On The Edge, Channel 4’s BAFTA award-winning series of short films is returning for its fourth year. Produced by BlackLight Television, a Banijay UK company, the anthology of films will once again champion first-class emerging UK talent. This year’s dramas, Wet Look, Letting Go and The Final Countdown, all touch upon the importance of care and caring. Each series of On The Edge presents three short films written and directed with wit and verve by the best up and coming storytellers.
Wet Look tells the story of young couple Gwynn and Rob navigating the highs and lows of their burgeoning relationship – but with the twist that while Rob is a human millennial, Gwynn is in fact a mermaid, struggling to adjust to life on land. We meet Gwynn at a low point, unable to grow back her tail and feeling disconnected from a body that doesn’t function like it once did, while floundering boyfriend Rob wants to help her but isn’t sure how. Gwynn’s desire to return to the sea is now overwhelming – even if with no tail it means she might drown. Will either partner open up to each other before it’s too late? Using the prism of mermaid mythology writer Toby Parker Rees and director B Welby explore their feelings about being disabled and how they relate to their physical selves in this beautiful and unique tale about love, grief and ‘otherness’. Starring Tanya Reynolds (Sex Education) and Iwan Rheon (The Light in the Hall, Game of Thrones) as Gwynn and Rob, with Steve Speirs (Stella, The Tuckers) as Rob’s dad, Steve.
Letting Go tells the story of Gabriel, a foster father who can’t bear to let go of Faith, the teenage girl who has been in his care for years. When the authorities decide that her birth mother is well enough to take her back Gabriel struggles to process this massive change and becomes convinced that Faith will be in danger. He hasn’t understood that his own complex feelings about his father are affecting his judgement. Will Gabriel’s behaviour lead to him losing Faith altogether? Faith is an authentic, evocative, and deeply moving story written from personal experience by Beru Tessema and beautifully directed by Mitch Kalisa. This short film explores the power of attachment and the difficulty of separation. Starring Anthony Welsh (Pure, The Flatshare) and Clare-Hope Ashitey (Children of Men) as Gabriel and Bella and introducing newcomer Luna Mwezi as Faith.
The Final Countdown tells the story of Ray, a septuagenarian with a wicked sense of fun and a fondness for a pint, and devoted long-time husband to Dora, who is suffering from dementia. Ray’s stoic grandson Terry has become Dora’s primary caregiver while Ray continues to bury his head in the sand and refuses to admit that Dora might need help. Will Terry be able to persuade Ray that Dora needs to go into residential care before something terrible happens? Written by Natalie Burt and directed by James Doherty, The Final Countdown uses striking poignancy and humour but is ultimately a celebration of love and family that is very close to the writer’s own heart. Starring Paul Copley (Downton Abbey, Last Tango in Halifax) and Eileen Davies (Sightseers) as Ray and Dora and introducing newcomer Joseph Payne as Terry.
Caroline Hollick, Channel 4’s Head of Drama, says:
“On The Edge is the epitome of unearthing extraordinary talent from all walks of life, now in its fourth year I’m delighted that this scheme continues to offer an inimitable platform, championing our future creatives. This year’s anthology feels timely, indicative and relative as these films encompass their perception of care in three incredibly unique and distinctive ways.”
Phil Trethowan and Ben Bickerton from BlackLight Television, part of Banijay UK, added:
“It’s such a privilege to be making a fourth series of On The Edge for Channel 4. Supporting the next generation of filmmakers and hearing their voices, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, feels more important than ever and we applaud Channel 4 for that.”
On The Edge has recently been nominated for 3 BAFTA Cymru awards including one for Best Breakthrough and has been nominated for Best Single Drama at the Broadcast Awards. It recently won 2 Edinburgh New Voice Awards to go alongside a host of previous nominations and awards.
On The Edge is developed though the 4Stories initiative, the channel’s commitment to inclusion and finding brand new diverse talent.
On The Edge is distributed internationally by Banijay Rights.