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Social Mobility Charity’s 'Stay Down' Trailer Is a Horror Film Tackling Classism

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Creature London and The Department for Opportunities enlists actors Michael Socha, Jo Hartley and Jonathan Hyde on hard-hitting film

Social Mobility Charity’s 'Stay Down' Trailer Is a Horror Film Tackling Classism

The Department for Opportunities - the Social Mobility Foundation's advocacy and campaigning arm - has launched its second campaign to raise awareness of the Class Pay Gap.

Following on from the success of last year’s Class Polish campaign, which used comedian, Fern Brady to highlight the ridiculous of classism in the workplace, this year’s campaign takes a more sinister turn. Once again partnering with Creature London, the Department for Opportunities has created a short Horror Film starring Michael Socha (This is England, Being Human, Chernobyl), Jo Hartley (This is England, Eddie the Eagle, After Life) and Jonathan Hyde (Titanic, Jumanji, The Queen). 

Directed by Thomas James and produced by OB Management, Stay Down is set in a typical corporate office. In it we see our working-class hero (Michael Socha) doing everything expected of him, yet still having to navigate constant subversive discrimination. Including from his elitist boss, superbly played by screen legend Jonathan Hyde. The film dramatises the insidious, unseen nature of classism as a sinister presence, striving to hold him down physically, and mentally, while strangely sparing others around him - who are therefore able to continue on and succeed, due to that privilege. It’s a disturbingly surreal yet ultimately recognisable story, wrapped up as a seemingly real upcoming blockbuster – complete with a stunning cast.

The trailer for the film also acts as the hero ad in the campaign. The 60-second film follows all the conventions of a traditional movie trailer, teasing viewers and includes a haunting cover of Radiohead’s No Surprises composed by legendary Icelandic artist Högni and performed by up and coming Scottish-Chinese singer songwriter Seil Lien, secured by Major Tom Music. But just as you are about to add it to your ‘must watch list’, the film cuts to reveal the campaign’s messaging – ‘Some Horrors aren’t fiction. Classism is still holding people down.’

Media planning is being managed by Wavemaker. The trailer will be shown in cinema across the UK and will be supported by films posters on digital OOH and in print in this Halloween’s Guardian on Sunday. 

Supporters include notable director, Ken Loach, the British Film Institute, the Sunday Times Film Critic, Kevin Maher, the Financial Times Film Critic, Danny Leigh, author, columnist Yomi Adegoke and rapper and political activist Akala.

The film will be released on the 1st November with an exclusive screening event at the Roundhouse and will be livestreamed and available to all by the Roundhouse, British Film Institute and the Department for Opportunities. 

Speaking on the creation of the campaign, John Osborne, creative director at Creature London says: “Classism survives when it’s allowed to hide in the shadows. We knew we had to continue our unexpected category approach to cut through and shine attention on the issue. To get people talking, of course, but ultimately to apply pressure on those in power holding others down simply because of their background.”

Stu Outhwaite-Noel, chief creative officer at Creature London adds: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that the barriers faced by people from a working-class background are horrifying. With this campaign we’re not just pastiching the horror film genre, we’re dramatising people’s actual reality: and it's a reality that has never been more damaging, and unacceptable.”

Sarah Atkinson, CEO of the Department for Opportunities and Social Mobility Foundation adds. “The very existence of a class pay gap is horrifying. Our campaign is designed to shock employers into action, particularly the creative and arts sectors, which have so much work to do’.  

Our organisation focuses on practical action that drives positive outcomes; any employer who sees the campaign should get in touch because together, we can end the horror of workplace classism.” 

To further amplify the conversation about classism, and the Class Pay Gap, the Department of Opportunities is encouraging people to share their own class horror stories on Twitter and LinkedIn using the hashtag #StayDownFilm.

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Genres: Storytelling

Categories: Corporate, Social and PSAs, Charity

Creature London, Tue, 25 Oct 2022 10:30:00 GMT