Guidelines by Liam Cairns | Script Revolution


A civil servant in an alternative present must interview and assess an immigrant couple who wish to start a family in a society were the right to conceive children must be granted by the state.



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In an alternative version of the United Kingdom, Gemma Rye, a diligent civil servant, works in the Procreation Department of the British Government, where she interviews prospective parents and either grants or denies their right to conceive children.Upon the day of their birth, a barcode with an unique ID number is tattooed on their wrist, certifying them as genuine British citizens. Any child born without state permission is regarded as an unauthorised citizen and, if caught, can be seized by the government and deported to other countries, or euthanised if terminally ill. Parents of illegal children can be turned away from public services such as healthcare, education, welfare, etc. and face a prison sentence for illegal conception.

Despite a dedicated career in the department, Gemma's conscience is often troubled by the swathes of potential parents who must be denied parenthood on a daily basis, often for only just failing government guidelines by the narrowest of margins (i.e. household income just a fraction of a penny below the needed threshold, living space just under the required size of accommodation and so on). So when Kurt, a police officer in the procreation branch of his constabulary, informs her of a raid on an illegal baby farm - were illegal children are sold and tattooed in appalling conditions to be sold later to wealthy families - and that the department is to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, Gemma's sense of duty is frustrated by a troubled moral compass.

That very afternoon, she is due to interview a mixed-race couple, Mr. and Mrs. Hakimi. Muhammed Hakimi is of middle-eastern descent, yet has become a naturalised citizen after five years of living and working in the UK. Petra, his wife, is of Eastern European origins but her credentials are not as clear as her husband's.

From the very beginning of the interview, it becomes clear to Gemma that the Hakimi's are not who they seem. Their story will force Gemma to confront the nature of her profession and the profoundly unjust and callous system she works under.

Submitted: December 10, 2018
Last Updated: June 7, 2020

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The Writer: Liam Cairns

I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1990. At the age of sixteen, my family uprooted and moved to London, United Kingdom where I completed my education. I originally aimed to study at university for a degree in physics but, upon discovering the film magazine Sight & Sound , decided instead to attend film school. I studied Film and Television Production at the Creative Arts school in the University of Hertfordshire, eventually completing a masters degree in 2015. For my thesis, I wrote and directed a spec script for a short student film entitled Conduit , as well as scripting another short spec entitled Mr. Midnight. I co-wrote and starred in a small cameo in the independently... Go to bio

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