Rafiki: A Lesbian Love Story from Kenya with a Happy Ending

Rafiki: A Lesbian Love Story from Kenya with a Happy Ending

What do you think when you hear that there is a lesbian movie from Kenya? Is that even possible? Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, so my biggest fear was that the movie was going to be full of hurt and pain, with no hopes of a good future. Can you imagine my surprise when I found out Rafiki actually has a happy ending?! This movie is wonderful, and I want to share with you what I liked about Rafiki and where you can watch it. You can read the blog post but you can also watch the video below this image.

‘Rafiki: A Lesbian Love Story from Kenya with a Happy Ending’ What do you think when you hear that there is a lesbian movie from Kenya? Is that even possible? Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, so my biggest fear was that the movie was going to be full of hurt and pain, with no hopes of a good future. Can you imagine my surprise when I found out Rafiki actually has a happy ending?! In this blog post, I share with you the 3 things I liked about Rafiki: http://bit.ly/RafikiKenya

Feelings

Let me first tell you that you will have lots of feelings. Knowing the situation there, I was constantly scared for Kena and Ziki. You follow Kena, so you’re more scared for her as you see her in more situations.

The moments when she talks to friends and families, you are constantly wondering whether they are going to ask something or whether Kena reaches a point where she can’t take it anymore and yells out something. For instance, she is not “the only gay in the village.” There is a gay man, and everybody knows about him. Her friend laughs at him, has probably beat him up at one point, and bumps into him on purpose.

When Kena and Ziki find moments together, you are constantly worried they will get caught. And as I was not familiar with Kenyan culture, I did not know what the consequences would be if that were to occur. That adds to the tension even more.

A lot of feelings

Yes, they do get caught. Yes, bad things happen. It is bound to happen; you know it will at one point, and you will feel every fiber of your body object when you see the consequences.

And you will have a lot of feelings about the two town gossips. My biggest question is: what does it bring them, to hunt them down like that?

You will also have feelings about the two dad’s different responses. And then, you will have a LOT of feelings about the happy ending.

Basically, Rafiki is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but you can now be assured that you will not be crying for days. In fact, now that I know about the happy ending, I might want to watch it again just to be able to enjoy the story without having these feelings of tension the entire time.

The first thing I liked about Rafiki: the sheer fact that it is a lesbian love story from Kenya

Yes, critics who might say that Rafiki is another coming out and another coming of age movie are right. We get it: we want different narratives too. However, for a movie from Kenya to talk about a lesbian romance is huge. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and signs of it will be met with violent responses.

In fact, Rafiki was banned from screening in the country by Kenya’s Film and Classification Board (KFCB). KFCB said it banned Rafiki because of intent to “promote lesbianism” in the country: “The film has been restricted due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law.”

Lawsuit

Director Wanuri Kahiu filed a lawsuit earlier challenging the censorship board’s ruling. She won, and the ban was temporarily lifted for seven days. This way, it could be eligible to be submitted for the Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Academy Awards. As a result, Kenyans went to the cinema’s “en masse” to watch it.

Can you imagine the impact Rafiki can have on Kenyan queer women watching this movie? The hope and sense of community it can bring? And it does not even end badly, which I had to experience often growing up. I am so very happy for Kenyan queer women to be able to watch a high-quality lesbian movie with a happy ending.

The second thing I liked about Rafiki: getting a glimpse of Kenya

Not all is bad about Kenya. As a queer woman, I find it easy to be against everything Kenyan when I know about the situation there for my community. Consequently, I was hesitant to find Kenya’s beauty in this movie. However, the colors, the people, the language, the accent when they speak English, the games played in public, its nature; there was just so much to enjoy for me in my first introduction to Kenya. I always love seeing different cultures and countries, so this movie being set in Kenya definitely adds something for me.

The third thing I liked about Rafiki: the chemistry between Kena and Ziki

The chemistry between Kena and Ziki is certainly there. It is well played. Being in such a restrictive environment, you find ways to find a connection with a person. It starts with looks and with small talk. I was actually surprised that they went on a date quickly. It was at night, in the dark, but it still took me by surprise that they found that opportunity.

I also think that because it is illegal, a lot of people are not used to seeing our community. Therefore, they might not recognize things. I think that if you put Kena in the western world, many gaydars will go off. Here, she constantly gets hit on by men. When she puts on a dress, she is described as a proper lady. People do not seem to see it.

When the two town gossips start staring at them, I think it is more because they are the daughters of two political enemies rather than because it might be a starting romance.

Where can you watch it?

January 23-February 3, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) takes place again and there, Rafiki will be screened.  Also, you can follow them on social media to find out when and where their movie will be screened. These are their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

According to a Facebook post, “Rafiki screened at over 100 film festivals and won 14 awards since May 2018, and this year is starting strong! In January you can catch the film in the US, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands.” Therefore, there is a good chance you will be able to see the movie at a festival near you.

Want more tips on what to watch? How about The DateDifferent for Girls or Anne+? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear my suggestions the moment they are uploaded!

A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina’s Music Scene

A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina’s Music Scene

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will take place January 23-February 3, 2019 and one of the LGBTQ movies it is showing is A Girl’s Band or Una Banda de Chicas. I have seen a screener of it, which means that I can tell you all about it. If you are looking for good LGBTQ movie tips for IFFR or a good LGBTQ movie tip in general, this blog post might be something for you. Below, I explain what A Girl’s Band is about and what I liked about this music documentary.

‘A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina's Music Scene’ One of the LGBTQ movies IFFR is showing is A Girl’s Band or Una Banda de Chicas. I have seen a screener of it, which means that I can tell you all about it. If you are looking for good LGBTQ movie tips for IFFR or a good LGBTQ movie tip in general, this blog post might be something for you: http://bit.ly/AGirlsBand

Synopsis of A Girl’s Band

For six years, Marilina Giménez rocked the bass guitar in Yilet, a three-woman band in Argentina. But like female musicians everywhere, she was constantly confronted with a male-dominated, often sexist industry. In this documentary, she probes Argentina’s music scene with her camera and many pertinent questions. Why are there so few female superstars who write their own music? Why is it almost obligatory to look a certain way? Has the position of female musicians improved in recent decades?

Giménez moves through Buenos Aires by night, filming female artists (many of whom operate underground) attracting sell-out crowds with punk rock, reggaeton, pop or electronic music. She films them behind the scenes and in full glory on stage and listens to their experiences. As diverse as these women are, their stories of the sexism, inequality, and aggression they face are equally painful – whether they have dreadlocks, twerk in a G-string or pose in hipster attire.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the introduction to Argentina’s music scene

Actually, the first thing that I like about A Girl’s Band is a very simple thing. It introduced me to the Argentinian music scene. I don’t know anything about it, so to see a diverse sample of this country’s music was highly entertaining and an exciting learning experience. Because most of the bands are underground bands, I am curious to know what mainstream is in Argentina and what role the underground music scene plays in Argentina.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the feminist take on Argentina’s music scene

I think Giménez has an interesting take on her country’s music scene. She was part of it for years, and she now takes a step back to review it through the camera lens (and allows us to go on that journey with her). As a result, she shows a good understanding of what is honestly going on in Argentina’s music scene for women, and she has the connections to tell the whole story. That insider perspective makes you want to listen.

I was quite blown away by the gender inequality in Argentina’s music scene. It made me compare Argentina’s music scene to the Dutch music scene. I have no inside knowledge of our music scene, but I do know that the music scene is just one part of a bigger whole: our culture. If I compare Argentina and The Netherlands, I think Argentina has a more significant gender inequality. This must be reflected in the music scene as well because I simply cannot imagine the things happening in this documentary happening in my country too. Yes, the Dutch music industry is a man’s world too but not to the same extent.

I feel bad for these women just trying to follow their dreams and passion and barely surviving. The bravery they show is fantastic. I think that courage combined with good music is what made this documentary a fun watch.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the diverse range of LGBTQ women

Look, whenever you have a big group of strong women, it is only natural that a part of those women is LGBTQ, amirite? This documentary shows a diverse range of LGBTQ women. There are differences in how they identify and how they look and dress. There are individuals, couples, and families. To me, this type of representation is beautiful!

One thing A Girl’s Band could have done better

If I must make a statement on something this movie can improve, it is the following. I noticed halfway watching the movie that I was missing a sense of direction. Why am I watching band after band after band play and introduce themselves? What do these band presentations mean? I mean, they are cool, but is this documentary simply a list of women in bands sharing their experiences?

Then, at the end of the documentary, there is an event that brings all these bands together. I won’t give away what it is. You see many familiar faces, and you see that many of them know each other. It is the moment the storyline of the documentary comes together.

I just wish I had known this a little earlier. In the beginning, I was trying to invest in the first bands, thinking we’d see more of their journey. However, by the time the fourth band was introduced, I did not feel like paying close attention anymore because I knew we would not establish a deeper connection. Therefore, a more evident storyline would have led me through these introductions better.

Where can you watch A Girl’s Band?

As mentioned, you can watch A Girl’s Band at IFFR, so check out their website for the schedule. However, if you are not close to Rotterdam January 23-February 3, you might want other options.

The best thing you can do is follow them on social media. There, they will tell you at what other film festivals the documentary will be screened. Here are their Instagram and Facebook pages. Another option is watching their Vimeo page since it has the trailer on it. They might upload their movie there after a festival run.

Want more tips on what to watch? How about The DateDifferent for Girls or Anne+? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear my suggestions the moment they are uploaded!

Kat Barrell Talks Queer Representation at ClexaCon London

Kat Barrell Talks Queer Representation at ClexaCon London

I finally had time to write down the interview with Kat Barrell we had in the press room during ClexaCon London. I had released the video immediately after her press room visit, but I never had the chance to accompany it with a blog post. So, here it is (and the video as well). Below, I have written down what she said about queer representation and mental health. If you want to hear the rest of the interview, please watch the video.

‘Kat Barrell Talks Queer Representation at ClexaCon London’ I finally had time to write down the interview we had at the press room during ClexaCon London. She mainly discussed queer representation and mental health. Read it here: http://bit.ly/KatBarrellCL18

Please subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already!

Me: What is the first thing that comes to mind when I ask you what content creators can do to improve queer representation in media?

Kat Barrell: I think making sure that the content creators are queer. I think, especially with the feminist movement in Hollywood right now, and the queer content, I think you need to have people in the writers’ room, people producing, directing.

Those people are making the decisions. It’s not the actors. We are kind of the last ones to come on board. We need that representation right from the get-go, right from the top, and we need people telling their own stories.

Kat Barrell, why do you think events like ClexaCon are so important and why is it important for people like yourself to show up and make an effort?

Kat Barrell: What I have noticed doing these conventions now over the past couple of years is… You start to notice patterns. The patterns that I think is so great is that the guests start coming for us but for each other. You see these groups of people going to conventions all over the world over and over again because they want to be with their friends and they found this community.

And that is what I think is so beautiful about these things. You have this feeling of people who may have felt isolated coming from a small town or don’t feel accepted and then they come to this amazing, beautiful weekend full of acceptance and love and happiness and celebration. I think especially in this community, feeling like you have a place to belong and where you are celebrated and respected is huge.

I think it is why it is so important for us to come. Because that is also us saying: “Yes, let’s celebrate this. Let’s be together and share it and be proud of who we are.” It’s beautiful.

You have been to many conventions now. Would you say representation in Canada and America is different from representation in Europe?

Kat Barrell: I think Europe… It depends on where you are in the country. America is such a huge country that I think there is definitely a difference in different cities. I will say my biggest, I mean the experience I have had so far was when I went to Brazil. There is a very different situation over in Brazil, especially with what has happened recently with their presidency. That is why it is so important that we keep having these conventions, especially for people who can’t be here. Because they can still experience the videos and at least there is a sense of knowing that it is happening and knowing that they can engage with that community online.

But I think the biggest difference that I felt was in Brazil. North America and the EU, we are in a very different place with representation and acceptance and respect and all of these things. Whereas I feel that in Brazil, there was a completely different shift of… I mean the bravery that it took for a lot of these people to even come was incredible. And I am talking serious, like…. Not just emotional bravery but some people who are afraid for their safety, which is horrible. It is a good reminder of how far we have to go.

Me: Thank you so much for your recent speech about mental health. You started off by saying how nervous you were because you did not know how the response would be.

Kat Barrell: Yeah.

Me: I was wondering how the response has been. Was there anything negative too because you said you were afraid you were not going to get hired?

Kat Barrell: Not that I know of. There might be still. It’s still pretty… I was only a few months ago, I think. I do feel we have crossed, hopefully, a threshold with mental health. In the past year or two years, it has been spoken about a lot more in the media. People are coming out with their own struggles more and more, and their triumphs and successes.

Just getting people to see someone who you admire… Because we are really good, in the media, at creating this kind of perfect persona, where it is almost as if you work as an actor, your life is any different than anyone else’s, which is completely untrue.

Supportive

Kat Barrell: I feel everyone has been super supportive. I have gotten nothing but great feedback from people of how it has helped them see someone they admire speak about her own struggles, which I did. We have to keep talking about it. I don’t think we should be scared.

And, I kind of feel that if someone does not want to work with me because I speak openly about my mental health, then I’m not sure I want to work with them.

Me: Well, I wanted to thank you personally. It gave me the courage to talk about a friend who committed suicide in a video, so thanks. It was right after your speech, so thank you.

Kat Barrell: Oh wow. Amazing. Well, congrats to you.

I could use your help

Thanks so much for reading this interview. I hope you enjoyed it. If you want me to continue going to these conventions, I need to reach more people. That is where you can help me. Would you mind sharing this blog post and this video with your friends? Alternatively, you could pick the video in which I talk about suicide or any other video. Please share it on social media and privately. I need more subscribers and views to keep making these videos for people who cannot go themselves for whatever reason (well, you heard Kat) and for people who want to relive their happy experience.  Thanks so much for your support!

PS here are my interviews with Jamie Clayton, the team behind I Can’t Think Straight, Nicole Pacent, Mandahla Rose, and the directors of ClexaCon.

PS PS want to own a copy of Wynonna Earp’s seasons? You can order them on Amazon or Bol.com.

The Date: The New Lesbian Short Film You’d Hate to Miss

The Date: The New Lesbian Short Film You’d Hate to Miss

I watched a new lesbian short film called The Date and I can’t wait to share with you how awesome it is and how soon you should watch it. It is the happy modern love story we have been waiting for. I have seen many short films this past year but none of them made me feel as happy as this one did.

‘The Date: The New Lesbian Short Film You’d Hate to Miss’ I watched a new lesbian short film called The Date and I can’t wait to share with you how awesome it is and how soon you should watch it. It is the happy modern love story we have been waiting for. I have seen many short films this past year but none of them made me feel as happy as this one did: http://bit.ly/TheDateLesFilm

Biased

Okay, I am coming out right from the start: I am biased. Writer and director Emma contacted me online to talk about the movie. We had some fun conversations and were able to meet at ClexaCon London. I now call her my friend and naturally, you want your friends to succeed. So, there you go, that is my bias.

However, do you know how sometimes friends ask you to share something and you’re not really a fan but you share it anyway because that person is your friend? Well, that was completely not the case with this film, fortunately! I tweeted about the Indiegogo campaign quite a few times and was happy to see the movie got funded 113%.

The reason I wanted this crowdfunding campaign to succeed is that I was able to receive a sneak peek of some footage and I could immediately tell it was the good stuff. I knew this short was going to be of good quality if they just had the funds. Can you imagine how nervous I was when I was finally able to watch it?!

By the way, it is not just Emma’s work. Hansof Waller was a great help writing the script.

The Date’s promise to you

“The Date is the story of two women looking for love in the dating world of the 21st century.

Lizzy and Olivia might be total opposites when it comes to careers and dress sense BUT they do have one thing in common… They both swiped ‘right’ on each other. After swiping right, the two hit it off almost immediately but there’s still one thing left to do: meet.

In this day and age, where meeting new people happens mostly online, we wanted to write a story about the good relationships that come from online dating.

Our aim is to also have real interviews at the end, with couples who have met on dating apps and are the happiest they’ve ever been.”

The first thing I liked about The Date: the dialogues

The dialogues in this short film are sooooo good. You know how some short films try to be as artistic as possible and make the characters say these really special lines to showcase how intellectual the creators are? That is not the case in The Date.

The Date shows the date you can have. The characters make the jokes you would make. And they have the exact same insecurities as you and me. Is this next date going to be as bad as the previous one? Will she be who she says she is? Will she be a serial killer? Am I going to be stood up?

Nope. This is a happy movie. You know, the one we do not always get.

The second thing I liked about The Date: the chemistry

What can I say about their chemistry? You will feel it. Big time. And you will want them to end up together.

The third thing I liked about The Date: the happy feelings

The Date reminds me of when my wife and I just started dating. We often went clubbing and loved dancing together. So, seeing their first date start with dinner and end with dancing brought back so many good memories.

My wife and I actually watched this movie together. I sometimes looked at her to see what she thought of the movie and she had happiness written all over her face. She even grabbed my hand at one point. That is how this movie will make you feel.

By the way, her review of The Date: “Is this it?! I hate short films. I want to see the rest of the story!” 😉 I think that if you have accomplished that as a short film, you did something right. Over the past year, I have seen some shorts that I wished had been shorter, so…

The fourth thing I liked about The Date: the editing

The editing tells you there is a highly skilled team behind this movie. I do not want to give anything away but the keyword here is delayed gratification. You will get it when you watch it.

The fifth thing I liked about The Date: the credits

So, the credits actually play an important part in this movie. The movie is 9.5 minutes long and the credits are six minutes long.

You will want to stick around for those six minutes because, in these credits, you will watch videos of real couples who met online. They tell you how they met and how happy they are.

How brilliant is it to have actual people from our community participate in the project?! I greatly appreciated it and I loved seeing some familiar faces and names. It really takes a village to make such a project happen!

Where can you watch The Date?

Because the movie had a successful Indiegogo campaign, that page will continue to be open. That means you can still buy the perks that will grant you access to the movie before release. This way, you can support their project AND you will have the movie ASAP. Sounds like a good plan to me!

In addition, their plan is to make a festival run before releasing the movie to the public. That means that if you want to see this movie ASAP, you will have to visit a film festival near you that will show this movie. Consequently, it would be wise to follow the movie on social media to see when and where this will happen. This is their Twitter account and their Instagram page.

Want more tips on what to watch? How about Different for Girls or Anne+? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear my tips the moment they are uploaded!

The Importance of ClexaCon According to Its Directors

The Importance of ClexaCon According to Its Directors

At the very first European edition of ClexaCon, the four directors sat down to talk about their amazing event for LGBTQ+ women. I wanted to know what it meant to them personally to be at the first edition abroad of an event that they have created from scratch. Also, what are some of the projects that have emerged as a result of ClexaCon?  Below, you can read what Ashley, Danielle, Holly, and Heidi believe is the importance of ClexaCon.

The interview was too long to write down fully. If you want to see the full interview where the directors talk about the importance of ClexaCon and how their event contributes to better queer representation, I recommend watching the video that is included below this image.

‘The Importance of ClexaCon According to Its Directors’ At ClexaCon London, the 4 directors sat down to talk about their amazing event for LGBTQ+ women. What are some of the projects that have emerged as a result of the previous two ClexaCon editions in Las Vegas? Here, you can read what Ashley, Danielle, Holly, and Heidi believe is the importance of ClexaCon: http://bit.ly/ClexaConDirectors

Me: What does it mean to you personally to be here at the first European edition of an event that you created?

Danielle: We are really excited to be here. We have been wanting to do an event in Europe for a long time, for two years, since we started doing ClexaCon. So, it is really exciting to be here and have it be happening and have so many people come from all over the world again to join us in London.

Why do you think Clexa and the legacy of Clexa continues to be such an important legacy, even two years on now?

Danielle: I mean, she is an incredible character. The role of Lexa and the relationship of Clexa were incredibly important to a lot of us. It is one of the best roles I have ever seen on TV for queer women. So, I think for a lot of us that resonated.

The impact of how she died on the show, how she was killed off, really sparked a lot of anger. It got people really mobilized in a way that we had not seen before. I think that is still carrying on. People are still mobilized because of that. I think that character is really going to live on through us all being mobilized to make sure we have better characters on TV and in film.

How did you all come together to create ClexaCon?

Ashley: It was originally Holly’s idea and then we individually jumped in. ‘This is something that we want to participate in and let’s make it bigger and better. Let’s throw in a film festival. Let’s make it three days and let’s whatever else we do in Vegas. We do way too much. It just kind of exploded and Heidi has been there with us ever since.

Me: Was ClexaCon London a lot harder to organize than ClexaCon Vegas?

Danielle: Yes. I guess it is always harder to work in a country you are not familiar with. Even though we technically all speak the same language, it does not always feel like it. And things are different over here.

Me: What were some of the obstacles you ran into?

Ashley: Sometimes, it is just the little things. We call mixed drinks, like vodka and soda, mixed drinks. Here, it is called something else and we had to explain what mixed drinks are four times today alone. So, I think it is the little things like that that add up.

Me: Also, the time zone?

Ashley: Oh, that was really hard because we are not early morning people. We have become early morning people. Our meetings would have to be at 6 am our time. That was tough.

Danielle: And I think, on a larger scale, the idea of a ComicCon or an event like this is very normal now in the US. Agents and talents are very used to going to these events. For the agents and talents in the UK, it is still a newer idea. Often, the guests who are coming are US guests who are used to it and not so much the UK-based people. That was a learning experience for us, to navigate that.

Holly: Also, stores closing early if we had to go get something. Businesses are just run differently.

Danielle: Your Amazon does not work as well as ours.

Back to the importance of ClexaCon. Looking at the schedule for the panels and the scale of it, even for two days, what is the idea behind that?

Ashley: The workshops and the panels are the guts of this event. We want people to go to them. And we want people to learn how to create content and get involved in content creation so that we can have more representation, better representation.

We attack all those panels, and it really is an attack, from all different angles. People submit their ideas, which we love. Give a good description of what you want and we will do our best to make it happen. We try to do a lot of diversity panels and ‘how to’ panels so that we can really carry on in a positive way. It is a big effort.

Danielle: It is very intentional that we have such a broad range of topics. We do tend to start out by having submissions. If people are not submitting certain topics that we think are really important, we will go out of our way to find people to talk about this topic.

What can TV do to promote queer representation through events like this?

Danielle: Separately from events like ours, they are getting better, especially in the US. I do not know so much across Europe. They are getting better in the US. There are more queer characters being added and they are given better roles. They are not the stereotypical sidekick roles and they are not getting killed off as often. So, I think we are seeing baby steps in that direction, so we need to have that happen more.

We need to have LGBTQ women involved in the process. After all, it is very hard to change the industry if you do not have different voices making decisions. That is why the ‘how to’ panels and the workshops are so important to us. We want to be supporting queer women who are making content or who want to make content and encouraging more people to get involved.

Me: Another thing about the importance of ClexaCon. You also want to create network opportunities from guests. Have you received feedback from guests who attend the previous two Vegas editions how it has helped their careers?

Ashley: We definitely have. On a smaller level, we see ideas that have formed at ClexaCon come all the way through. They are now a web series. That is awesome. They met their lead actor at our event. They met their writer or their make-up artist at our event. There are many ways we can get involved in content creation. I think ClexaCon is definitely a place where you can come and meet people to start something and to make something beautiful because it has happened.

Danielle: There are two web series that are coming out in the next three or four months or maybe premiering at the next ClexaCon that totally came from people meeting at ClexaCon. That is super exciting for us to see that it is really helping people.

On a larger scale, we have heard through the grapevine that actresses have met producers and writers at our event and have had conversations after the fact because of the meeting at ClexaCon. From the people starting content creation to the stars of the show, we know that it is helping them.

Final statements on the importance of ClexaCon

As you can tell from the video, the directors of ClexaCon believe in the importance of ClexaCon in their core. They may have other jobs but they devote the rest of their time to ClexaCon as they believe in the cause.

I agree with Holly that bad representation is worse than no representation at all. About sixteen years ago, when I had recently come out, I watched a lesbian web series from the Netherlands. It was so bad in terms of acting, chemistry, writing, and camera work that it actually had me questioning my sexuality.

I also agree with Holly that the age category of thirties-forties (and probably also older than this) is underrepresented. We are often in the background. If we are in the picture, it is usually about our marriages not going well. So, let’s hope some brilliant ideas are being developed at the next ClexaCon edition!

Do you already know everything about the importance of ClexaCon? Do you just want to go to the interviews I had with actors at ClexaCon London? Here is my interview with Jamie Clayton, the team behind I Can’t Think Straight, Nicole Pacent, and Mandahla Rose.

Mandahla Rose Visited the ClexaCon London Press Room

Mandahla Rose Visited the ClexaCon London Press Room

On the final day of ClexaCon London, Mandahla Rose and Nicole Pacent visited the press room together. They are in Passage together, which will come out in 2019. They talked about other projects they have been working on, about queer and non-queer actors playing queer characters, and about mental health. Because the interview was so long, I have divided into two parts. Below, you will find Mandahla’s part and here, you will find Nicole’s part.

You can also find a video of the full interview here.

‘Mandahla Rose Visited the ClexaCon London Press Room’ On the final day of ClexaCon London, Mandahla Rose and Nicole Pacent visted the press room together. They are in Passage together, which will come out in 2019. They talked about other projects they have been working on, about queer and non-queer actors playing queer characters, and about mental health. Because the interview was so long, I have divided into two parts. This is Mandahla’s part: http://bit.ly/MandahlaRoseCCUK

Me: Mandahla Rose, you just said that you still had so much more to say in your panel. What were some of the things you wanted to talk about?

Mandahla Rose: It was about mental health. The question was about how people reach out to you. So, I have been reached out to by a number of people but one person in particular. This is a trigger warning. She heard me speak about my own vulnerable story, how I tried to take my own life, and it ended up saving her life. To me, if this platform is something that I can be on that can just save one life, then I am doing the right job.

Unfortunately, Tessa did pass away. Not by her own hand but it was because she ended up having a heart defect. So, the wonderful thing that I can take from that is that she could have gone from darkness and sadness in her heart. But what I ended up doing by speaking my truth is actually allowing her to go ask for help, let her family and friends know that she needed help.

She actually got that help. She met someone in care and ended up marrying and moving to Paris. And she had this beautiful, just six months of a new life where she has light and love in her heart. Unfortunately, she did leave but she left with that and love in her heart. So, this platform that I find myself on is wonderful for that reason. If just one life, that is life enough.

On your panels, you two did not get the chance to talk much about your upcoming projects. What would you like to say about them now?

Mandahla Rose: Let’s first talk about Passage because we are both in Passage. Do you want to…?

Nicole Pacent: You are a bigger part of Passage so why don’t you talk about it?

Mandahla Rose: I play agent Diana Atwell, a Caelus agent. It is Sci-Fi and it is kind of, I do not want to give it away, I can’t… It is going to be… I am very excited about it. I did spend a day at the graveyard running around, which was a lot of fun, with guns and everything.

My other project is BIFL. I won’t tell you what that stands for. Does it stand for anything? We don’t know. Find out. I play Sarah, they/them/their, ace lesbian. It is a lot about representation. It is an ensemble cast so there are six of us. Each of us has our own stories to tell. So that one was really exciting as well.

Forever Not Maybe

Forever Not Maybe will be coming out next year. It was originally La Douleur Exquise, a web series that ended up… Shot the first episode in December 2015, which was a while ago but that is the actual reason for me moving to LA in the first place. We were actually able to get the funds to turn it into a feature film. So, now called Forever Not Maybe because good luck pronouncing La Douleur Exquise. So, that one will be coming out next year as well.

Crazy Bitches season 2, I play Pandora, a 20-something YouTuber. I am a little baby lesbian in it, who has a bit of a crush on Guinevere Turner’s character. Then, Guinevere and I are in a series called Alice & Iza, which will be coming out soon. It is based on a one-night stand, which is a little bit of fun, on Tello.

Nicole, you have said on a panel that you have feelings about how important it is for openly queer actors to be playing queer characters. Would you mind going into that a little bit more?

[Nicole Pacent discusses this question. Then, Mandahla Rose adds her comment.]

Mandahla Rose: I think there is a fine line because I can see the “straight” world be like “Well, if you think queer actors should be playing queer characters, then straight people should only be playing straight characters.

Nicole Pacent: Yes, it does work opposite.

Mandahla Rose: It does. But in saying that, we are more than our sexuality. I can play a straight person and a queer person. It is still a talent. It is the talent we should be looking at, not the sexuality. But, again, I really love when… I mean, it is really heart-warming when queer actors are playing queer characters because the straight guys get them all the time. The straight people get everything.

Me: I was at the table reading of Passage. To me, the question is: does the Sci-Fi aspect of it bring more difficulties to shooting it?

Nicole Pacent: Well, we are not on the production side of it. It did not make it more difficult for us as actors.

Mandahla Rose: No, I got a plasma gun and I was really happy with that.

Nicole Pacent: Is it going to take more effects and camera tricks for them? Yes. We definitely were party to that, we could see that happening but luckily, I got to get home and be like “Bye!”

Make sure you follow Nicole and Mandahla on social media! Their handles are @NicolePacent and @TwiistedRose on Twitter and Instagram.

Want to see and read more of these interviews? I talked to the team behind I Can’t Think Straight and Jamie Clayton, who played Nomi in Sense8.

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