Masters of Love
 
 
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About

Emmy and Samantha are getting married. Josh and Jennifer are breaking up and Niall isn’t sure what he’s doing. Masters of Love is an original and darkly comic look at love in all its grubby glory. The debut feature film from writer-director Matt Roberts.

 
 
 

Synopsis

Masters of Love is an exploration of love and isolation in the technological age.

In the fraught lead up to Emmy and Samatha’s wedding Josh (Emmy’s brother) finds himself dumped and homeless and sleeping on his best mate Niall’s floor. As Niall tries to coax Josh out of his dark place and back into the dating world they both miss the fact that Emmy is having second thoughts about marriage.

As the wedding draws closer Emmy gets more confused, Niall tries to sleep his way out of loneliness and Josh finds solace in an unexpected and destructive place.

 
 
 
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Cast

 
 

Niall - CIARÁN DOWD

Ciarán is comedian, actor and writer and winner of the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer.

FILM INCLUDES
My Family (Film4) and Keith Lemon: Coming in America (ITV2).

TV INCLUDES
Josh (BBC1), GameFace (E4/Hulu), Zapped (Dave) Drunk History (Comedy Central).

Ciarán is also a member of the critically acclaimed sketch group BEASTS. BEASTS have made numerous appearances on BBC Radio 4, were nominated for the Amused Moose Comedy Awards in 2014 and their sell out shows were among the top reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Masters of love is Ciaran’s first lead role in a feature film.

 
 
 

Emmy - SARAH OVENS

Sarah is a London based actor and writer.

FILM INCLUDES
Pink Wall (Dignity Film) and Diana (Ecosse Films).

TV INCLUDES
Emma (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Doctors (BBC).

THEATRE INCLUDES
Girl on a train (WYP), Comedy of errors (National Theatre), Heresy of Love (RSC)

Masters of love is Sarah’s first lead role in a feature film.

 
 
 

Josh - OWEN ROBERTS

Owen is an award-winning actor, comedian and writer.

FILM INCLUDES
The Haunted Gun (Comic Relief) and Snug as a bug (Cue Pictures).

TV INCLUDES
Witless (BBC), Drunk Histories (BBC), Wannabe (BBC).

Owen is also a member of the critically acclaimed sketch group BEASTS. BEASTS have made numerous appearances on BBC Radio 4, were nominated for the Amused Moose Comedy Awards in 2014 and their sell out shows were among the top reviewed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Masters of love is Owen’s first lead role in a feature film.

 
 
 

Sam - ELEANOR FANYINKA

Eleanor is a London based actor.

FILM INCLUDES
Common people (Park Bench Prod.) and Art is… (New Troy Prod.)

TV INCLUDES
Pure (Channel 4), Holby City (BBC) and Push (Fiver) 

THEATRE INCLUDES
Sweeney Todd (Manchester Royal Exchange) Hidden (Oval House) and Harold Pinter A Celebration (National Theatre)

 
 
 

Lily - BEKKA BOWLING

Bekka is an actress and writer.

FILM INCLUDES
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Millennium films), Thanks for the Memories (Gate Films) Diane’s New Boyfriend (Silver Pig Pictures) and The Great Unwashed (Freestyle Digital Media).

TV INCLUDES
Sick of it (Sky), Lovesick (Netflix), Episodes (BBC), Limbo (BBC), Top Coppers (BBC), Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams (Channel 4), Some Girls (BBC), Quacks (BBC), Loaded (Channel 4), Edge of Heaven (ITV), Heading Out (BBC) The Wrong Mans (BBC) You, Me and Them (UK TV) and Not Going Out (BBC).

 
 
 

Jenifer - LIZZY WATTS

Lizzy is a London based actor.

FILM INCLUDES
Best Man (Independent) and One in the Dark (Waring Films)

TV INCLUDES
Pure (Channel 4), Holby City (BBC) and Push (Fiver) 

THEATRE INCLUDES
Sweeney Todd (Manchester Royal Exchange) Hidden (Oval House) and Harold Pinter A Celebration (National Theatre) 

 
 
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Crew

 
 
 

MATT ROBERTS

WRITER/DIRECTOR/EDITOR

Matt started his career in theatre as founder and artistic director of the multi-award winning new writing company Papatango. While at Papatango Matt’s full length and one-act plays were performed at The Pleasance, Sheffield Crucible, The Bolton Octagon and The Finborough. Matt also directed BAFTA award-winning writer Dominic Mitchell’s debut play Potentials.


Since moving into film Matt has founded London based production company Truck Films and his shorts have made official selection at some of the worlds most prestigious film festivals including Palm Springs and been nominated at the British Comedy Awards.


Masters of Love is Matt's debut feature film. 

 
 

TOM DEBENHAM

CINEMATOGRAPHER

With a background in Fine Art and photography, Tom is a passionate image maker and collaborator - working on all formats and scales of production.

Tom has worked as a DoP and visual effects supervisor for over two decades, shooting alongside main unit on over 25 films- including several collaborations with Terence Malick, and 2nd unit on films such as Under the Skin for Jonathan Glazer and Finding Altamira for Hugh Hudson. 

He has also worked on a number of short films and commercials as main unit DoP. Masters of Love is his first feature as Cinematographer. 

 
 

JOHNNY YATES

COMPOSER

Johnny is London based multi-instrumentalist composer for film, television, commercials, multimedia and stage.

He has worked on a host of documentaries, commercials and film scores. Including the award-winning Movistar series ‘Hope’ and the 2015 James Bond movie 'Spectre', including with a number of prestigious clients including Channel 4 Formula 1, Amazon Prime, Canal+, Santander, ITV and Sky

He is also an associate lecturer at ThinkSpace Education Film Scoring School where he supports upcoming talented composers around the world, helping them develop their skills in scoring to picture.

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BARNI SPARKES

SOUND DESIGNER

Barni Sparkes has been a professional Sound Designer for 5 years, starting off at London based post-production Suite TV where he worked on award winning television shows and independent films. He has now transitioned into the game development industry, joining Ubisoft at the studios in Shanghai, and most recently contributing to shipping Far Cry New Dawn.

 
 

GARETH BISHOP

Colourist

Gareth is a colourist at the London grading studio Dirty Looks.

He works across film and commercial projects and has colour graded over twenty feature films including Heretiks, Scarborough and The Ballad of Shirley Collins.

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MARK WAITES

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Mark Waites is co-founder of the international communications company Mother.

He has written and directed some of the UK’s most loved advertising campaigns as well as short films ‘72 Faced Liar’ and ‘The 1st’, a music video for the Fatboy Slim track ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat’ and has storytelling project at supposedhistories.com

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 Director’s Notes

 

Masters of Love is my first feature film so to say it’s a very personal project is a given. I think anyone’s first feature is a personal project. However as well as it being my first I also got the opportunity to work with long term collaborators and friends and explore a subject a lot of us are currently living through - who are you supposed to be in your thirties? - so it truly felt like a personal project.


For me the thirties are a second coming-of-age, you’re through the messiness of teenage and the cockiness of the twenties and into a new bracket were things are expected of you; It’s time to settle down, time to get married, to buy a house, to have some kids, to get a promotion. But what if non of those things are happening? What happens if you feel like you’re back to square one? Or that you never left that square in the first place? If you feel just as confused now as you did when you were eighteen?


Starting with this “what now?” genesis I wanted to explore how love fits into that world when it’s being bombarded with all these expectations. How do long term relationships last when we’re constantly being presented with better alternative lives and how do relationships start when we live in an age of endless possibilities? Where you can have love delivered to your door at the swipe of a finger. There’s never been so much choice and it’s never been so confusing. 


I’m in the very lucky position of having some brilliant and generous actor/comedians as friends, which meant at every “finished” draft of the script I could have it read out loud and realise how un-finished it actually was. It also meant that the roles organically became specifically written for those actors. Something that hopefully shows on screen.


When the script finally got to a place I was happy with and the production train had left the station it was time to sit down with my DOP Tom Debenham. I knew from Tom’s previous work how talented he was but as this was our first time working together I didn’t know, at this stage, how important he would be as a collaborator. 


At our first meeting Tom wasn’t intimated by the tiny budget or the ambitious scale/number of locations/number of actors that needed to be squished into a super short shoot (thirteen days). On the contrary, he got excited about how to take advantage of these limitations to help shape the visual palette of the film. After lots of meetings and shared references we came to the decision to keep the whole film fluid and handheld and also (the bolder decision) to shoot every scene in a single shot. 


Shooting every scene in a single shot became an anchor from which we tied all our other visual storytelling. It informed our framing and our “look” We wanted to feel in the room and have a very human perspective so we generally used 35/28mm lenses. This meant the camera almost felt like another character in the room, which in turn informed how we moved. We decided we would only move when motivated to do so by a character. If they remained still, so did we. This, of course, meant a lot of pre-planning but looking back on the shoot now I’m not sure there would have been time to shoot it in any other way.


This style of shooting asked a lot of the actors. At times there would be four actors, doing four pages of dialogue, with very specific moves, without dropping a single line or single moment. If one actor made a mistake or the tension dropped we quite simply had to cut and start gain. I think having actors with a mix of film and theatre experience helped them keep a very active tension for long periods of time. It also added a real focus on the set. There were no “easy” moments, every scene took planning, precision and a lots of dancing around each other (moving actors, camera and sound around small spaces with no margin for error makes for a razor sharp focus).


Although this decision shaped a lot of the production I think the result feels very natural and hopefully it’s not something that draws the audiences eye but instead helps them engage and immerse themselves deeper into the story.


This is one of many creative decisions that helped shape the finished film - and at the risk of this turning into a short story I will leave that one decision as an example of the importance of great collaborators. Working with the right people can help elevate your vision to another level and I feel very lucky to have worked with some amazing people on this film and I hope it results in a finished film that is greater than the sum of it’s (very modest) parts.

 
 
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