Lesbian film directors and their pursuit to successful film careers in a mainstream world
AffiliationVictorian College of the Arts - School of Film and Television
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
CitationsKerkhofs, E. (2012). Lesbian film directors and their pursuit to successful film careers in a mainstream world. Masters Research thesis, Victorian College of the Arts - School of Film and Television, The University of Melbourne.
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© 2012 Elka Kerkhofs
Over the past twenty years there has been an explosion of queer cinema and TV. Queer film festivals have multiplied, DVD distribution and online social networks have expanded, making queer films more accessible. However, lesbian filmmakers struggle to generate enough support to complete films that include lesbian content. This research investigates the social and historical barriers facing lesbian film directors and addresses the opportunities available through queer film festivals, queer audiences and online distribution pathways. It consists of two parts: a short animation film entitled The Confession of Father John Thomas (2011), and a written thesis. The Confession of Father John Thomas is a five-minute overtly queer animation film. The content and history of its trajectory through film festivals and the distribution process is directly linked to my key investigation. The written thesis investigates a perceived lack of social and economic support and recognition for lesbian directors who make films with discernible lesbian-themed content and asks what does it take for them to become successful in the mainstream film industry? To find answers to this central question, several local and international lesbian film directors were evaluated and interviewed. Their responses, writings and film work provide much useful anecdotal, personal and hard factual evidence of the perceived lack of social and economic support and recognition for lesbian directors. However this study affirms that in fact creating films authentic to the directors own beliefs and perspective are most likely to successfully break through these difficulties. Queer Film Festivals were found to have an essential and vital role in the support of filmmakers not only within this niche but also with mainstream markets. The thesis finds many useful ways in which digital production and distribution processes can assist lesbian film directors. These new avenues are explored, and address issues of audience access, recognition and new means of funding film productions.
Keywordslesbian film directors; lesbian films; queer films; female film directors; feature films; short films; LGBT films; LGBTQI films; queer films festivals; queer cinema
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