A man in spiral. How long will he survive the chase?

CHASING” is a short film about online football gambling that shines a light on the problems that arise when isolation occurs, and the chase begins. 

Warning: This trailer depicts scenes of suicide relating to the consequences of disordered gambling.

The idea behind this short film came about from my own personal experiences with gambling. I should start by saying, when I was gambling, I never considered myself a gambling addict, but I knew I was swimming further towards the deep end.  

When I think back, I still remember the feeling of the first win: like a shot of adrenaline. The feeling of invincibility. It locked me in. That feeling quickly wore off when I stopped winning and started chasing what I lost. Then, I was truly locked in. Thankfully, once I stopped, it was only money that I lost… but I remember becoming fascinated with how much of a rollercoaster that period was for me, and yet, no one was talking about similar journeys, or at least, I wasn’t aware of them. 

Everyone has their sport. Mine was football. I’ve been a football fan for as long as I can remember, so obviously, I thought it would be an easy sport to call. I mean, how hard could it be… Messi to score. Barcelona to win. BTTS in any Bundesliga match. The options are endless, and I thought I knew them all. I mean, football is my sport. I can laugh about it now, but I laugh at my naivety. Thankfully though, I can still laugh. 

At the tail end of it all, I realise I was caught in a net, and by that stage, I was an extremely weak fish. At the beginning, I was a healthy fish swimming in a big school. After a while, I swam off on my own to get a bite of something bigger. The more I swam on my own, the more the water became darker, and deeper. I then started to search for the light, but the more I searched, the more I moved further into the dark depths. When I thought I could see the light, that’s when the net caught me.

That’s the thing about disordered gambling: you never see it coming. 

When I think about my time gambling, I think about denial, optimism, unpredictability, deceit, and an overestimation of one’s own skill. From an early age, I was always an extremely competitive person, and I think my desire to win was a major component of what locked me in to gambling. In the end, my biggest win was when I admitted defeat. 

With this short film, I wanted to use my knowledge, and experience to show a raw side to gambling that is rarely shown in film. We consistently see gambling glamorised in everyday life, but not everyone is aware of the troubling side to gambling, and the effects it can have on loved ones. We should be aware that gambling is a silent addiction, and the people who are locked in become experts in deception. 

The response to this short film has been extremely overwhelming, and I’m very thankful to see people resonate with the story, the characters, and the themes, but this journey is only at the beginning. With the feature length version of “CHASING” in development, there’s a long road ahead, but one that I’m happy to be locked in to. 

“CHASING” will be officially released to the public later this year.

Steven Calvert – Filmmaker