"Wot's all the fuss?"
Another full house, following the spring film festival from Wotever.
A packed, diverse programme, that we've come to expect, split into three themes: DIY, QueerStory and Heal and with a special presentation in the middle, of clips of Campbell X's Stud Life introduced by the Director, along with a question and answer session. In total we were treated to 21 films. Yes, 21.
And what a cross section of themes and styles we were treated to.
Stand out submissions for us included:
Trans Guys Are... (DIY) a modern take on silent movies of old, using words and body language to break down the stereotypes of trans men. Using single words at first, but building and twisting meaning one word at a time. Using humour, sensitivity and thoughtfulness, and not one spoken word, this film conveys a strong message that trans guys are more than we might think.
Faggotgirl does(n't) do the NYC subway - a lesbian superhero of our times, fighting the injustice of institutions and society exposes the fact the the NYC subway is not an accessible system.
Bunnygirl (DIY) is the sweet and sweetly told story of a young girl exploring her newly acknowledged identity as a gay woman, through attending her first Pride. She wears a mask (a rabbit mask...) to conceal her face whilst she watches the parade and the costumes but soon she meets a woman, and as the day goes on feels the acceptance of the event, and realises she no longer needs a mask.
Country Matters a documentary about a lesbian country fayre event that takes place in North London demonstrates how queer women are interested in contemporary culture - the Great British Bake Off perhaps being responsible for a revival of traditional rural themes. However, is there space for lesbians (et al) to be themselves within these mainstream spaces? A group of women have created their lesbian version of this space to celebrate how lesbians want to take part in the country fayre. Presumably because they could not find this space within existing events.
In QueerStory, QueerCollage chapter 1 is a truly global snapshot exposing the challenges and rewards of being gay, queer and diverse in countries that aren't as accepting and without legal protections as the UK. What it means to be queer without a subculture to support you.
Biopic Mark Bunyon: very nearly almost famous celebrates the life of Mark, who has been a cornerstone of the LGBT community since the 70s, on stage, from Pink Singers to Gay's the Word.
Inspiring us was Campbell X's presentation of Stud Life clips was a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into the context of this deservedly popular and well received film. A film that comes from within the LGBT, queer, London community that is familiar to many of us, and a film that reflects a scene and community we recognise - alongside bringing characters to the forefront who are often invisible in LGBT filmmaking.
The final segment, healing, was a post watershed exploration of more intimate, physical and sexual nature of queer life. Images that were brave, deliberately discomforting, subversive - and well juxtaposed against the earlier sections.
What is nice about the event is that many of the film makers and participants in the projects attend the night. The DIY section genuinely means it's an open submission process and that lack of budget or technology should not be a barrier to taking part - if you have a story to tell Wotever Film Festival wants to see it.
Happily, at the end of the night, programmer Teresa announced that next year they are looking to expand the event both in time and content, which is a very exciting prospect indeed.
"Wot's all the fuss?"