The ones that I really feel sorry for are the ones that haven’t freely choosen their gender. The ones that have been conditioned into thinking that male = man and female = woman. They have to stick to these strict gender rituals and they can’t step out of line otherwise everyone will think there’s something wrong with them. They have to prove their masculinity and femininity every single day in performances of make up, over the top sports enthusiasm and strict codes such as swaying with your hips or walking with your shoulders. The rest of us queer folk, we are free, we can be whatever we want to be without anyone judging us for not ‘performing’ our gender correctly. We can wake up feeling feminine or masculine and express that how we so wish. We’ve transcended our bodies in order to free our minds. We don’t have to worry about ‘fitting in’. We don’t have to cage our spirits to fit with our biology. We’ve split mind and body, performing our genders with no strict regulations. That is true freedom
Absolutely over the moon that FOUR of my short films got accepted into the BFI FLARE LGBTQ+ 2018 film festival! They’re on the BFI’s online digital viewing library under the category ‘UK INDUSTRY SELECTION’, which is available for press and industry delegates. Only 15 films got selected to be shown in the UK Industry Selection category so to have not just one but FOUR of my films selected is a huge huge hugeeeee honour!!!
A massive thank you to everyone who worked with me on these projects
I don’t usually post about films on Facebook but after watching ‘My Days Of Mercy’ last night – a lesbian film which opened the BFI FLARE lgbtq+ festival – I feel compelled too.
All I can say is, FINALLY. A good, interesting, female directed, written, produced lesbian feature film. The L in LGBTQ+ has always been left in the shadows for me, growing up (and still now) I’ve searched and searched for portrayals of women on the big screen; women that are somewhat like me, lesbian relationships that reflect my real relationships in real life. But there really is barely anything. Or, rather, barely anything that is in the mainstream & is also simultaneously a TRUE reflection of what it is for me (and so many others that I know) to be a gay woman, or even to be a woman for that matter.
Rather, I cling to scraps that films leave behind, holding onto moments where female characthers may have slightly implied their homosexuality, being forced to identify mainly with heterosexual portrayals of relationships as quite often, the heterosexual portrayals would be a lot more realistic for me than the fetishised lesbian ones. I’d watch films like ‘Brokeback Mountain’ over and over again, for although the characters were male at least finally homosexuality in general was breaking through into the mainstream… but still, it wasn’t female homosexuality…
Yes, there are more recent films such as ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’, and yes, it is a stylish, beautiful coming of age film about a teenage girl exploring her lesbianism. In so many ways this film is identifiable and accurate… until: THE SEX SCENE. Again, a highly fetished TEN MINUTE long sex scene, that as a gay woman is totally unrelateable and mimics what a horny teenage boy would perhaps think of when he hears the word ‘Lesbian’… oh wait, ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’ IS directed by a horny (not so teenage) straight white man… interesting. And this leads me on to the exact problem regarding both heterosexual & homosexual portrayals of women in big mainstream film – there just isn’t enough funding or perhaps also ‘interest’ in female directors. THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM.
Of course there are series such as The L Word, Lip Service, OITNB, that as queer women we cling too as they give the self-identification and queer worlds that we need. But regarding mainstream, ‘big budget’ film, there is just not many ‘decent’ portrayals.
‘The Lesbian’ in film and in society is far too often either fetishised or just totally ignored all together. Lets be honest, if heterosexual women are still fighting for better roles, more screen time and equal pay then of course homosexual women are going to be left in the shadows. Rather than being a strictly homophobic issue (although it is still homophobic), what it really all boils down too is sexism. Although 2018 is year of the woman, and as women in the west we have come a long way, we still have a hell of a long way to go… the fight is for our sisters around the world, straight and queer, who suffer horrendous treatment just because they were born with a different set of genitals.
Films like ‘My Days Of Mercy’ need to be celebrated and they also need more exposure as they are vital in the fight for women’s rights by showing women (gay and straight) as human beings who are not merely there to serve as objects, or perhaps ‘props’ if you like to the leading male in whichever latest big budget action film it may be.
We have a female Doctor Who which is incredible, ‘Wonder Woman’ was also a massive positive for equal rights. Now we need a female James Bond type character who saves the world (without a man) and BONUS, fucks women not men. Thats what I mean – why does every boring mainstream plot have to contain heterosexual couplings? James Bond would still have the exact same plot, gadgets, explosives, cars, villians, M, (and perhaps even the same toxic masculinity and sexist attitude. lol.) IF James Bond were a woman. I’m so so sick of seeing straight white men and endless heterosexual binaries (macho men and highly sexualised feminine women) flood the screens – aren’t you? Lets mix it up more its 2018 and I’m so so so so so tired of this bullshit.
Anyway couldn’t find a trailer for ‘My Days Of Mercy’ but click here for a little clip if you’re interested after my essay
“Make friends with your darkness, don’t let it destroy you’. Darkness 100% inspires me, it always has and I think almost everything I do comes from a dark place, but that isn’t always a horrendous experience. It can be uplifting and enlightening. There is an optimism that comes from accepted pessimism. As clichéd as it is, my ‘art’ is a way of medicating and channelling the darkness. It’s a way of taking something awful and making it productive and perhaps ‘beautiful’ or interesting.”
’31’ is a guerrilla style horror film which I made specifically for Halloween. I was getting ‘creatively restless’ so I decided to set myself a challenge; how quickly can I make a low budget mini horror film – the deadline Halloween.
I filmed all the footage in roughly two – four hours and edited the entire film in around seven hours on the 31st October 2017 – the total budget of the entire project costing £1.60
This film is not for the faint hearted, quite literally.
Filmed/Edited/Directed by Sian Williams
Performed by Louise Antonia, Imogen Williams, Sian Williams
Music by Xavier Boot & Rugile Daujotaite
A collaborative piece, Written by Brad Cohen and Sian Williams, Girl Under You explores the assertive sexuality of masculine and feminine women, exploring the concept of ‘top’ and ‘bottoms’ in lesbian sex. Girl Under You aims to portray real lesbian relationships and sexuality as a backlash to the fake lesbian porn that is geared towards the ‘male gaze’, rather than an ‘lesbian eye’. Lesbian porn has been taken and over sexualised by patrichary – thus making ridicule of what it truly means to be a homosexual woman in societies eyes. This piece is about lesbians and women taking back their sexuality – there’s nothing wrong with the voyeuristic act of watching two women have sex, as long as it’s a realistic representation. Directed by two female directors , Girl Under You hopes the viewer will enjoy lesbian sexuality through an empowering ‘lesbian eye’ rather than a cliched, unrealistic, demeaning ‘male gaze’….
Directed by Sian Williams & Victoria Matthews
Written by Brad Cohen & Sian Williams
Edited by Sian Williams
Performed by Sian Williams & Victoria Matthews
Cinematography Jayden Robinson
Sound by Guy Farber & Matthew Williams
Assistant Directors Charlotte Dowell & Alya Soliman
Music by Himuro Mansion
Director Sian Wiliams (Fringe Queer Arts Festival, FEST Portugal) has produced film adaptations of Brad Cohen’s first collection of poetry ‘Church & Other Dirty Words’. From ISIS and gay conversion therapy to feminism and the male gaze to toxic masculinity, femme-shaming and blurred gender lines– the collection extensively discusses many issues the LGBTQ+ culture is faced with today.
Cohen uses sex in his collection to deliver important messages. One piece entitled ‘Bedside Surgeon’ portrays that feeling when your hook up rolls over after sex and goes on Grindr, looking for his next fix. Another important discussion takes place in ‘Church’ (first published by Fincham Press in ‘Purple Lights’, 2016) where Cohen uses catholic language to describe a post-sex scene whilst simultaneously highlighting the friction between Catholicism and homosexuality. ‘DJ Pygmalion’ is a dark satirical piece warning of the dangers in watching too much porn.
Girl Under You is a collaborative piece written by both Cohen and Williams, highlighting the problems with mainstream lesbian pornography. The piece aims to portray lesbian sexuality through an empowering ‘lesbian eye’ rather than a cliched, unrealistic, demeaning ‘male gaze’…