The System

Paul was pivotal to the system and now that he’s dead the police are needling in. Who will protect who? In this psychological drama you are invited into the interrogation room with the murder suspects.

The System is a hybrid experiment, to create theatre primarily and solely for a film experience. It is believed to be the longest steadicam one-shot ever broadcast live.

  • Guy Unsworth
  • Emily Head
  • Tom Hackney
  • Alastair Whatley
  • Emily Head
    Key Cast
    The Inbetweeners, Emmerdale, The Syndicate
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Feature, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    drama, psychological thriller, psychological drama, crime drama, prison drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 15 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 27, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    32,700 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Original Theatre Online
    Sales Agent
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Video on Demand
Director Biography - Guy Unsworth

Guy is primarily a director and writer for theatre and has only recently turned to film. His work spans a wide range of genres, including musical adaptations and new plays, from the Royal Shakespeare Company to the West End. His theatre work has received 25 award nominations.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The System was filmed and shown live in the UK in August 2021. To our knowledge to be the longest, live-broadcast, steadicam one-shot ever.

When the pandemic hit, many theatre companies filmed their shows but those offerings never lived up to the live, in-person experience and certainly paled in comparison to TV/film shows. I wanted to find a way for the ultimate viewing experience of a theatrical form to be through a screen.

The System is therefore the subject of a collective experiment - to try and combine the intimacy and curated-perspective of film with the danger and theatricality of a live theatre experience.

The live, steadicam one-shot with no escape for crew or performer aims to replicate the ephemeral continuity of an in-person theatre experience. And with an inherently theatrical script, the POV perspective shots provide the viewer with a direct relationship with performer and an active part in the story.

An abstract production design deliberately places us in a stylistic territory to match the writing whilst hinting at a sense of location: the result is a hybrid between the literal police questioning room and the abstract prison of the character’s condition. Switching angles enabled us to differentiate between characters, and secret doorways allowed subtle flow between clean shots (direct presence of the policeman) and dirty shots (outside observer).

Special mention should go to Emily Head, as writer and performer of the piece, and Ben Eeley on steadicam. With only one chance to get the take, and with nowhere to hide, the project required an immense amount of faith, fitness, trust and, amongst other things, bravery.

I hope this project spurs on further collaboration between the theatre and film genres and exploration into what this hybrid form can become.