Violet Culbo

UK – VFX Project – 2016

Michelle Williams Gamaker (writer-director)

CCFL 2016Michelle Williams Gamaker is a moving image artist whose work focuses on the experience of individuals who have been exiled or marginalised in society.  Her current projects are The Fruit is There to be Eaten, a post-colonial, post-romantic exploration of British directors Powell and Pressburger’s female protagonists; the docufiction feature Brown Queers, which explores the multiplicities of identity for Queer people of colour; and magic realist feature film Violet Culbo, in development with Film London (FLAMIN). Williams Gamaker is also a Lecturer in BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London.


Luton Airport, England, 2015.  Baggage handler Devindra discovers Violet Culbo as she emerges from a wooden crate, unable to speak.  The only clue to her identity is a map of Scotland she clutches, her finger pointing to the tiny village of Culbo in the Highlands.   A miracle happens: tattoos triggered by empathy come alive, animating across Violet’s body, seeming to offer clues about her journey and who she might be.  The workers are astonished and take pity on her.  They defy the orders of their boss and risk all to get her home.  A journey begins, taking Violet and her followers through a rural post-industrial service-economy England.  With Violet hidden in an ornate wooden palanquin, the men head north.  A manhunt is underway for this fugitive and her accomplices.

As Violet’s mystique grows in social consciousness, she gathers a motley crew of helpers along the way.  Word about the journey continues to spread, and Violet’s presence in a country sensitised to nationalism soon draws local and international press attention.  What threat does she pose?  Are her followers embroiled in sinister religious activities?  Or, most dangerous of all, does her pacifist, Luddite and anti-commercial behaviour have the potential to offer all UK residents an alternative to the politics of fear and division?  These divisions gain as many followers as enemies and change the nature of their quest: a journey has become a pilgrimage.  A final showdown plays out in which Violet summons the last of her strength to prove her followers right and justify why it was worth breaking the law to return her to Culbo.