Lifestyle Editor Rachel Cronin chats to the young director who’s making waves both home and away.
A 25-year-old filmmaker with a flavour for quirky, flirty, comic book queerness. Heath Virgoe’s short film Kitchen Sink Fantasy was featured at Scottish Queer International Film Festival in September and was just shown at Melbourne Queer Film Festival. The freshly graduated film student is part of Glasgow Film Festival’s mentorship programme, a 6-month scheme to help new filmmakers solidify themselves in the industry.
Heath Virgoe describes their film style as ‘comic book queer people’s struggles’. Drawing inspiration from Russel T Davies era Dr Who, their writing thrives in the weird and wonderful. Kitchen Sink Fantasy is an unapologetically Gen-Z fairytale that includes gender-swapping, magical quests and Fairy Godmothers. The short film displays a Scott Pilgrim Versus the World inspired sharpness that young queer audiences will love.
Virgoe’s short film is also partially inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, playing with gender and fantasy. ‘Gender can be playful,’ the director explains. ‘It’s shapeless and sort of hard to pin down. And yet we tried to pin it down so much. Queer life can be really exciting, really heightened and really crazy, but also beautiful and happy, even when there are weird negative parts to it.’
Virgoe introduces fantasy elements to address societal taboos and uncomfortable truths- it’s hard to care about your sexuality crisis when you’re staring an alien in the face. ‘There’s like, aliens suddenly, and these things that are going on underneath the surface, these things that you wouldn’t normally talk about, are things that can be spoken about. They don’t seem as ridiculous when they’re in the face of something even more ridiculous.’
Virgoe hopes the GFF mentorship scheme will improve their confidence and help them find further footing in the industry. ‘One big focus for me is learning what it’s like to work as like a creative soul. I think there’s a lot of impostor syndrome going on’, they continue. ‘I try to sort of fight through it’. Their advice to aspiring young filmmakers is to roll with the punches. ‘It’s a game of endurance, in that you have to be passionate. It’s about not giving in when you get rejections or things don’t quite go your way.’