Sue Dunderdale

TV & Film

At present Sue is directing KAREN the first chapter in a feature “Detached Property” by Jake Mann and produced by Habitual Man and Zoya Machkina, starring Tilly Vosburgh and Michael Garner. She has just directed 2 episodes of HOLBY for the BBC.

Sue has directed many continuing dramas and drama serials, and drama documentaries. She has made about ten short films some of which can be viewed in full on this page. These are LAST LAUGH (wrote and directed), ANGEL (directed), MINE (wrote and directed) and EXPOSED (directed).She is currently focussing on the development of two films planned for production in the next two years LOVING MONSTERS by Chris Katic and CEDRIC and LOUISE by Pam Gems. There is a synopsis of both film below and links to the producers’s sites.

She is particularly proud of introducing new and exciting talents to the screen, she gave early television parts to Ian Hart, Johnny Lee Miller, Lyndsey Marshal and Rupert Evans. She has a reputation for the quality of the screen acting that she fosters.

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Synopsis: Loving Monsters

In the summer of 1814, Mary Godwin (16) and the married Percy Shelley (19) fall tempestuously in love.  Everyone and everything is against them. United against the world’s opposition and in their dreams of radical love they run away to war-torn France in search of endless revolution and happiness.

Their romantic idyll lasts for a brief moment and then they are rudely interrupted by Mary’s stepmother and her stepsister, Claire -come to take her back home. Mary stands her ground and to her dismay Claire decides to throw her lot in with the happy couple. Mrs. Godwin returns to London alone. The loving couple becomes an uneasy threesome.  Together they set off on Shelley’s quest to ascend the icy peaks of Mont Blanc; secretly he is hoping to meet Byron in Chamonix.  On the way he and Mary intend to find their true selves – free to love without interference from the grown-ups. But as they travel the journey turns into a nightmare – fear stalks them as they come across the war ravaged villages and starving, desperate villagers. As they struggle to survive, jealousy takes over the psyches of the two women, who engage in a vicious psychological battle for possession of the highly desirable Shelley.

Nothing goes to plan when you refuse to make plans – they get lost, soaked, lose all their money.  A rift develops between the “happy couple” and Claire begins to move in on Shelley. Mary’s teenage demons of fear and self-loathing emerge with a vengeance and Shelley transforms into the mad Frankenstein to her tortured monster.  Possessed by jealousy Mary urges Claire to have sex with a wild French deserter who threatens them – the threesome breaks apart-they lose each other in the wilds. Guilt ridden Mary searches for her lover and sister through thunder and lightning over storm-wracked mountains.

At last she finds them-together-making love. Her demons erupt and she becomes truly a monster and in a nightmare sequence pursues her lover and her rival across the peaks, howling for their blood.

Surely love can’t survive this!

Yet the morning finds the threesome in Chamonix, sullen and betrayed but still together. Mary has completely muffled her face to hide the monster she has become. At dawn, the next day she climbs the great mountain on her own, challenging the elements to take her life. Yet she survives and reaches the lake by the glacier.  There she confronts her own image and the ugly desires it reveals.  Shelley searches for her and when he finds her they strip their hopes and dreams bare in an heroic attempt to forge a new way of experiencing love.

Two years later, Mary, transforms her monsters of love, hate and desire into her great story- Frankenstein.

Producer: Diane Shorthouse

Synopsis: Cedric and Louise

Cedric is nearly 80, Louise approaching 18 and they have forged a sparring partnership built on grudging respect and mutual loneliness. Cedric has a life behind him full of acclaim, recognition and awards, the Nobel Prize for Science being but one of them. They now mean nothing to him. Louise is one of the brightest students at her posh school but she’s a scholarship girl from a poor background with an inattentive mum and an invisible father. She’s an outsider but with the whole of her life before her.

Both these loners have somehow found each other and bonded. Cedric can plan a great future for Louise and she sharpens her mind arguing furiously with him. Cedric is determined it will be Oxbridge for his protégé and she’ll get there before he dies. He knows he’s dying but he’s not prepared to share that with anyone, not even Louise.

When Louise wins her first award at school, Cedric guides her towards making an outrageous demand for many books as a means of educating her and teaching her courage in the face of the establishment. They are at their closest and then, suddenly, Cedric is in hospital and she feels lost and deserted and scared.  When she visits him he is intent on not letting her know how close to the end he is and she has developed plans of her own which she doesn’t share with him. Some time passes and she visits him at home where he is preparing to help her with her Cambridge application (whilst also preparing himself for death). Then Louise throws a bloody great spanner in the works. She doesn’t want the academic life, she wants to be an artist, an actress even-it’s insecure but there’s less bullshit. Cedric cannot bear to be flouted –he scorns her for throwing away her brilliant academic potential. They row and he is tough with her almost cruel. They manage to patch up if not to make up, but then Cedric does the dirty on her, instead of waiting for the cup of tea she’s making him, he dies.  Louise is left with only herself and the rest of her life before her.

This is an independent movie in the American mould- a series of 6 conversations between two opposites, testing each other, the world and their ideas. These conversations are like a sequence of snapshots of moments in the development of a relationship. It’s a film about love of the deepest kind. It’s about starting out in life and about facing up to leaving it; the beginning, the end and all that goes in-between.

It has two wonderful roles; it’s developed from a play written by one of our most established playwrights writing at the peak of her powers in her old age. It’s a simple film to make and yet full of complexity in what it has to say about life and the importance of the life of the mind. It offers a new way of looking at the world and relationships when the material life seems to have left us wanting.

Sue Dunderdale

© Sue Dunderdale 2014