Jess, a15-year-old loner, arrives at a travelling Circus, surprising her estranged father Mick. He reluctantly lets her stay with him, his Romanian girlfriend Nadia and toddler Katerina. Jess thinks it’s all going to be great.
However, Circus life and people are tough. Mick is by turns warm and charming, then distant and difficult. Jess finds an ally in Dan (18), the owner’s son, but he’s seeing one of the cliquey dancing girls. Always the outsider, Jess tries to get Mick’s attention working as a Ring Girl with props and horses. She and Dan become close and have a moment together. Jess forms a bond with her new sister.
Jess feels accepted and happy. Then things take a turn for the worse as her fling with Dan is revealed. The dancers and Circus workers turn against her for this and previous trouble.
Jess discovers Mick is having an affair with a Circus dancer but doesn’t tell Nadia. She doesn’t want Kat to be fatherless like she was. During a stormy night Jess destroys the tent to punish her dad. The man she once idolized is not the man she remembers him to be, changing everything she knows about her past.
Directed by Isabel Anderton and produced by Christine Hartland for Patchwork Production, The Tentmaster’s Daughter is one of the projects of MIA|Cinema Co-Production Market & Pitching Forum. Learn more about this and the other projects clicking here.