Beast of Burden

iFeatures In Development project

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Two brothers join the army to escape banal and poverty-stricken lives, but as one brother excels as a cadet, the other self-destructs, threatening both their chances of redemption.

More about Beast of Burden

In the shadow of Port Talbot’s post-industrial decline, brothers Billy and Errol are trapped on a wheel of joblessness, welfare, and idle drug abuse, consumed by self-loathing and a crippling sense of powerlessness.

When Billy gets a local girl pregnant, and their estranged father returns to announce a terminal illness, everything changes. But whilst Errol resolves to escape, Billy wades into the darkness of his own self-destructive impulses.

With limited options Errol joins the army, a last desperate act to break free. Billy is quick to pursue him, refusing to be damned to a fate like his fathers. But Billy also has an ulterior motive; to bring his brother back.

As life within the army barracks begins, the brother’s lifelong power relationship reverses. Billy, the dominant, charismatic character, is surpassed by Errol whose natural strength and doltish obedience is the ideal mould for a ‘good soldier’.

Overwhelmed by rage and jealousy, Billy sets his plan in motion, sabotaging their one chance at redemption.

Billy’s plan turns against him as he is discharged, cast back out onto civvy street, into a no-mans land of alienation, poverty and hopelessness. Here, Billy’s innate survival instinct and his compulsion to self-destruct are finally pitted against each other.

As Billy battles his demons, an unnerving sense of doom begins to brood beneath the surface.

The Team

Hardey Speight (Writer/Director)

Hardey is a co-founder of Black Lab Films, producing and directing branded content, commercials and brand documentaries. After graduating from film school he began his film and drama career as an Assistant Director on shows SHERLOCK and DOCTOR WHO, before side-stepping into the advertising life, working as a commercials Copy Writer, Art Director and Director.

Now represented in London by agency The Visionaries, Hardey continues to work as a freelance commercials Creative and Director, whilst developing a slate of passion projects in short fiction for Black Lab Films.

You can visit Hardey’s website at:

Hannah Thomas (Producer) 

Hannah is a Producer at Severn Screen, an independent film and television production company based in Wales. The company produces English and Welsh language content and has a diverse slate of projects in development. Partners on recent projects include BBC Films, All3Media International, Daybreak Pictures, XYZ Films, S4C and Ffilm Cymru Wales. Hannah is the Producer of current BBC 4 drama, HIDDEN and in 2017, Severn Screen also completed Gareth Evans’ Netflix Original film APOSTLE and BBC Films and Ffilm Cymru Wales backed DENMARK, staring Rafe Spall.

Prior to joining Severn Screen, Hannah was Head of Creative Sector Development at Ffilm Cymru Wales where she oversaw the production of a number of features including, I AM NOT A WITCH, ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING and A DARK SONG amongst others.

Company website: