Supported by Channel 4′s Alpha Fund
“God Help The Girl” is a musical feature film, which will be made in 2012. It is written and is to be directed by Stuart Murdoch, the lead singer of the group Belle And Sebastian.
So far, an album of songs has been written and released (in 2009) as a precursor to the film.
The project began in late 2003 when Stuart started writing a few songs that “weren’t for him to sing”, but had a ‘girl group’ sound. The few songs soon became a whole album’s worth. By this time, most of the songs were to be sung by a lead character, a girl called Eve.
At this point, Stuart went back to focus on Belle And Sebastian during 2004-6. The project, however, wouldn’t go away.
As the Belle And Sebastian tour of 2006 came to an end, it became increasingly clear that the ‘girl group’ songs formed a story, and that the story had to be written. The day after the last chord of the tour was struck, Stuart began writing a screenplay called ‘God Help The Girl’, taking its title from the first song that had crept along in the dark days of 2003.
With the screenplay in progress, the decision was taken to record the songs first. Belle and Sebastian were called in to be the studio group. Auditions for singers were at first held on a local level, but then the search was thrown wider, with open auditions over the internet.
More than 500 girls and guys tried out for parts. Dina Bankole and Brittany Stallings won the online competition to come and record with the group, but the lead singing part went to Catherine Ireton, who sang the ‘part’ of Eve.
The album God Help The Girl was recorded and released in 2009. A touring band was formed featuring Catherine, Celia Garcia and Alex Klobouk, and some shows were played including a concert at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, supported by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
In March 2007, producer Barry Mendel got in touch with Belle And Sebastian’s manager (and erstwhile GHTG coordinator) John Williamson, perhaps anticipating that there was some sort of movie project happening. Barry was seized upon, and immediately assumed the mantle of Producer.
During many discussions and some cross continent visits, Barry helped shape and edit the script, the first draft of which Stuart finally finished at the end of 2009…
….just in time for Belle and Sebastian to go to work again. In 2010 they wrote and recorded Write About Love and toured the world for a year, finishing in June 2011.
That brings us to now.
In addition to continuing the work on the script, the other main focus at present is casting, which is being spearheaded by Glasgow’s Kahleen Crawford and her colleague Caroline Stewart. Word is on the street and auditions from all comers are being welcomed, enjoyed, and digested. Candidates are trying out scenes and displaying their musicality. The response has been wonderful.
Barry and Stuart have also strengthened the producing team adding Singer Films’ Carole Sheridan in Glasgow and Zephyr Films’ Chris Curling and Phil Robertson in London who together are spearheading UK fundraising as well as Beth Allan who is managing the physical production.
The site will be steadily evolving as we move forward with the film and we are keen to hear your suggestions and comments. We are currently looking for you to suggest ideas for casting but later we will also be looking for you to help us find locations, ideas for the design of character’s clothes, homes etc. Shortly we will be launching a Karaoke section which will be a bit of fun for you to let us hear you singing along to songs from the soundtrack.
We are very much looking forward to your contributions…