Canvas 5

Directed by
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Gallery owner accused of exploitation is haunted by a strange power exuded from a painting

Curator Ruth Betteridge is about to open her debut show at a struggling Art Gallery called 'FACELESS'.

Some of the pieces exhibited are previously unseen works by famous professional artists. The remaining pieces have been curated from an outreach programme at an Immigration removal centre. In either case, none of the pieces will be credited  and none of the artists will be paid. Ruth’s intention is to criticise our fixation with ‘celebrity’. By showcasing famous artists next to ‘unknowns’ she is hoping that the viewer will leave unable to differentiate between them.

Ruth receives fierce criticism from a prominent journalist who accuses her of exploiting a vulnerable, voiceless group of deported migrants to make a provocative artistic point. But Ruth insists that as a wheelchair user, she is better placed than anyone to understand the nature of erasure. Despite the journalist’s warnings, she presses on with the show. Ruth initially welcomes the controversy over her show- but she soon feels a creeping unease. Is it her own guilt manifesting? Or is one of the artworks really out to destroy her, and reap its own revenge?

Director Karla Crome says: 'I am fascinated with identity politics. As a mixed race woman, I feel a natural affinity with self identifying ‘outsiders’. I will often turn to LGBTQ or disabled friends and say 'I know what you mean.'  But is that a valid comparison- or offensive and ignorant? Is it a dangerous way to think? I’m a long time fan of the short stories of MR James. His ghost stories typically follow a middle aged, white academic who dabbles where he shouldn’t, taking his arrogance and grim curiosity too far. I find these stories evocative and terrifying, despite the fact I don’t see myself (or other minorities) within them. In Canvas 5, I wanted to subvert the paradigm of a traditional, moral ghost story with a cast of characters who explore the murky depths of their own prejudice. I believe that supernatural horror is the most effective genre in which to probe our unspoken anxieties.  Ordinarily, we can turn away from what makes us uncomfortable. We can switch off and refuse to engage. In a supernatural horror, we are forced to confront our demons and face what lurks in the shadows. I also want to add we made this film in 2020, during covid restrictions. I'm so proud of the team and how everyone pulled together to make it happen.'


Director - Karla Crome @karla__crome

Producers- Georgia Goggin, Amy Wells and Martha Hood
DOP- Craig Dean Devine
Editor- Karenjit Sahota
Production Design- Elena Isolini
Make Up Designer- Billie McKenzie
Sound Designer- Adam Welsh
First AD- Steven Eniraiyetan
VFX- Enter Yes
Script Supervisor- Thomas Moodie