The Violators

The Violators

Helen Walsh

The 16-year-old Shelly lives with her brothers Andy and Jerome on a council estate in Cheshire – more a mother to them than a sister. The violent father, with whom the siblings have had a traumatic history, is in prison. Shelly makes a bit of money stealing and occasionally gets high as an antidote to the dreariness of her everyday life. She finds a Sugar Daddy in Mikey, a credit shark, who thus supports her financially. Rachel, an upper-class girl from the other side of town, appears from nowhere, mysteriously follows Shelly around and warns her about Mikey. Suddenly, Shelly’s father’s unexpected release from prison looms. She panics and seeks protection with Mikey. But he wants service in return.

Walsh tells of the complexity and fragility of teenage sexuality while keeping the balance of power between her protagonists constantly in motion. She often uses a handheld camera, dispenses with artificial lighting and – not least with a keen sense of detail (such as the bitten- down fingernails of her main character) – brings the audience to see Shelly’s dismal reality from her perspective. This haunting debut, the story located somewhere in a post-industrial no-man’s land, recalls the films of Andrea Arnold.

Director / Script

Helen Walsh


Tobin Jones


Kyle Ogden


Stefan Kazassoglou


David A. Hughes


Lauren Mcqueen, Brogan Ellis, Stephen Lord, Liam Ainsworth, Derek Barr, Callum King Chadwick, Roxanne Pallett, Jennifer Hennessy

Production / Contact

Red Union Films, David Moores, David A. Hughes

Portrait of director Helen Walsh

Helen Walsh

Born 1976 in Warrington, England, Walsh left school at sixteen to live in Spain where she penned her first short stories about the characters she met in Barcelona’s red-light district. On returning to the UK, she attended Liverpool University where she was awarded two scholarships for her writing on pornography and queer theory, graduating with first- class honours. Her first novel Brass was the recipient of a Betty Trask Prize and published around the world. She has written four novels in all, some of them bestsellers. She is currently working on her second feature film with a working title of Boy.