Private Project


Convinced his dad is a spy, Luke embarks on a journey that leads him to discover the awkward truth. From BAFTA nominated Director Richard Turley and Producer Ruth Wright, comes a boys own tale of secrets, subterfuge and fallen heroes set against a backdrop of 1970s Britain.

  • Richard Turley
    Darklight (2012) Mingmong (2014)
  • Richard Turley
    Darklight (2012) - Co-Writer
  • Ruth Wright
  • Badger Skelton
    Key Cast
  • Frankie Fitzgerald
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Les Liens
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 19 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 30, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    16,500 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Worldfest Houston
    Houston TX
    April 19, 2015
    Gold (Narrative fiction)
  • Palm Springs Shortfest
    Palm Springs, CA
    June 10, 2015
  • DC Shortfest
    Washington DC
    September 1, 2015
  • Cambridge Film Festival
    Cambridge, UK
    September 1, 2015
    UK Premiere (Domestic)
  • Underwire Film Festival
  • Miami Short Film Festival
  • Columbus International Film Festival
    Columbus, Ohio
Director Biography - Richard Turley

A BAFTA-nominated multi-genre Director, Richard has more than a decade of experience in broadcast television and more recently, film. His work to date has largely been factual or drama-documentary though increasingly he is turning his focus to narrative drama.

For Richard story is key, and he has a passion for bringing great tales to screen whether through real life testimony or dramatic interpretation. ‘Strings’ is his first solo writing project.

In 2012 Richard produced his debut independent short film ‘Darklight’ with backing from Film London. Directed and co-written by Richard the resulting film shines with imagination and charm that look set to become his hallmark as a Director. Described as ‘a constantly surprising tale... that leads you eager for a sequel’ ‘Darklight’ went on to be long-listed for a BAFTA in 2013.

Richard lives in London, UK and can be contacted in the following ways:

Phone: +44(0)7967481722
Twitter: @richturley

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Director Statement

My first short (‘Darklight’) explores the power of love and its brutal manifestations: the ability for a mother to do something awful to her child out of fear of losing her. The irony, however, is that if she discovers the truth it will change their relationship forever and potentially drive them apart – the very thing the mother is trying to prevent.

Since then I’ve been wanting to explore similar relationships between father and son – and the idea of a son who discovers a secret about his dad came to mind.

For many boys, their dad provides their first experience of a strong male influence: a person who can make anything happen and who is seemingly invincible.

My idea focused on the theme of fallen heroes – of a son who discovers that his dad is not all he thought. But I wanted to take a more unconventional approach to the father’s story. Rather than having a man who is inherently bad or who has got in with the wrong crowd I wanted a character who was proud – someone who genuinely wanted to do right by his son.

For me it was essential that there is no one else on the scene – just father and son – and that in the back-story this helps heighten the idea of him being a real-life hero. This led to the story point of Luke having lost his mother and Dean having had to return form the army to care for him.

The setting for ‘Strings’ was also crucial. It needed to be at a time when options for someone like Dean were limited. We considered the 1980s but in the end opted for the late 1970s to allow us to use events of the day to help shape the story. The backdrop of rising unemployment means Dean’s choices are limited, for example. But it also provides the story with further tools – a time when homosexuality was still largely taboo: those wanting encounters with fellow men really did have to hang around in public toilets; and a time when discovery would carry social and legal penalties.

‘Strings’ is Luke’s story - and although there are ‘gay themes’ in the film, it’s most definitely not a film about gay issues. Whilst the activities of Dean’s ‘clients’ in the film may be construed as representing gay people in a negative way, it’s important to remember that within the context of the period, ‘cottaging’ (as it is known in the UK) was sometimes the only option for men to meet up for sex, in a climate when anonymity was often essential.

‘Strings’ is ultimately a film that is wrapped up in boyhood fantasy and told from the perspective of a child – a character we can all identify with and a device to allow the uncovering of key information that is unencumbered by adult prejudice.

Further notes are available in our press pack.

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