A script by Billy Rees

How Downward came to Lift-Off

Billy Rees (the writer) has been on Lift-Off's radar since he first screened with us back in 2016 at Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival. It has been a pleasure to watch Billy's work grow from strength to strength and we are excited to represent Downward at TIFF.

About the project

Downward is a feature script by Billy Rees.

Synopsis: 35 year old Benjamin Nelson leaves the UK for Australia after being released from a five year prison term. Despite being half the world away he cannot shake the memories of the horrific abuse he suffered at the hands of a group of inmates whilst there. Severe flashbacks haunt him daily and he lives in fear of the next panic attack he may experience.

With a specific destination in mind he tries his best to avoid the distractions of the many people he meets along the way but after a hostel robbery leaves him broke he has no choice but to take on a job at a fruit picking farm until he has the money to complete his journey.

Ben is constantly reminded of home as his parents try their best to get hold of him but he appears to have turned his back on them – something that he clearly struggles with every time he rejects a call or text from them. Between the horrific flashbacks from prison Ben is grateful for the memories of a happier time with his family and fiancé before the split second ‘incident’ that saw him sent there.

Keeping his head down, Ben works every shift he can to replace the money he lost. He goes out of his way to hide his past but the closer he gets to people at the farm the more he lets his guard down. As a friendship develops with the farm owner’s daughter Ben starts to feel comfortable and the huge weight of the guilt he carries starts to lighten. When a jealous farm worker exposes Ben’s past he has no choice but to move on – but his new friend wants answers and refuses to let him leave without them. She can see glimpses of the Ben that used to exist and wants to help Ben get him back – but can he do that without completing what he came to Australia to do? Can he let go of what he believes is his only hope of redemption? The physical scars Ben carries are far outweighed by the mental ones – it will take something drastic to ease them.

The Writer, Billy Rees

Billy has been creating screenplays for over ten years - writing short films, full feature films, as well as a TV series. He started out writing comedy but then moved on to what has now become his absolute passion - gritty dramas that keep the audience guessing right until the very end. Billy's clever use of clues and hidden messages throughout his scripts offer the audience a huge rewarding finale. Billy loves to play with the audience and keep their allegiances with the characters uncertain. He has also produced and directed short films - the most recent of which has enjoyed success, with Best screenplay nominations as well as a best director award for Billy's directorial debut.