Piercing Brightness

A science fiction feature film set in Preston
Shezad Dawood
United Kingdom
1 Team Member

Image features ‘Halo’, an artwork by John Kennedy, commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts.

Piercing Brightness: a science fiction feature film set in Preston

Script by Kirk Lake, from an original story by Shezad Dawood
Original soundtrack by Makoto Kawabata / Acid Mothers Temple (Japan)

HD/16mm/'archive' footage of UFO sightings

Piercing Brightness is written and directed by internationally acclaimed artist Shezad Dawood. It was commissioned by In Certain Places, Preston as a public art project and the script has derived from the city itself. 

Did you know that Lancashire has the highest number of UFO sightings in the UK?!

The story begins with Jiang and Shin, a young Chinese boy and girl, who land in a spacecraft on Top O Slate in East Lancashire. They have been sent on a mission to retrieve the ‘Glorious 100’ who were sent to this planet millennia ago to study and observe. Living through countless lives without any scope for return, many have become corrupted, forgetting their original purpose and slowly becoming influenced by and in turn influencing their adopted home.

On arrival Shin and Jiang, are assigned to Naseer Khan (played by Bhasker Patel), one of the Glorious 100 who runs a newsagent. Naseer tries to help them in their mission as they negotiate uneasy alliances across the cultural divide. They befriend Nikki, a feisty young woman, played by Preston actress Samantha Edwards, and are constantly pursued by a Hoodie BMX gang, played by…a local BMX gang. Lee, who is a local Chinese boy trying to finalise his immigration application, is thrown out of his B&B and befriends Nikki. Nikki is fed up with her mother Maggie, who runs a café and is part of a local UFO group. Maggies is in cahoots with Warner, the immigration officer, whom himself is in league with one of the Hoodies.

The gripping story takes place on the streets of Preston, stopping off at Booze Express on Corporation Street, Hair and Beauty on Friargate, Crown News on Lancaster Road and via the Covered Market, the Market Square, New York New York nightclub and Avenham Park where 40+ local people are playing the ‘townspeople’ drawn towards the strange lights. The film comes to a dramatic closing car chase sequence ending up on the controversial brutalist structure of Preston Bus Station roof. 

If you are a resident of  Preston you will already be a part of this film, and may end up seeing your City in a new light.

The film looks to play on the border between narrative and experimental film-making, using the materiality of film itself to reflect on time, memory, race and political agency. Working between different formats & refilmed 'film' to produce a palette of light and colour effects to tell a story through both narrative & implication/time distortion, while at the same time looking at a history of experimental film effects being used in mainstream popular science-fiction such as Close Encounters.

Production Company: UBIK Productions Ltd/Shezad Dawood
Director: Shezad Dawood
Commissioner: In Certain Places, Preston
Executive Producer: In Certain Places/Modern Art Oxford
Producer: Kate Parker
Writer: Kirk Lake
Casting Director: Rose Wicksteed/Parlour Casting
Director of Photography: Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz
Production Designer: Simon Godfrey, Set to Set Ltd
Costume Designer: Laura Smith
Sound Recordist: Andrew Hewitson
Make Up Designer: Tricia Temple
Focus Puller: David Pulgarin
Steadicam/2nd Unit Camera: Dawid Pietkiewicz
1st AD: Christiaan Faberij de Jonge
Production Coordinator: Edward Rastelli Lewis
Gang Coordinator: Liam Taylor
Script Supervisor/Continuity: Grant Greenaway
Editor: Katherine Lee

Associate Producer: Modern Art Oxford and Outset Contemporary Art Fund
Associate Producer: AND Festival
Associate Producer:
Harris Museum, Preston

About the Artist


Shezad Dawood was born in London in 1974, and currently lives in London. Appropriating many of his ideas from modern European and American aesthetics, Dawood generates a critical examination of identity. A number of Dawood’s works to date have played with elements from film history, often restaging historical moments, as well as activating particular geographical sites. His first film Feature (2008, 55 mins, HD) http://www.shezaddawood.com/#Projects/18 is a Zombie Western set in the English Countryside. Lord Krishna of Hindu mythology is recast as a cowboy alongside playing with the genre of the revisionist Westerns of Altman and Peckinpah and also the zombie films of the 1970s.

Shoot Dates & Screenings

We are shooting in July in Preston from 11th July to 30st July and plan to complete the film by the end of the year for distribution via Festivals including Rotterdam, Sundance, Oberhausen, South by Southwest and Orizzonti at the Venice Film Festival.

Dubai Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Picture House Group and the ICA, London have expressed strong interest in screening the film. AND (Abandon Normal Devices) Festival who are a major regional festival of new cinema and digital culture in the Northwest will be promoting the film - they recently premiered films by Gillian Wearing and Apichatpong Weerasethekul (last year's Cannes winner), and they have a strong relationship with both Sundance & South by Southwest.

The film will be screened as part of a major touring exhibition that includes the following venues:

The Harris Museum, Preston
Modern Art Oxford, Oxford
Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Cornwall
KINOKINO Centre for Art & Film, Norway

What We Need & What You Get

Piercing Brightness is set to not only impact the art and film worlds but is destined to become a cult film with a broad cultural impact.

The majority of funding for the film is confirmed and the film will go ahead as planned. We have a small way to go and need your help! We are offering the opportunity for people contributing funds to the film to be listed on the film's credits. We are also offering limited edition artefacts, a signed copy of the screenplay and much more, in return for contributions.

These funds would cover:

Extra Lighting
Visual F/X
Stunt Coordinator

Pre Production Images








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This campaign ended on August 24, 2011
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Anything you can give!

    Any contribution you can give towards the film, we will be eternally grateful! We will also list your name on the Piercing Brightness Facebook page with a special thanks!

    1 claimed
  • $15USD
    Limited Edition Badge

    A limited edition 'Piercing Brightness' badge that is set to become a collector's item!

    1 claimed
  • $40USD
    Limited Edition T-Shirt

    This 'Piercing Brightness' T-Shirt is designed by Shezad Dawood and available in various sizes.

    8 claimed
  • $80USD
    Signed Copy of Book

    A publication will accompany the film 'Piercing Brightness' and for this contribution we will send you a copy signed by the Director.

    3 claimed
  • $150USD
    Your name in film credits!

    For this contribution we will list your name in a special section of the Production Credits of 'Piercing Brightness'.

    0 claimed
  • $240USD
    Signed Copy of Screenplay

    A chance to own an original copy of the 'Piercing Brightness' screenplay, signed by Shezad Dawood and script writer Kirk Lake.

    0 claimed
  • $1,600USD
    Signed & Editioned Screenprint

    As well as being a film maker, Shezad Dawood is an internationally acclaimed artist who's work is owned by some major collections. This is an opportunity to purchase a signed, editioned screenprint (unframed) of a work titled 'The Infinites' (2010), a key work in the development process of the film 'Piercing Brightness'.

    0 claimed
  • $8,000USD
    Associate Producer Credit

    Although a significant contribution, you will be named as Associate Producer for the film.

    0 claimed
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