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12 Portraits

12 Portraits

One of the UK’s most respected filmmakers has been invited to go behind the headlines at Wonga, with a brief to tell the story of our customers.

BAFTA-nominated Gary Tarn, best known for Black Sun, an award-winning documentary about blind author Hugues de Montalembert, and The Prophet, a film based on the best-selling book by Kahlil Gibran and narrated by Thandie Newton, will explore the real stories behind why people borrow money from Wonga to produce a modern, authentic and relevant portrait of British life today.

The film – 12 Portraits – is being shot on location around the UK, featuring real customers who volunteered to participate, unscripted and unpaid. Filming began in July and the finished work is due to be released later this year.

Gary has been given unprecedented access to Wonga customers and full creative control over the film, which has been commissioned by us to provide a snapshot of our million-plus customers.

“I make cinematic documentaries so it seemed like a good opportunity when I was approached to tell the story of Wonga customers – a group of people who are often talked about, but rarely heard from. Wonga has over a million customers in the UK and my aim is simply to make portraits of a few of them by focusing on one aspect of their lives the company has touched on.

“I have a completely free brief and see the film becoming a reflection of modern Britain, and Wonga’s place in it, as opposed to a documentary on Wonga the company.”

Niall Wass, our chief operating officer, said of the upcoming film:

“Wonga has rarely been out of the headlines this year. We have a few loud critics and, while scrutiny of mistakes we make is absolutely appropriate, the voice of people who actually use and value our services – the silent majority – is usually missing from the picture.

“Ninety per cent of our customers would recommend our service to a friend. They are people from all walks of life using the service for lots of different reasons and it’s great that such a respected filmmaker will capture some of these stories.”

Filming began in July and the finished work is due to be released later this year. Here, Gary talks about his idea and inspiration behind the film and why he took on the project.

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