Set in a dystopian, alternative version of now, ‘Placebo’ portrays the experiences of four young people as they escape from a science facility where they are being unfairly experimented on. The bureaucratic system sees these bright kids fail their school exams, so they are forced to turn to participation in scientific trials in order to earn money. In addition, it is a legal requirement to film everything they do through mobile phones or other devices, so the four escapees cover their backs by filming their escapade as it unfurls.
The aim of this film was not only to explore the idea of a corrupt world and hyper-surveillance, similar to the ideas in George Orwell's book ‘1984’, but also to experiment with different ways of creating a raw narrative through a real-time, split-screen episode, told from the point of view of each escapee.
Conveyor Belt was formed in 2011 at The Factory as a group of people who ’wanted to make a film’. So together they embarked on their first project together “Sleep Is Little Slices of Death”, which went successfully once they’ve learned that ‘team bonding exercises’ don't equal progress. From this they acquired a lot of invaluable experience on how films are put together and the processes involved in making them.
Having gained this experience, they wanted to branch out into more experimental and exciting territory for their new film, ‘Placebo’ which was less challenging in some ways but more challenging in others - they had to act for a full 15 mins without stopping! It was also very interesting to explore the increasingly prevalent method of filming through mobile phones, a low resolution device used to film everyday occurrences, to bring a raw, real, and unpolished aspect to their film.
There are seven people in this group: Rosie, Euan, Matty, Joe and Dan have been together from the start whereas Phillip and Hannah joined them for this project.