Her Story at the Hackney Show Room

The Fringe! festival, launched in 2011, is a festival all about Queer film & Arts. This year it ran over the course of five days in November, hosting events in different venues across London. This was my first time going to Fringe! and I went to the Hackney Show Room where they were screening a web series called Her Story, directed by Sydney Freeland, which is a story that follows the lives of two transgender women in Los Angeles ( Violet and Paige) as they go through friendships, dating life and work life. We all sat down in a small but inviting room with tinsel covered walls and colourful lights. Before the screening there was a panel discussion about trans representation, led by Victoria Gigante, Mijke Drift, Kuchenga Shenje and Kay Fi’ain, where the audience could also interact and ask questions. This was very informative and inviting, and it really helped put ideas into perspective before we saw the film.

They talked about the importance of exploring non-binary genders on screen and the need to see trans films that aren’t all about trauma, because being trans is about more than that. This really transpired in ‘Her Story’, which was very different from the mainstream films about trans people I had seen before (such as Boys Don’t Cry or The Danish Girl). This raises the issue of cis people directing films about trans people: can you really give trans people the dignity they deserve if you are cis? For instance, in mainstream movies, if there are trans characters they are always played by cis actors, which is problematic. Her Story tackles the subject of transphobia within the LGBTQ+ community (in this case the Lesbian community). In the series, Allie, who is a cis lesbian woman, is writing an article about trans women and meets Violet. When she later tells her friends about this, they react with extremely transphobic comments, using the word ‘tranny’ and saying that she wouldn’t want to lose her ‘lesbian gold star’ by dating a transgender woman. This was an unexpected twist for me and I think people that aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community often don’t realise that being in that community doesn’t mean you can’t still have oppressive views towards its’ other members.

Because the series was made by lesbian and trans women themselves, I found that it was really refreshing and sincere. James and Paige’s relationship was one of my favourite things about the show. James is unaware that she is transgender and Paige struggles with feeling the need to tell him but at the same time wanting to enjoy their relationship without worrying about his reaction. I think the show is brilliant because it tells an honest story about the dating lives of trans women in a positive way, which is not centred around the idea of suffering. It addresses transgender issues without stereotyping them, and it doesn’t ‘otherise’ transgender people in a way that alienates them from society. There needs to be more shows like Her Story on mainstream TV.

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24 hour project

This week we were required to do a 24 hour group project. It started on Wednesday at 2pm and ended 24 hours later. The brief was ‘Man-Woman-Machine’ and our group decided to make a stop motion animation about birth, comparing the womb to a machine.

Catalyst story

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37624872

Broken down version of story:

Characters: Andrew Webb, Emma Drew, Katy Stevens

Plot:

They are all on the hunt for yellow stickers.

Andrew goes in supermarkets looking specifically for yellow stickers. He says he has a problem.

Emma and her husband split up on xmas Eve but they still went shopping for reduced food together. Every night at 7.30 she goes into supermarkets looking for bread reduced to 10p.

Katy is always on the lookout for the glistening yellow stickers between 5pm and 7pm. Her favourite time to go hunting for bargains is the day before a bank holiday or xmas.

Themes: Obsession with bargains, an attraction for the colour yellow, a deep love of food.

Setting: The reduced-to clear aisles of supermarkets, usually in the evening. In England.

 

Reimagined story:

find the bit you hate and swap it around: the location (England) and era (modern day)

The story is set in New York in the 1920s. This is the era where clubs are illegal because alcohol is prohibited. There is an illegal supermarket hidden somewhere in New York where people go at night. Its gloomy artificial lighting is similar to a club. People wear tight lycra trousers and glitter suits underneath their long grey coats and sneak through dimly lit streets to find the supermarket. The supermarket is an antique shop on the outside but on the inside it’s a modern day Sainsbury’s. The yellow stickers are in the alcohol section, but everything British is illegal in the US so people are smuggling baked beans and HP sauce as well. All the colours in the supermarket are bright and they glow, especially the yellow sticker section. People go there to dance, to meet and to buy illegal products. Mainly the working class poor go there, as rich families get away with sneakily having cellars full of liquor. It is a secret club called the ‘Yellow stickers’. No one talks about it during the day time, people that go to that club pass each other in the street and make eye contact but they have to pretend they don’t know each other. The only way of showing they are a member of this club is because they all have a yellow circle sewn on the inside of their coat pocket. We don’t know these people’s names and we rarely see their face in the daytime but in the night time they transform completely and they reveal the deepest most twisted fantasy of who they really want to be. The nights in the supermarket are full of excess, debauchery and overindulgence.

 

 

Inspiration for the story taken from The Great Gatsby, Fight Club, A Clockwork Orange.

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