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Kent director's domestic violence film reaches New York and the Philippines


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Real-life experiences of domestic abuse have inspired a film about the ordeal victims face in lockdown.

Kaitlyn Boxall, who grew up in Gravesend, wrote and directed "Behind Closed Doors" – a feature which has helped audiences from around the world speak out about domestic violence.

Holly Prentice, left, and Kaitlyn Boxall, right. Picture: Kaitlyn Boxall
Holly Prentice, left, and Kaitlyn Boxall, right. Picture: Kaitlyn Boxall

The 32-minute piece is registered on global film review site IMDB and has been viewed across the UK, North America and the Philippines.

It addresses domestic violence before and during the pandemic and Kaitlyn hopes sharing the story will help save the lives of hundreds of victims.

The film follows the story of Lisa Crawford, portrayed by Holly Prentice, living through an abusive marriage until her best friend, Alison, played by Ellie Mulhern, refers her to a counsellor.

The names of the characters have been changed to protect the identity of the individual who inspired the story.

While researching the film, Kaitlyn heard from victims who had experienced incidents of domestic violence, which inspired her to tell the story.

Kaitlyn Boxall on set of her film "Behind Closed Doors". Picture: Kaitlyn Boxall
Kaitlyn Boxall on set of her film "Behind Closed Doors". Picture: Kaitlyn Boxall

In one case, a victim described how her abusive partner said: "I will not be happy until you and the baby in your stomach are in a coffin" and she fled to a women's refuge to escape the torment.

Since the film's release, Kaitlyn has heard from multiple victims of violent relationships and hopes the piece will inspire others who find themselves in a similar position to speak out.

The 20-year-old said: "Due to the significant rise of domestic abuse cases in lockdown, this is a subject in film that really needs to be addressed.

"I feel very strongly that this film could save people's lives."

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which ordinarily logs around 270 calls and contacts from women, friends and family members needing support every day, saw an increase of 77% during June last year.

The film follows Lisa Crawford, played by Holly Prentice, and her abusive relationship. Picture: Kaitlyn Boxall
The film follows Lisa Crawford, played by Holly Prentice, and her abusive relationship. Picture: Kaitlyn Boxall

"Victims have lost what little help they have, and are stuck indoors with their abusers, losing touch with the outside world entirely," said Kaitlyn.

"The film highlights how domestic abuse has been amplified by the lockdown in Britain, and how these women cannot seek the help they would normally have access to."

The director was shocked to find out the film had already helped people living through domestic abuse in countries across the world.

She said: "Domestic violence is deemed as a normality in many countries, and I am glad the film has gained attention in these particular countries aside from just Britain.

"Not only has the film helped victims, but it has also opened the eyes of outsiders, who would not normally understand why victims just leave their abusers.

"I promise you that there is hope."

"If it can save at least one person's life, then I know I have achieved that.

"To all victims who are living with domestic abuse, before lockdown and during, I promise you that there is hope.

"The psychological affect is devastating. Get out, and do not be ashamed to ask for help. Peace of mind is invaluable. You can start again, and you will."

The film, which is rated 15, is available to purchase here.

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship or in need of advice, you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247, or via its website.

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