By Caitlin Hutchison
Q: So this is SQIFF’s 5th Birthday. Have you been involved since the beginning? And if so, how has the festival developed over the past five years?
A: Yes, I was at the very first SQIFF! It has added something to the film festival scene in Glasgow that was completely missing, which was something that centred LGBTQIA stories and filmmakers. It’s really grown over these five years, in terms of days, screenings and scope. I was fortunate enough to have a short film in their Queer Scotland strand in 2017 and I’m really happy to be back this year too.
Q: It certainly has scope! Even just flicking through the programme you very quickly understand that the films featured are very wide-ranging. What are some of the stand-out films and themes for you?
A: SQIFF is a very inclusive and accessible festival, which hopefully comes across in the programme. I’m looking forward to seeing Vision Portraits which explores the lives of visually impaired artists, and the See Me mental health shorts strand, there’s also the Latinx legends programme. I’ll probably just be camped out in the CCA the whole fest and drop into what I can!
Q: Your film Glue is featuring on the Queer Scotland Shorts bill. Why did you make this film and what can viewers expect?
A: I made Glue because I was ready to make another film and I wanted to explore something that felt relatable and that I might like to have seen on screen when I was not long out. Glue takes that transitionary moment when you’re a bit in between – you’re moving towards the future but still have ties to the past. And it’s represented in one of those inevitable events – meeting up with your ex. In the case of Agnes and Anna, this is their first encounter since their break up.
Q: The festival is also hosting a number of filmmaking workshops. How did you become a filmmaker and where did your passion begin?
A: I’ve always really loved watching films and going to the cinema, which led me to doing a postgrad in Film and TV Studies at Glasgow University. Around that time a queer filmmaking group was still meeting up, Lock Up Your Daughters. With a bit of encouragement and mentoring from them I was helped to make my first short, Pull. There’s something really cool about being able to take your thoughts and feelings and translate that into a story that hopefully will connect with people. It’s like a reaching out, in a way. And maybe it feels like a need because there has been that lack of relatable stories, in this case about lesbians, so I’m trying to fill a gap in a way by putting out there what I always felt but never saw growing up.
Q: When it comes to SQIFF, it is very much about bringing queer films to queer audiences, but also about diffusing ideas and narratives that don’t always reach everyone. In this way does SQIFF represent an opportunity and a reminder that festivals like SQIFF and independent cinemas like the GFT and CCA are so crucial?
A: SQIFF really creates space for and elevates the stories you wouldn’t normally see in the cinema. SQIFF has a real role to play, often as the first place many of these films will screen at least in Scotland, in bringing these kinds of diverse narratives to the fore, especially those that are also made by LGBTQIA filmmakers, for who the mainstream film industry or festivals aren’t necessarily as welcoming.
SQIFF take place from the 2 October to the 9 October 2019. A full list of events can be found at www.sqiff.org you can follow the festival using the hashtag #SQIFF19