Since July, a new type of movie has been being shot at different locations across the United Kingdom. The film is sponsored by payday lender Wonga and features twelve real customers who explain why they borrowed from the lender. The customers are not being paid to appear in the film. Bafta nominated “Black Sun” director Gary Tarn will be directing the half-hour documentary. “It will be a real slice of life,” he says. Tarn has been given complete control over the film, which will be released online later this year.
Critics worldwide have accused payday lenders of making huge profits from borrowers and the film is an attempt to dispel these claims by depicting “normal people” that use the service in emergencies. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, one of the biggest opponents of payday lenders, is building a network of credit unions with Church money to compete with the services. Wonga says its customer base is aged 18-34 years old and are “young, single, employed, digitally savvy and can pay us back on time.” The average first time loan is £178 for 17 days that costs them £36.70 in fees and interest.
Tarn said his film would feature colorful characters including a cash-strapped student, a football fan, a professional karaoke singer and a biker who needed to buy fuel at 2am. “The film is just a series of portraits of ordinary people chosen by me from Wonga’s customer database. 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,” Tarn said. Later this year, the film will be screened at film festivals and selected cinemas, offered to TV companies and released online.
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