In a recent this interview with Teddy Award, filmmaker Cheryl Dunye discusses her film The Watermelon Woman, which won a Teddy Award back in 1996.
The Watermelon Woman – which is coming up on its 20th anniversary – tells the story of a young, Black lesbian working in Philadelphia who is consumed by a film project: to make a video about her search for a black actress who appeared in films in the 1930s and was known only as The Watermelon Woman.
Following various leads, Cheryl discovers the Watermelon Woman’s stage name and real name and surmises that the actress had a long affair with Martha Page, a white woman director in Hollywood.
Her discovery leads Cheryl into a relationship with Diana, who’s also white and wealthy played by Guinevere Turner.
The affair strains both Cheryl’s relationships with friends and her quest for Fae but ultimately leads Cheryl to finding herself.
The Watermelon Woman will be screening in this year’s TEDDY Retro in honour of the 30th birthday of the TEDDY AWARD and the 20th anniversary of this remarkable movie.
More information can be found on our blog: www.blog.teddyaward.tv
Not only did its first season garner over 30 million views online but it also won the the Audience Award at the North Carolina LGBT Film Festival and the show was recently featured on our list of web series that you absolutely need to watch.
And now the show is gearing up towards season two. In its first season, we met Abby we cheered for her as she spoke of her dreams (she wants to leave Chicago and move to Costa Rica to study coral reefs) and we smiled along as the show introduced us to Abby’s friends and her “many” lovers.
Season two wants to build on that as not only will it “shed some light on Abby’s commitment issues” but Abby will get several new love interests as well and we’ll also meet her mother, Marilyn, who has manic depression.
Indeed, the show isn’t all mishaps with girls as it has “complex characters, awkward emotional moments” and it tackles the subject of depression, albeit “in an honest comedic way”.
The team behind Easy Abby describes the show as “funny” and “fresh” entertainment that’s both women-driven and “it doesn’t have to answer to mainstream TV gate keepers” either. And so it’s no wonder that several new cast members have joined the show, wanting to be part of a production that you’re unlikely to see on television any time soon.
As for when you can see the second season of Easy Abby, the show has filmed four episodes already but it has just ended a crowdfunding campaign in order to get funding to film the remaining eight episodes.
It raised just over $5,000 of its $10,000 goal, and though you can no longer pledge money via Indiegogo, people can still donate via PayPal – more information on how to do that can be found on the Easy Abby campaign pagehere.
It can be hard out there for a female filmmaker. Not only is the movie industry not interested in making films about women, but they also aren’t particularly interested in letting women make films either. Especially if those women are not heterosexual, not cisgendered or are women of colour.
For that reason, it can be very difficult for female-led and female-focused films to get funding and many of them have to turn to crowdfunding. Crowdfunding can also be a great way for creators to get the word out about their projects too and so with that in mind, we’ve put together this list of three female-led movies that you should pay attention to.
The talk of LGBT human rights has almost been entirely dominated by debates about same-sex marriage. While many argue that same-sex marriage isn’t as important as say, protection from discrimination in the workplace, same-sex marriage is a big deal. So why is it then that so few people ever talk about same-sex divorce?
Wedlocked is a comedy but it riffs off of the director’s real life experience. It looks at the issue of getting married in one state that has legalised same-sex marriage but living in one that doesn’t permit it; what happens when you want to get divorced but the state you reside in won’t allow it? One of the director’s friends was actually forced to move all the way to Los Angeles, California just to fulfil the state’s residency requirements so that he could get a divorce.
Of course this situation may change with the upcoming Supreme Court ruling that will decide whether or not the entirety of the United States has to legalise marriage equality. But for now, Wedlocked is going full steam ahead having raised $27,050 of its $30,000 goal.
Yoga originates in India where the practice is commonly used in Hindu and Buddhist teachings and principles. However, in the 1950s Yoga became massively popular in the West and now everyone from flexible atheists to fitness focused Christians take part in yoga every single day.
In addition to being something that Westerners just do, yoga is also a billion dollar business. From how-to books, DVDs and the many membership classes that we can sign up for at the gym, yoga has gone from being a free tool of expression and learning to a commercialised feature in our society. Given yoga’s religious origins, the practices’ popularity often raises the question of ‘is this okay?’
Who Owns Yoga? is a documentary that also wants to explore this, covering commercialisation, the cultural and financial implications and they also talk to yoga practitioners and those who no longer see yoga as they used to. The film hit its $20,000 goal and will be released in July.
If you live outside of the United States, it is highly unlikely that you know what ‘Geechee’ is or what it means (my word processor even considers it a spelling mistake), nor is it likely that you’ve ever heard of Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor. Vertamae Smart- Grosvenor is one of the most important figures in American history.
Geechee most likely comes from the ‘Ogeechee’ River near Savannah, Georgia. The Geechee people are descendants of enslaved Africans and they live in South Carolina and Georgia. Vertamae is a proud Geechee girl and having been heavily inspired and influenced by her heritage, she has travelled the world as a writer (she was a huge part of the beat literary movement), a costume designer and she has also released several cookbooks including Vibration Cooking or The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl.
Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl is a documentary based on Vertamae’s life that looks at her career as she travelled all around the world, taking in part of some of the most significant social, historical and cultural movements of our time. Vertamae’s story is one that very much needs to be told and having raised $33,000 of its $50,000 goal (it has flexible funding and so received all of the funds raised) it finally will be.
Actress / writer Guinevere Turner (known for American Psycho, Chasing Amy, and Go Fish) and filmmaker Anna Margarita Albelo (A Lez in Wonderland, Sweet 15 and The Turkey) compete in WOWPresents’ Be$tie$ For Ca$h
Director Rose Troche and writer-actor Guinevere Turner discuss the origin story of Go Fish after its 20th Anniversary retrospective screening at Frameline38: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.
Not only was Go Fish one of the first film projects to receive support from the Frameline Completion Fund, it was also the festival’s Opening Night film in 1994 and a watershed moment for lesbian films in the festival. Following its theatrical release that summer, the film paved the way for a host of subsequent US lesbian indie releases over the course of the 1990s including The Watermelon Woman, The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love, High Art, All Over Me, But I’m a Cheerleader and many more.
About the film
Go Fish is a simple and somewhat old fashioned love story, which was shot like an art film. Turner played Max, a young student who hasn’t had a girlfriend for ten months, but is ready to get back into the dating scene. Her roommate is Kia (T. Wendy McMilan) teaches women’s studies at the university, tries to fix her up with Ely (V.S. Brodie). At first, Max shows no interest in Ely – looks and old relationships get in the way. However, drastic measures are taken. Ely gets a her hair cut, becomes a little butch and succeeds in getting Max’s attention. Bomb we have fireworks between the two ladies and a hot sex scene.
However ‘Go Fish’ is not your usual love story. The film broken up by a number of discourses, both serious and comic, that address various lesbian issues. The film begins with a classroom discussion in which Kia asks her students to add to a list of women known, or believed to be, lesbians. Kia’s Latino girlfriend, Evy (Migdalia Melendez), is outed to her old-world mother by her ex boyfriend. Ely’s bed-hopping roommate, Daria (Anastasia Sharp), sleeps with a both men and women. It is modern, as it is as much relevant to today’s audience.
The film is charming and infectious. There is subtle realism that allows the film to resonate with its audience.
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Kitsch Mix, is a rapidly growing social platform developed to promote the diverse creative ventures of women in the LGBT community. It aims to chronicle and celebrate the stories, people and voices that are emerging and inspiring all of us, ranging in topics from pop culture and style to politics and news, all through the lens of today’s LGBTQ community.
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