Swings and Roundabouts

Witnessing another mother's distress in a playground sends Sarah into a spiral of panic and grief. Her husband, Paul, tries to provide the emotional and practical support she needs as the chasm between them widens. After struggling for so long to keep his own vulnerabilities hidden, Paul's eventual emotional breakdown offers them both a chance to connect and heal over the loss of their own child.

  • Frances Loy
  • Frances Loy
  • Libby Brodie
  • Frances Loy
  • John Heffernan
    Key Cast
    Dracula, Eye in the Sky, The Crown, Brexit, Luther, Collateral, The Loch, Jonathan Norrell and Mr Strange
  • Melissa Woodbridge
    Key Cast
    The Angel, Rekindled
  • Olivia Squier
    Key Cast
    Holby City, Shameless
  • David Bird
    Director of Photography
    War Has No Eyes
  • Rachel Gold
    Executive Producers
  • Jeremy Burge
    Executive Producers
  • Andrea Burge
    Executive Producers
  • Jay Rowan-Tanner
  • Renata Mellao
  • Katharine Heath
    Production Designer
  • Natalie Golthelf
    Production Manager
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, women, british, 16mm, grief, loss, miscarriage
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 2, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Milestone Worldwide Film Festival

    Winner - Best Narrative
  • Canadian Cinematography Awards

  • New York Cinematography Awards Official Selection

  • Prisma Film Awards

    Official Selection
  • Kiev Film Festival
    Kiev Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Madrid Film Awards
    Semi-Finalist Best Short Film
  • Best Global Shorts
    Official Selection
  • MOM Festival

    Official Selection
  • MINT Film Festival
    United States
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Frances Loy

This is Frances’ short film directorial debut.

A theatre director by trade, Frances' work has traversed from traditional spaces to immersive experiences to virtual reality, from London to New York to Los Angeles, and she is now segueing her professional skills with artistic collaboration, story, narrative and performers into the cinematic arts. Frances prides herself on being "an Actor's director" and has built her work around providing safe spaces for actors to truly explore and connect with their characters. Her work is ignited and inspired by intense, visceral human experiences of a darker nature; she is a collaborator who seeks to work with other artists who have a profound connection with these stories.

She co-founded and was Artistic Director of alternative space company Theatre Delicatessen in London from 2007-2012 directing several critically acclaimed productions and during which time it was described as "The Leading Light of Pop-Up Theatre" (Time Out) and one of the "Future of British Theatre" companies (The Observer); her debut production Off-Off-Broadway, of Tonight with Donny Stixx, in 2016 earnt a New York Times Critic Pick from Ben Brantley.

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2013 she has built immersive experiences for brands and commercials, directed work in traditional spaces and dabbled with 360 VR filmmaking; she also directs audiobooks for Penguin Random House, recently collaborating with Jeff Goldblum on Norman Einstein's The Last Palace.

Frances has recently shadowed on shows such The Orville (Fox), Tales of the City (Netflix) and Grace and Frankie (Netflix).

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

It was important to me to shoot this story on film in order to heighten the connection between the characters and the audience. As a theatre maker I prioritise this intimate relationship and as a filmmaker I truly believe that shooting on film as opposed to digitally provides a bigger opportunity for empathy in the viewer. The quality of film, especially in a dramatic story like this, just allows us to feel something deeper when watching the performances; the removal of the glossy veneer created by digital filmmaking creates cracks in the fourth wall allowing the way we view the film to be more like how we see in real life. This story is so small, so individual and quiet, that we had to make the most of the many still moments of silence in which we can really appreciate and feel the performances of this talented cast. As a first-time filmmaker it was an incredible challenge but I really want to transcend my skills with actors as a theatre director into working in film and wanted to capture these performances as intimately as possible with the audience at the forefront of my mind; the most obvious way to do this was through shooting on 16mm.

1 in 4 pregnancies result in miscarriage, most commonly before 12 weeks, through no fault of the mother, the father, the fates. Most often our bodies know when a foetus will turn into a healthy baby and steps in, but this scientific fact and common statistic doesn’t make it any less painful, doesn’t stop parents grieving the loss of a child they’d hoped for, doesn’t stop them blaming themselves and doesn’t stop them keeping this sad secret in the hope of not upsetting people outside of this experience.

In researching the story I realised I had many female friends I’d spoken to about their miscarriages in the past, so I made more of an effort to talk to male friends who had gone through the same. So often this is seen as a women’s issue because of course the physical process happens to the mother - but it’s a human issue. Among the things I heard from men were “I am not entitled to grieve”, “it’s my job to support her”, “I don’t know any other dads who have been through this”. It was important to me to show the emotional repercussions of miscarriage on the father, without diminishing the experience of the mother.

This is a quiet, intimate, authentic and important story, performed exquisitely by Mel and John and shot beautifully by David, and a whole heartedly collaborative project thanks to our producer Libby. It has been a privilege to direct such incredible artists, to have their trust and to return that trust back to them in the creating of Swings and Roundabouts.