Arts & Entertainment
4 min

Coastal queerness

Pink Fairies, lapdances and more

Credit: Xtra West files

Space dust addiction, nude confessional poetry, tense family dynamics, scary vocal distortions… Viewers striving to find common threads between the seven shorts featured in this year’s The Coast is Queer might choose more productive ways to spend their time. Here’s a mini-tour through the shorts and the minds of their makers.

Invitation (directed by Michael V Smith)

Library subject heading: body shame, redemption.

Stand-out line: “…that, in fact, my dick made it into six of the seven films I’ve made…”

Budget: ($:) “The price of a mini-DVD tape. 5 bucks-ish. I paid no one, though Julie Saragosa and Clark Nikolai earned a very dear place in my heart for helping me with post-production stuff.” (Time:) “Oh, 20 hours. There was a lot of re-shooting and re/writing and editing, and then tinkering. I tinker too much.”

Why that topic: “My public nudity is too often misunderstood. I’m sincere about my nakedness.”

First filmmaker’s moment: “Hmm, Becky Mcdonald and I wanted to run away to Hollywood after high school, but that was to act. I never thought I’d get to make my own movies. I love growing up.”

The filmmaking process: (Pleasures:) “Submitting it to OOS. The festival is one of my favourite parts of the year.” (Pains:) “Watching my body over and over and over again.”

The Call (directed by Jason Karman)

Library subject heading: parenting, ethics (responsibility vs hedonism).

Stand-out line: “Your Dad’s queer, and so is your Mommy.”

Budget: ($:) “$2,000 plus favours = priceless.” (Time:) “With shooting over two long days, editing, planning, etc, it’s difficult to say exactly.”

Why that topic: “An agreement gone sour and a kid caught in the middle… I really wanted to explore the idea of having my own kid some day.”

First filmmaker’s moment: “Age 17. The idea? You’d have to sleep with me to get that.”

The filmmaking process: (Pleasures:) “Marrying the music with the image and feeling the emotional payoff at the end. (Pains:) “Satisfying everyone during filming, including myself —and my boyfriend.”

Pink Fairy (directed by Julie Saragosa)

Library subject heading: fantasy, identity formation, personal growth.

Stand-out line: “Do not be afraid. Believe! Believe!”

Budget: ($:) “Approximately $10,000 —I got some grants for it to help cover the costs.” (Time:) “I’d guess about 1,000 hours.”

Why that topic: “I’m into making films where the process informs the content and vice versa. It’s about being queer and gender-fluid. It’s also a big metaphor for being free and in charge of one’s own destiny.”

First filmmaker’s moment: “Age eight, a collage animation on 16mm of a tragic balloon incident.”

The filmmaking process: (Pleasures:) “Believe it or not, the hours spent actually working on it. Working on the details, and experimenting and seeing the results appear before my eyes: it was always a little surprise to see what would come out when it was projected.” (Pains:) “Finishing it. It took me five years to actually say, ‘Yes, it’s done!’ It was hard to let go.”

The Lapdance (directed by Lorna Richards)

Library subject heading: erotic dancing, perception, gender difference.

Memorable image: the continuous change of expression on the recipient’s face.

Budget: ($:) “Negligible; I own all the equipment.” (Time:) “Start to finish, capturing, editing, exporting… about 10 hours.”

Why that topic: “Right place, right time. I was working on a documentary about the Festival of the Babes, and was filming the fundraiser event for it. The Lapdance was a part of the event. Everything about it just worked; the way the camera was positioned, the way the lapdancer moves in and out of frame. As I was filming, I just knew that I had captured gold.”

First filmmaker’s moment: “Grade 8, I wrote a story about a group of friends, and really wanted to make a movie out of it.”

The filmmaking process: (Pleasures:) “It’s called The Lapdance. Enough said.” (Pains:) “Not attempting to edit it too much, or change it in anyway. To let it stand as a moment in time that I happened to be there to capture.”

We Are All in Your Head (directed by Sacha Fink)

Library subject heading: consciousness, identity formation.

Stand-out line: “You’re supposed to smile more.”

Budget: ($:) “$40 —two rolls of super8 film and processing chemicals.” (Time:) “10 hours.”

Why that topic: “I wanted to experiment with the idea of the world as a figment of my imagination, make it all disappear, then see which of my conflicting inner voices would stick around and what they would say.”

First filmmaker’s moment: “At eight, a soap opera.”

The filmmaking process: (Pleasures:) “Makeup/ wardrobe.” (Pains:) “Not caring what people will think.”

Finding Llorona (directed by Claudia Medina)

Library subject heading: romantic love, artist’s coming of age.

Stand-out line: “Your voice has no heartbreak in it.”

Budget: ($:) “A lot. A whole lot.” (Time:) “From the spark of the original idea to the final product, probably about two years in total. Two very emotionally turbulent years… I don’t recommend making films about heartbreak.”

Why that topic: “I’ve always been obsessed with Mexican ranchera music (which is the emotional equivalent of old country music), the women who sing rancheras, and the way that different cultures deal with ‘heartbreak’ through music. I wanted to explore these themes by attempting to make a visual ‘ranchera’ song that pays homage to women singers who squeeze the juices out of life, and aren’t afraid to bare their tortured souls and sad hearts on stage. Oh, and then there’s the tequila, lots of it —an essential component to any ranchera singing.”

First filmmaker’s moment: “Age 16. I thought I could convince my Western Civilization teacher that making funny short films about European culture was far more interesting than handing in written essays.”

The filmmaking process: (Pleasures:) “The creative spark of collaborating with incredibly talented people. Especially walking on set to see my vision coming to life!” (Pains:) “Walking on set the first day and realizing that you are in charge of this whole crazy vision, and people are expecting you to know exactly what to do”

Trans Neptune (directed by Matthew Long)

Library subject heading: science fiction, dystopia, allegory, camp.

Stand-out line: “So there I was, a lonely boy in lipstick, 4 trillion kilometres from home…”

(Matthew Long is currently somewhere in France, where his internet access is minimal.)