Short Films by JF WHITNEY screened at: RAINDANCE, LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL MANHATTAN ("THE HUNGRY GHOST RHAPSODY" Nominated for BEST MUSIC VIDEO) PORTOBELLO FILM FESTIVAL ("TROLLMORS VUGGESANG" Nominated for BEST AUDIENCE REACTION 2012, "ALL THE WORLD'S A CAGE" Nominated for BEST ART/EXPERIMENTAL FILM 2014, "MY DOG" Nominated for BEST LOCAL FILM 2015, "I'M HURTING/THE BITTER CUP" Nominated for BEST ART FILM 2017) "IDEOCRACY: PROPHECY AND LOSS" Nominated for BEST MUSIC FILM 2018, BRITISH SHORTS BERLIN, EDINBURGH SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, CURZON MAYFAIR, REGENT ST CINEMA, RIO CINEMA, THE HORSE HOSPITAL, QUAD CINEMA (New York) FUTURE SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL (Tokyo)
"TEQUILA" is a project intended as a feature film, TV series or graphic novel. It is the the story of a neglected infant who becomes the first actual Baby President Of The World...the full story treatment can be read below.
Our story begins with hard-up housemates High St. Ken and Vauxhall Victor.
They spend the tough times fantasising about an ideal flatmate named Corn Girl who will solve all problems, financial and otherwise-in a variety of fantastical ways.
Their reverie is interrupted by the arrival of Feryl and her baby daughter Tequila, they have come to view the spare room in the house and move in straight away without even obtaining permission. Feryl's vicious and sullen character is invisible to High St Ken who sees everything through his rose-tinted glasses. Besides, everybody who meets Tequila is completely beguiled by her, which leads to her eventual and incredible rise to being the First Baby President Of The World... this happens after a series of adventures that befall her after she finally manages to crawl away from Feryl.
On the street outside her home she encounters a magical tortoise named Meety Pie who soon becomes her best friend. On their travels they advance their destinies in the world through a series of jobs, including: Flipping Vegan Broccoli Burgers, teaching foreign Baby/Tortoise language, as cops on points duty and even a brief attempt at micro-surgery! Eventually Tequila’s unearthly charm leads her to become head of a huge corporation with besotted and disarmed executives hanging on to her every gurgle, which they interpret as suggestions to accomplish great deeds of altruism. Meety Pie is her second-in-command. Chastened, guilt-ridden business magnates fund an international election campaign and soon Tequila is the First President of The World at the age of 1 year, with Meety Pie as Vice-President. Her baby charm has melted the hearts of the electorate…all would-be opposition groups, conspirators and assassins are rendered utterly harmless and helpless. The magnates tearfully pour their vast wealth into meticulously managed funds for relieving all inequalities and hardships throughout the world. Soon every town square has a statue of Tequila sitting on Meety Pie as its main feature. Her face appears on all currency and on vast posters in city centres. Framed photographs of Tequila adorn every living room wall.
During Tequila's presidency, life carries on for all of the other characters.
Vauxhall Victor remains stoic and sensible throughout. Occasionally showing impatience at Feryl's untidiness/aggression/unreliability with rent etc.
High St Ken wakes up without his rose-tinted glasses and becomes depressed, morbid, gloomy and horrified. His first vision without them is like a Heironymus Bosch painting. He either sits in brooding Byronic magnificence writing appalling poetry or hiding beneath the television, from where he can draw the most attention. (Whenever the TV is switched on, the sound consists of a mumbled conversation with the word "Absolutely" at the beginning of every sentence.)
Eventually while morosely walking the streets, Ken's glasses fall over his eyes from where they were hidden in his tousled thatch of hair…the first person he sees is the real Corn Girl. They fall in love at first sight and after a whirlwind dance about the town (including around Tequila's statue) Ken moves her into the house. There is an immediate struggle between Corn Girl and Feryl, which sees Corn Girl victorious. Feryl retreats sulkily to her room and rarely ventures out, while Corn Girl solves every problem within a mile radius of the house, all to Victor's beaming approval.
Corn Girl's half-sister Babycakes becomes a regular visitor, dispensing a rainbow shower of placebos which enhance the overall joyous mood by a significant amount. Soon she is discovered by the press and is named "The @ Girl"-The no 1 socialite.
Another regular visitor is model and actor Open Mike. After a brief and disastrous liaison with Feryl, he finds a record by the group "Busted" for 1p in a charity shop. This inspires him to form a punk rock group, re-naming himself "Michael Offensive." He ropes Ken and Victor into the band, messing their hair and ripping their clothes. Appalling as their music is, they are seen busking on a local TV news item which happens to be watched by Tequila. When she gurgles with joyful recognition and points at the screen, all of her lackeys hail the band as geniuses and their subsequent rise to fame and return to obscurity is meteoric.
One day Corn Girl is travelling on a tube/subway train. It becomes hopelessly overcrowded and is stuck in the tunnel. It is also on this historic day that Tequila visits her mother. Everyone is stunned by the sight of Tequila on her golden chariot in the shape of a tortoise (modelled on Meety Pie) drawn by a huge army of security men in sunglasses and accompanied by an orchestra as it levels with the house where Feryl lives with High St Ken and Vauxhall Victor. TV cameras, reporters and photographers are everywhere. Tequila dismounts and Meety Pie carries her up the path to the front door. Feryl opens the door and snatches Tequila from Meety Pie's back, whisks her inside and slams the door. Everyone stands outside in stunned silence, not knowing what to do.
Meanwhile, Tequila's permanently absent father Duke has been watching Tequila's parade with great interest. Loudly and obnoxiously he points to her image on the pub TV screen, claiming that his devotional parenting skills have turned her into an arrogant brat with no regard for her loving father. After watching the procession stop outside the house, he drunkenly makes his way there. It will take him a while to arrive as he has virtually no sense of direction and arrives back at the pub several times in succession, much to the amusement of all the customers.
Eventually Duke finds the house, tripping over the TV camera leads and bursts in, there then ensues a dreadful scene of domestic chaos with Tequila left hiding with High St Ken and Vauxhall Victor in her old room. They adore her and try to look after her as best they can. Duke and Feryl shout and swear at each other with no regard for, or interest in anything else.
Meanwhile Tequila's estranged-since-birth Siamese twin Sulky (who occasionally appears in her dreams) is sensing Tequila's distress. She flies from the window out of the children's home where she has always lived and makes her instinctive and inexorable way to Tequila's side. When re-united, the twins are an irresistible force-Tequila's cuteness and Sulky's limitless strength bring an instant change in Feryl and Duke. They instantly become considerate and loving parents who can't do enough for the twins and are even very polite to Ken and Victor, who are open-mouthed with astonishment.
Meanwhile, all the compacted passengers of the overcrowded tube train become one and break out of the metal shell of the carraiges like a giant worm/serpent with a thousand integrated, yet conflicting minds, and begins to rampage around the city. As it passes through the central square, it briefly genuflects beforeTequila's statue before continuing its rampage. Tequila and Sulky-acting on pure superhero type instinct- subdue the worm with the sterling help of Corn Girl (who is one of the passengers) and eventually take control of the train, restoring all of the passengers to safety and normality. A riotously happy ending for everyone ensues.