwo
    Key Cast
    Twisted Killers, Enslaved
  • David McSweeney
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Action, Drama, sci-fi
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 47 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 31, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 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 - Simon Rickards

Simon Rickards continues to build on the success of his first feature film, British Made, which won numerous awards and screened to more than half a million people on Amazon Prime last year. A graduate of film studies in London, he has worked with Cineworld, Arqiva Media, BBC and Sky TV. He has a passion for all kinds of cinema, particularly stories that reflect social problems and politics. He established Godiva Films in 2005.

Prior to making his first feature, Simon formed Godiva Films in London where he produced more than 15 short films and documentaries over a 5-year period. During each of these collaborative productions, he also worked as either Writer, Director, Assistant Director, Editor or Cinematographer. Many of these short films won awards at film festivals around the world – the success and experience from these short films led to the production of British Made and Simon has now built on this achievement, with his second feature film, Mercy Land.

Mercy Land is a science fiction film set in a future world affected by climate change. It has been produced with the same level of commitment and dedication as all of Godiva’s films but the production quality has been raised to an even higher level than earlier productions.

This very topical and relevant film was highly ambitious and faced many unexpected hurdles during production. It is self-budgeted and was shot during the Covid pandemic, requiring Simon and the Godiva team to adapt and find creative ways to use the atmosphere and environment created by the pandemic – and the fluctuating lockdown rules - to the film’s advantage. One of the greatest skills Simon has, is being able to nurture his visionary storytelling with expertise, hard work and the ability to draw the very best out of the cast and crew he works with.

Mercy Land is a towering and ambitious achievement of storytelling, depicting a world exactly as the film-maker envisioned. Climate change and its devastating impact is now a widely recognized and feared phenomenon and this film illustrates how this could affect future generations in a very realistic way whilst also creating an entertaining action driven film. Audiences will undoubtedly talk about the characters – their behaviour and motives - but they will also discuss climate change and its potential impact on everyday life.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

To build on the success of my first film, British Made, I sought to write and direct a more ambitious and audacious film with a strong and compelling message. I have always loved the science-fiction genre and grew up reading sci-fi stories by authors such as HG Wells, Philip K Dick, Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Raymond Bradbury, who often created fascinating and terrifying future worlds that provoked ideas about the current state of the world.

I was keen to create a dystopian world set in the future and selected climate change as the focus of the story as this is a very real threat to our world. Other dystopian worlds depicted in sci-fi films, often rely on the terror of war or disease as the basis of the story and I wanted Mercy Land to show what life could be like in the future if our current course continues.

I thought about a world 300 years from now and imagined how people then would live – how would they survive, what resources would be available, what kind of communities would they live in and how would the less powerful manage in an environment with few options. I chose to tell the story of a mother and daughter trying to live in this harsh landscape, as I felt this would add a further dimension to the story – I wanted to showcase not only their relationship but also their determination and resilience. The family dynamics collide with the very real danger of starvation, other greedy scavengers and worsening conditions to create undeniable drama.

When I write screenplays, I layer multiple themes together to develop a compelling story. Mercy Land is no exception, with themes touching on the family, environment, politics and the nature of survival. There is also an undercurrent story throughout Mercy Land, where all is not quite what it seems until a revelation at the end of the film. The meaning behind this is open to interpretation, but it is linked to some of the strongest themes in the film which question why climate change continues with little intervention from those able to bring about change. Personally, I think climate change is the greatest challenge and tragedy of our times, coupled only by our inaction. I have shown character flaws in many of the characters in the film and believe this is the real reason why climate change continues – greed drives many of the characters and they act on this without thinking about the consequences to the environment. However, I have also shown how strong the human characteristic of hope and resilience is and the film shows that life can adapt and continue even when the impact of climate change has firmly taken its toll on people.

Producing Mercy Land was not an easy task. Filming was delayed by many months due to the Covid pandemic and even after restrictions were lifted, we introduced stringent Covid checks and testing requirements to ensure the safety of crew and cast, which added to the shooting time. During this period, we were able to take full advantage of our small production and formed a hugely talented and hard working cast and crew who were eager to work whilst other projects were placed on hold. We also gained access to some excellent locations and used the unusually good weather in April and May to complete the shooting without further delays.

With meticulous planning, constant communication and a flexible approach, the Godiva team has created an amazing film that has been enhanced by the atmosphere and environment shaped by the pandemic.

I hope Mercy Land will be enjoyed by audiences and it will encourage them to ask questions about climate change and how we should respond to it. They will see a very entertaining film with extremely high production values which is technically exceptional and well produced. They will hopefully also appreciate seeing a future world created without excessive use of CGI – we have a number of well-made visual effects which are merged with the natural characteristics of the locations we filmed at and whilst these moments are very vivid, but they do not overshadow the narrative or characters in the film. We are also fortunate to have some excellent performances, and the acting will shine through in this film, with our actors bringing to life characters that can be loved and loathed in equal measure. I am immensely proud of what I and the team have achieved.