The fund was created to give underrepresented narratives a platform
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGES BY TOGETHER TV
Calling all LGBTQIA documentary fans! BAFTA-winning initiative Diverse Film Fund, brought to life by Together TV, has announced the launch of four inspiring LGBTQIA stories. Released throughout November, its films narrate the aquatic adventures of two queer mermaids, the tale of a trans boxer campaigning for the right to fight, Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen gender affirmation surgery journey and the struggles of two gay dads undergoing the adoption process.
The Diverse Film Fund was created to give underrepresented narratives a platform, and these four films are the product of that very initiative. Commissioned to create 20-minute documentaries, the projects will be aired on Together TV, with the winning filmmakers including Hollyoaks star Ross. Adams and former Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Shiva Raichandani.
This year’s theme is centred around LGBTQ+: Queer Lives Today, celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQIA community whilst highlighting fundamental issues impacting queer lives today. It includes mentors and judges from media giants such as BBC, Sky and Paramount, as well as BAFTA-nominated director Ashley Francis-Roy and industry expert Stephen D Wright.
Mermaids Really Do Exist is directed by Anna Mouzouri and is available now. A fun and touching documentary following the aquatic escapades of two queer mermaids, this one follows Kaia and Caitriona as they compete in mermaid relay races, attend mermaid conventions and more. Caitriona remarks: “It is an extreme sport, and it is hardcore as well. I probably feel most at home in the ocean, completely submerged underwater”. Kaia adds: “Mermaiding is about the freedom, because there’s not an LGBT community around where I live.”
Elsewhere, Tom Gaisford’s Come Out Fighting premieres on Monday 14 November at 10:30pm. This documentary follows the story of Jill, a gay trans man who is preparing – both mentally and physically – to step into the ring as a boxer. Contributor Nessie states: “The reason we need to maintain queer spaces for sport is that we already know that change doesn’t get handed down from the top- any big social change happens because it has been fought for at the community level. We’re going to be the ones to figure out how to change boxing, they’re not going to do that for us.”
Love, Dad and Daddy – from Ross Adams – is being streamed on Monday 21 November at 10:30pm. Following a painful adoption journey, the Hollyoaks star explores what it’s like to navigate the adoption system as an LGBTQIA person. “We had this vision about how life would be and it was taken away from us. We lost a child. Nobody died in our situation but the dream died. It’s just a very grey area not many people know about or speak about. This is a reason why it’s important we do this”, Ross states. “From that day, we took what happened and put it in a box. It’s only now, a year on, that we are starting to think about – do we try again?”
And finally, Always, Asifa by Shiva Raichandani will be available from Monday 28 November at 10:30pm. Preparing to undergo gender affirmation surgery, Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen – Asifa – reflects on how things have and haven’t changed for her during her transition. Having previously featured in documentaries on Channel 4, Shiva reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2017 alongside the London School of Bollywood. “We’re all transitioning. We’re all constantly evolving. People just reduce us to that one moment of surgery as transitioning, but there are different types of transitions that take place parallel to that surgery”, contributor Asifa states. “My hope for myself with this transition is peace”.
Together TV broadcasts on Freeview channel 83, Sky 170, Virgin 269, Freesat 164 and on its brand-new, free streaming service Together TV, available live and on-demand. For more information about how you can get involved, visit togethertv.com.
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