People You May Know: BAFTA Nominated Hidden Gem

People You May Know starring Lydia West and Arthur Darvill

People You May Know stars Lydia West and Arthur Darvill in a BAFTA-nominated short film by FT.

The 18-minute short film, People You May Know has been nominated for Best Short Form Programme by BAFTA.

Starring Lydia West (from Russell T. Davies‘ shows It’s A Sin and Years and Years) and Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who and Broadchurch), the FT Film investigates how the response to COVID-19 has enabled the intrusion of companies to take, manipulate, and predict data from people’s lives and what it might mean for us all in the years to come.

Inspired by true news articles published by FT, the one-location film becomes a dissection of a junior barrister (West) by a data engineer (Darvill) who is working on behalf of the government to determine the reasons why lockdown restrictions were broken.

In a post-truth world, where so much of our lives are documented across devices and platforms, the film accurately details the exact issues and lifestyles audiences had during the pandemic period of 2020 from 5k runs tracked using smartwatches, to constant Zoom meetings and the growth of home security.

It is clear how a film produced by a news outlet may be receptive to a BAFTA nomination, with the story being so parallel to society.

With exceptional monologues written for both West and Darvill by James Graham, giving both performers the chance to shine, whilst director Juliet Riddell blocks out the scene, working closely with the cinematographer to show power and authority, highlighted by the physical and metaphoric boundaries being crossed by Darvill’s slimy data engineer under the guise of national protection.

Released in collaboration with Sonia Friedman Productions and Luminate, Friedman describes the film as: “Drama, like journalism, exists to ask important questions of the contemporary world and one of those questions is our relationship to data.

“The advantages of our information age have rarely been as overt as in this extraordinary year, but as James Graham’s potent and unsettling theatrical short film People You May Know makes clear, they are not without disconcerting and complicated trade-offs.

“James is a writer with the keenest of moral compasses, and his astute dramatic eye – along with pinpoint performances by Lydia West and Arthur Darvill – brings a flush of feeling to the Financial Times’ rigorous journalistic enquiry.”

It is this journalistic partnership with the fiction that elevates this film to become more than satirical, and instead, both a fearful and truthful depiction of the current British landscape as politicians, individuals, and celebrities try to manoeuvre breaking COVID-19 restrictions for a multitude of personal reasons.

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By Conor Riley

Conor is the Founder and Editor for Cinamore, a publication focused on giving power back to journalists. As a portmanteau of the word 'Cinema' and the Italian word for love 'Amore', Cinamore aims to highlight the love that we all carry for the art of the moving image.


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