'Losing Us' is a short film and a story about


17-year-old Gezim, an illegal refugee in the UK, is doing everything he can to keep his 11-year-old sister Elira safe after their mother goes missing and they are left to fend for themselves.

Losing Us is in development and we hope to go into production in the summer of 2021. 
All the filming will take place in Norfolk, UK. If you are a crew member or an actor from this area, get in contact as we are expanding our crew contact list. 
Email our producer Lesley van Dijk on levandijk@hotmail.com
Image by Annie Spratt

17-year-old Gezim and 11-year-old Elira live in a happy, loving Albanian family. Violence in their community is rising and the killing of their dad forces their mother Luljeta and the siblings to flee for their lives. They leave their country and after a treacherous long journey, they finally end up on UK shores. Here they have to find ways to survive with the help of the dangerous human trafficking gang member who gives them fake passports.

Luljeta, who is a former teacher, takes a job as a cleaner but what she earns is not enough to feed her children and pay back the gang members. Luljeta mysteriously disappears, leaving her children Gezim and Elira to fend for themselves without any knowledge of what happened to their mother. Gezim fears the worst and tries to protect his sister from that knowledge while attempting to figure out how to survive.


Losing Us is very proud to have a professional, dedicated, diverse and gender-balanced team, with ethnic backgrounds and nationalities ranging from Estonian, Dutch, German, English, Indian and French.

Who are the main characters in



Losing Us will centre around the lives of our three main characters, but will also have 6 other speaking roles and seven featured extras. 


A 17-year-old Albanian refugee is a caring, yet tough and proud young man. After fleeing his home country along with his mother and sister, his main focus in life is keeping his family, especially his younger sister safe. That becomes increasingly difficult for him as he is left with no money and missing a mother, in a country that he is not allowed to be in. Gezim is closed, awkward and mistrusting around other people. He feels like he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders but around his sister Elira, we see rays of his happier sides shine through.


An 11-year-old girl, who in her core is confident, strong, friendly and with lovely traces of childhood innocence. However, the dramatic experiences in the last year of her life are affecting her a lot. Her strength is particularly tested while being anxious and sullen about her missing mother, when she starts to have her period for the first time. Elira loves her brother Gezim and has a good relationship with him. She feels safe around him.

In Gezim’s weak moments, she rises above the situation and the roles almost reverse.


Is a loving mother to Gezim and Elira, and a former teacher. The dramatic events in her home country and the loss of her husband have projected her life onto a path she never imagined she would have to take. As an illegal immigrant, she has to go to extremes to protect her children and to provide for them. The stress and the strain of her experiences take a toll on her health.


The unique Losing Us film project has one of the main roles on offer for a special individual or sponsor to become involved. The core team is looking for an Executive Producer who would be a major investor, instrumental in the budget process and a person with great interest (and or knowledge) in the subject matter.


Having insight and knowledge about the lives of refugees, particularly Albanian, would be a major asset to the film. This knowledge could help deepen the story and influence the film's characters.


The time commitment can be as great or small as the person would like it to be. Investing in the exceptional story and film means a financial commitment of £5,000 minimum. The project requires a total of £11,000 grant investment. The investor who commits the greatest sum will have the majority vote together with Producer Lesley van Dijk when it comes to the final budget.



Typically, this is the person who sources and secures the financing for film production, either through an independent financing company, through a studio, or by financing it themselves. The executive producer's biggest priority is making sure there is enough money to complete the project.


The overall budget to produce this film is £26,000.

Immediately when the script was finished in November 2020, the project was submitted to the main film fund provider in the UK; the British Film Institute (BFI). It has also been submitted to the American Screencraft Film Fund based in California, USA. Both grant applications are very competitive. The BFI has a grant for up to £15,000 and Screencraft has one for up to $30,000.


As the film budget is more than BFI's £15,000 grant, the BFI requires us to seek additional funding for the rest of the budget. The £11,000 will need to be sourced by Monday 22 February 2021. If the extra funding cannot be committed by this date, the BFI does not allow the project to progress.


Screencraft semifinalists!

The latest on our application for the Screencraft grant is very positive as Losing Us is now a semifinalist (down to last 150 entries out of 1,300 on 27 Jan. 2021). This gives us confidence that the story of Losing Us is something that international audiences would find interesting and important. The finalists will be listed on 17 February and winners are announced on 24 March 2021.


We are open to your investment and involvement to make this important film seen by millions.

Want to see more filming work by Teele Dunkley?
Check out Teele's work with still photography: 


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