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ARIELLA is Michael's debut feature film, ten years in the making. Michael is the writer, directer, producer, cinematographer, production designer, editor and composer. The film follows Ariella, a hard worker from a Sao Paulo favela who meets Ben, a nice Jewish Boy from London. Their idyllic love story is distorted when Ben begs Ariella to sleep with his Uncle, a strip club tycoon, to whom Ben is his heir. The film is ready for release with international distribution rights still available. 

Ariella Poster jpeg.jpg

Directors statement: 

"The initial inspiration for Ariella came over ten years ago. I was on a dating website (yes before the apps!) and I connected with a beautiful and interesting Brazilian young woman. We very quickly moved onto Skype chat. I was 23, living at home with my parents (as I would continue for another 6 years in pursuit of making this movie), lonely and desperate. She showed an interest in me. I fell in love instantly. Then the heart wrenching question, so often rejected at this stage….’can we meet up?’….’Yes I want to! But…’ we go...’You have to pay the place I am living in’....’what? Can we meet up outside of where you live?’....’no you have to pay’...I wanted to believe it so bad. I had been in love with a Brazilian girl before. It was epic. But clearly something was not right. I insisted that if she wanted to see me then she can meet me elsewhere and that I should not have to pay. She asked me to come on webcam. Seeing her on camera hit me like a lightning bolt. She asked me again…I refused…tears filled her eyes…she begged me…”I love you. Please. Just pay”....still I wanted to believe it…but I could not…all of a sudden the door opened behind her. A man appeared. Her manner changed. The tears were wiped. He was watching her. Us. Silence. ‘Are you okay? Are you a prisoner?’ I typed. Her laptop screen slammed closed.

Who was that girl? How did she get there? Who was he? Looking back perhaps I should have gone to the Police and not to the whiteboard clumsily hammered on my childhood bedroom wall. But inspiration had struck, I needed to know who she was, her imagined story tumbling like an avalanche down the mountain of my twenties, absorbing interviews with Sex Workers, Police, Gangsters, Lawyers, Punters…a tragically familiar story begun to solidify itself, a story of modern-day-slavery built from puppy love and from childhood guilt…subtle…hard to detect, even harder to prosecute. A story that connects the gangs of the Brazilian favela’s to land ownership and gentrification in Soho, it even involves my beloved Jewish London community.

So yes perhaps I should have gone to the phone and not the whiteboard, but perhaps that happened for a reason. Perhaps this film can do more good than a junior copper on a night shift could have done. Perhaps this film can touch another Ariella out there, or can raise a thought in the mind of a punter who sees it as no different to buying a girl a few drinks at a club…perhaps it can show that manipulation and even slavery is not usually what we think it is, not usually violent, but a tactful, prison of the mind, a destruction of a personality whence from the rubble it can be rebuilt and molded into a loyal cash-cow: a slave."

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