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Silvano's big screen debut

STARRING ROLE: Silvano Griffith-Francis both acted in and directed Family Secrets

IT’S NOT EVERYDAY that someone wakes up and thinks, ‘I’ll make a film’ – but that’s what playwright Silvano Griffith-Francis did, and the film Family Secrets is the result.

Family Secrets is Silvano’s debut as a filmmaker. She made the film in part because she was encouraged to do so.

From start to finish, Family Secrets took two years to complete. Making it was a step of faith on Silvano’s part. She explained: “I really do believe this is something God put on my heart.

“I’ve heard the saying, ‘Where God gives the vision he makes provision’. For me it was about stepping out and saying, ‘God, this is what I believe you are calling me to do next. I’m going to take my tiny step of faith, I need you to provide in all kinds of ways’ – and he did.”

The cast includes actors that had appeared in the original stage production of Family Secrets, as well as people Silvano selected from internet casting sites.

“We had about 15 nationalities represented across the team – British, Italian, Bulgarian, African and Caribbean descent.”

Based on Silvano’s stage play, Family Secrets tells the story of the Matthews family comprising three adult siblings. All are Christians, and all seem successful, but in reality, each sibling has their own struggles, and the film explores why they are ashamed to share them with each other and the church.

SUCCESSES AND STRUGGLES: A scene from the film

“The film is meant to be an analogy of the church,” Silvano explained. "Sometimes we have things we have to deal with and we think no one in church will understand yet we are a family and we should be able to share these things with each other. She added “The film covers some issues that aren’t discussed enough in church and it would be good to see open honest conversations about them in church. “The film also highlights that no one is perfect. We all have things we struggle with but there should be someone within the church or our network of friends that we can confide so that the enemy does no make us feel we are the only one with an issue.”

The premiere of Family Secrets took place at Elim church, Barking, on Saturday (September 22) and was followed by an after show discussion.

Silvano is keen to screen the film in churches and encourage discussion around the issues. She is also exploring opportunities to get the film screened in America, Africa and the Caribbean – or anywhere that audiences would welcome the film’s content.

Silvano's filmmaking experience has awakened her to the potential of Christian filmmaking in the UK.

She said: “The market is hugely untapped in this country. Yet there is a lot of potential here. Watching a lot of the content on television, the church should get behind and support filmmaking. There’s a lot of talent out there, especially among young people in church. It would be great to get more backing from the church.”

Silvano, who worked at the BBC before she gave up her work to be a full time creative five years ago, has caught the movie bug. She’s already written the script for her next film and is set to embark on a crowdfunding campaign.

In the interim, Silvano hopes that Christian audiences will love Family Secrets and journey with her on new career as a filmmaker.

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