The Stray - the trailer

SENIOR COPYWRITER AND FILM DIRECTOR. I help company owners humanise their brands by telling authentic, immersive stories that inspire, entertain and educate us.

To watch the full film go to:

Password: thestrayfinal


She got under his skin. And he got to save hers. 


An injured dancer now working part time as a sex worker befriends her lonely 13-year-old neighbour, Jack, and finally finds someone who sees her for more than her body is worth.

Top quote

Eric J Adams, writer/producer of ‘Supremacy’ and prize-winning ‘Archie's Final Project’ had this to say about The Stray:

“Intimate, penetrating and moving, The Stray features standout performances and direction that takes you inside the hearts of two characters bound to each other by their flaws and human goodness.”

The making of...

Writer/Director Nic Penrake: “This short originated as a vehicle for my actor son Jay Penrake, also as a new project for my daughter Shiona. Shiona joined me as co-director on the film and on set doubled up as clapper, continuity and set-dresser. She then edited the film. Even my middle daughter Saina got involved on the last day by doing Jay’s make-up. Definitely a family film from that perspective!

“One of the criteria I set myself for making this short film was that it had to be relatively easy to make, financially and logistically, and it had to stretch my son’s acting ability, give him plenty of scenes to show off what he can do. 

“The film was shot entirely on my property and in the next-door neighbour’s garden. Our cinematographer Jack Reynolds managed to get an Alexa kit at a very good price and we shot over three days. From the final edit that’s just shy of 7 minutes a day, which is pretty decent, I think. 

“Somewhat rashly I thought I’d be fine being my own 1st AD and for the most part we were, but given I also gave myself the jobs of set dresser and chef for the entire crew that was probably a little rash of me. Still, it never stopped being fun and I don’t think the film suffered too badly for my efforts at keeping the budget as low as possible. The food seemed to go down well, at least, and a happy crew is crucial when it comes to working long days for low pay.

“I think what gives this film its charm is the performances, no question. Sylvia was already attached as a support actress to one of the feature films I’m developing at Film Engine and we were in touch via email. When I heard she was planning to visit London, I asked her if she’d like to read the script. She did, loved it and agreed to meet with us. She and Jay got on straight away and we discussed how she might come over and play the part of Nina. 

“To my amazement she agreed to come over and stay with us for 4 days. Not only did this save me cash on hotel bills it was hugely useful for me, Shiona and Jay to have our lead with us throughout the shoot. She too was able to avoid any commuting from hotel to set, so she was always on time and fresh the next day!

“On-screen Jay and Sylvia seemed to share a similar intensity and sensitivity and it’s this unique quality they created and shared that gives the film its charm, I feel. 

“Enrica Sciandrone’s score is also a wonderful part of the film.  I’d been very impressed with her work on a short called Skinship, directed by Nicola Wong, that I’d helped produce in 2014. Enrica’s music added an extra sensitivity and urgency to the story that gives the film a special kind of warmth. 

“With Jay being half Japanese, Sylvia being Bulgarian and Enrica being Italian it’s hardly surprising that in spite of the Wembley location the film feels atypically British. Wherever you’re from, we hope you enjoy it. 

“And once you’ve seen the film, you might be interested to watch Saina’s version: she wrote a song for the film, also The Stray, and used the film to cut picture to music. You can watch from this link: Saina’s The Stray.”


Directed byNic Penrake
 Shiona Penrake
Produced byNick Penrake
 Errin Fitzgerald
Screenplay byNic Penrake

Silvia Petkova
Jay Penrake
Customer #1
Ben Turnbull
Customer #2
Nic Penrake

EditorShiona Penrake
Enrica Sciandrone
Production ManagerErin Fitzgerald
Director of PhotographyJack Reynolds
Focus PullersToby McKay
 Luca Rocchini
GafferBen Ransley
ClapperShiona Penrake
SteadicamJess Hoxey
Sound recordistBen Turnbull
Make-upNina Igbino & Saina Penrake
Art DirectionCollette Creary-Myers
 Nic & Shiona Penrake
ColouristMichael Sterling
CompositorAndrew Morgan
Sound DesignPaul Stevens
CastingNic Penrake