Short Film, 8 min, In Post-Production
Alisha (9) is tired of being the only girl on the rugby pitch, but after clashing with yet another boy unwilling to lose to her, she realizes how important it is for her to keep playing.
If you’d like to watch the WIP version of the film, please get in touch here.
9-year-old Alisha is the captain and the only female player of her rugby team. Each game comes with new boys who are not ready to lose to her, making her experience frustrating rather than enjoyable. But one day, she plays against Ben, a boy suffering from the pressure of his mother’s “tough-guy” expectations. Ben’s mother knows her son has a vulnerable character, and she wants to make a “real man” out of him to avoid the risk of the other children bullying him. When it becomes clear that Alisha is a better player than Ben, the boys can’t cope with the humiliation: the two children inevitably clash and get expelled from the game. Alisha runs back to the changing room and channels her rage on a doll she finds inside Ben’s backpack, triggering a new fight with the boy. However, after a close encounter with his mother, she understands the boy is just another victim of stereotypes, and she realises how important it is she keeps leading her team.
Why this film
Gender stereotypes are the underlying cause of major social issues such as violence against women, high suicide rates among young men, and the gender pay gap (just to name a few). By the age of six, children already have a clear idea of what their role in society is and how they are supposed to behave based on their gender. Studies show that such young girls have serious issues with self-esteem: they consider themselves less intelligent and capable than boys and believe certain tasks or positions of power are more suitable for boys. On the other hand, young boys struggle to express emotions and develop violent behaviours. “Just Kids” shows us how we could be inadvertently fuelling a negative loop that is preventing us from living in a fairer society for both women and men.
The project is delivered in partnership with over 40 charities, organizations and influencers that will help us make an impact by using the film as part of their daily activities in schools and distributing it to an audience of parents and teachers. Our partners include:
Writer / Director
Alessandro Riconda is a London-based filmmaker. His early work was broadcast by BBC, FOX, MTV and Comedy Central, but he is best known for the short film “Shame and glasses”, which was acquired by HBO Europe and MoMa New York, and was an official selection in over 200 festivals, including the Academy qualifying TIFF Kids, Chicago Children’s Int Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, Uppsala Film Festival and Guanajuato Film Festival, and won the “Best Overall” award at Chicago Int. Film Festival’s CineYouth section.
The script of his upcoming short film “Just Kids” was rated in the top 2% of all short film projects on Coverfly and was a finalist at the ScreenCraft Film Grant.
While developing a slate of personal projects, Alessandro works as a freelance Script Editor, Script Coordinator, and Script Reader for Film and HETV Drama. His credits include “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”, Marvel’s “Secret Invasion”, “The Peripheral”, and “Master of None”. He also supports Netflix’s International Original Features team providing coverage and development notes on their commissioning slate. Prior to this, he also assisted Oscar-winning directors Peter Cattaneo and Sebastian Lelio on their feature films “Military Wives” and “Disobedience”. Alessandro is a BAFTA Connect and Directors UK member.
Paolo Maria Pedullà is a junor creative producer with ten years of experience in the industry. He worked mainly as an associate producer in high-end TV and Film. His credits include Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar Nominated film “The Hand of God”, and TV series such as “The Young Pope” and “The New Pope” (SKY, HBO, Canal+), Luca Guadagnino’s “We Are Who We Are” (HBO, SKY), and the TV series My Brilliant Friend (HBO, RAI), based on Elena Ferrante’s tetralogy. He is a MA Producing graduate from the National Film and Television School.
James Knowles‘ experience comes from a career in High-End TV and Feature Film in junior positions within Production, as well as Head of Department roles in short form content via his production company Entity Pictures and other freelance work. He graduated from the University of Salford with a First Class degree in Film Production (BA Hons) where he received the Enterprise & Industry Engagement Award 2020. Through his professional and freelance work he has gained a thorough understanding of all aspects of Production workflows.