I heard that Alexandria Wright was doing a casting call for a new short film called "Heft" about fat and flirting, and I thought you might want to be the first to know about it (and for those with acting ambitions see the call below). I interviewed Wright about her vision for the film, the amazing org that's supporting her work, and what drew her to this subject:
V: Tell us who you are.
A: Alexandria Wright, 30, black queer woman, currently a PhD student at Berkeley in the Rhetoric department.
V: So, you're creating this film through a project called QWOCMAP. What is QWOCMAP?
A: QWOCMAP stands for the queer women of color media arts project. They have been putting on the Queer Women of Color film festival in SF annually since 2003 and have been offering free film production classes to queer women of color for the since 2000. Applications for the class go out twice a year. On their website they describe themselves as:
“promot[ing] the creation, exhibition and distribution of new films/videos that address the vital social justice issues that concern queer women of color and our communities, authentically reflect our life stories, and build community through art and activism.”
More info about qwocmap can be found at qwocmap.org and info about the training course can be found at qwocmap.org/training.
V: I was part of a fat-focused short film project that Jezebel Delilah X produced through QWOCMAP a few years ago. Look for me: I'm in the opening scene wearing a shirt that says "Jesus Loves My Tits." So, is this your first time at the rodeo?
A: I am a beginning filmmaker and this is my first narrative film. About 6 years ago I made a short documentary about race in the lesbian club scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
V: Besides the whole fat girls are hot and need more screen time yesterday thing, what inspired you to create a film on this subject?
A: I knew that I wanted to make a film about size, broadly, because it's something I think (and feel) about incredibly often and it's something I think is not talked about often or openly enough. The more I thought about what I really wanted to say something about, the more dating and the politics of desire came to the forefront. I want this film to speak to the reality of fat women as desirable, to produce that reality on screen. But I also want to think about that in conjunction with thinking about the ways in which we are forced to reckon with our bodies as both literally and figuratively not fitting into the spaces we often traverse. I want to make a film that alerts people who do not experience these issues to some of the ways in which their privilege plays out in the queer dating world and to the possibility of being allies, to call them out if they are a part of the problem, and to celebrate those of us who do face these issues and struggle, falter, and thrive in the face of them.
V: What's the plot of the film (if you're allowed to share!)?
A: The film is essentially about the uncomfortable spaces where the mind and the body can dwell and the shift of perspective one woman experiences thanks to a group of flirtatious allies. The main character struggles day in and day out against a variety of judgments and inconveniences due to her size/race. Distracted and defensive, she manages to miss an eager brigade of suitors. Eventually, these suitors take action against the distractions that overwhelm the main character, freeing her attention and opening the door to flirtation and frivolity.
V: Ooooh! Flirtation and frivolity are two of my favorite f-words. When/where can we expect to see it?
A: It will screen at the Queer Women of Color Film Festival in Summer 2014!
In the Bay Area and interested in being part of Heft? Click to download the casting call.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.