“In the future, we want to see more queer cinema. Not just LGBT+ but queer filmmaking as a celebrated form and style”
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
US-based filmmakers Erica Rose and Chelsea Moore are the two women behind brilliant lez/bi short, Girl Talk.
The film, starring Hannah Hodson, Kea Trevett, Alia Guidry, Erica Pappas and Diane Chen, explores intimate relationships between queer women and the disparity between physical and emotional intimacy.
Rose and Moore take pride in being queer and femme and their film company – Sour Peach Films – focuses on stories of female sexuality, providing an opportunity for women-centered experiences to be voiced honestly and authentically.
Together, they aim to bring more queer stories to the screen, here we found out a little more about the who’s, whys and hows of Sour Peach Films…
DIVA: How did the idea to start up Sour Peach Films come about?
ERICA ROSE: Sour Peach was born out of frustration and exhilaration. The depiction of female sexuality has been at the hands of male creators for far too long and has perpetuated a culture of sexual shame. Our work strives to reclaim this narrative. [Hurrah!]
Personally, I’ve centred my writing around an unapologetic, brazen exploration of female sexuality. Chelsea and I aligned in the work we were passionate about as filmmakers and it felt natural to team up and start a production company together with this explicit focus.
Was Girl Talk written as a direct response to a lack of queer, femme representation in film?
ERICA ROSE: The film wasn’t written in direct response, but the film is inextricably linked to the conversation of representation. Girl Talk is semi-autobiographical and combines my experiences with other people’s experiences from our queer, femme community – as well as fiction.
It’s about a time in my life where I used sex to gain agency and control over people because I was so afraid of what it meant to be truly intimate with someone. It was a lonely, dark period but since making this film, I’ve finally begun to make peace with that part of my life.
As I was writing the film, I became more and more fascinated with how our community talks to one another. There’s frank and unapologetic discussion about sex and yet so much of our vulnerability is being masked by silence and misdirection. This is represented through the main character Mia. She discusses sex confidently with her friends and yet the film is about what Mia is not saying to the people around her – especially herself.
At the end of the day, this is a film made by queer femme people for queer femme people.
What advice would you give to aspiring LGBTQI filmmakers?
CHELSEA MOORE: Be kind to yourself and your team – and importantly – surround yourself with people that will do the same.
Be clear with yourself about what you want to say and why you’re the one to say it that way. Make what makes you happy. There are so many “no’s” in this business that you have to be that yes for your own work.
ERICA ROSE: To any aspiring filmmaker – keep writing, keep directing, keep creating, keep flexing that muscle.
Find people who align with what you want to say. Advocate and uplift other queer voices; especially queer trans voices and queer voices of colour. As I was starting out and as I continue building my career, I make sure to answer as many emails as possible, take as many meetings as possible, and continue to show support for my friend’s artistic endeavours.
Oh and hey – be a kind person. It’s not valued enough in our work and it’s a shame. Learn people’s names, show up on time and be thoughtful.
Where do you see the future of the film industry in terms of LGBTQI representation? What would you like to see?
CHELSEA MOORE: More queer cinema. Not just LGBT+ but queer filmmaking as a form and style. I think a lot of the LGBT+ films getting financed are the stories that are easily consumed by straight audiences. I want more of the subversive, radical and unapologetic! Less of the hetero people winning awards for depicting queer pain and suffering.
ERICA ROSE: Part of the reason I wrote Girl Talk was to dispel the false dichotomy that queer stories exist in either the “coming out story” or a taboo, secretive relationship. Where are the stories in between?
I hope that we continue to advocate and financially support queer narratives that push our conceptions of what’s possible. In addition, having stories about LGBT+ people is not enough. We need to employ queer artists, in front and behind the camera so that these stories can be told with as much authenticity as possible.
What’s next for Sour Peach? Plans for 2019?
BOTH: Yes! We’re in post production for our feature documentary about the award winning Brooklyn drag and burlesque collective, Switch n’ Play.
We’re also producing a short film-musical PSA on reproductive rights, we’re premiering the short film Ponyboi at festivals around the world and we’re developing our first narrative feature called Dusty. We’re busy!
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