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Bolton Film Festival entry explores the little-known world of Liverpool’s ‘death administrators’

A new film from London Film School graduate Shezah Salam, dealing with the little-known world of Liverpool’s ‘death administrators,’ is set to screen at the Bolton Film Festival tomorrow.

Bona Vacantia – Italian for ‘vacant goods’ follows a few days in the life of Nadia Basheer (Yasmin Wilde) a council worker from Liverpool, whose job it is to administer the empty homes of people who’ve died alone.

Director Salam explained to Prolific North: “[The film] highlights a little-known department in the Liverpool council known as ‘Property Protection Services.’ In Liverpool, when someone dies without any known next of kin, it’s the department’s job to enter these empty houses, catalogue the belongings and administer the funeral. Very few people in Britain even know it exists, so it’s a really interesting world to feature.”

Salam added that her choice of lead was also no accident: “It follows the story of a migrant, muslim woman in her 50s. It was very important to me that the main character was a ’40+’ woman as we rarely see them represented interestingly on screen.”

The film, subtitled as ‘Confessions of a Death Administrator,’ also co-stars well-known Liverpool actor Jordan Cunningham, a familiar face on North West stages and one of the original cast members of Everybody Loves Jamie.

Bona Vacantia screens as part of the Oscar-nominating Bolton Film Festivals New Arrivals programme – a “meditative postgraduate block” in which “we see student filmmakers face life’s biggest questions head-on” – at The Light Cinema, tomorrow at 6.10pm.

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