Where We Are Now (Shorts In Support)

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Lucie Rachel | 2016 | 9 min | Documentary | N/C 12+

A personal insight into the changing relationship between daughter and trans-parent as they embark on the road to transition.

Lucie Rachel is an award-winning filmmaker and artist, graduating from Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2015. She works with still and moving image to narrate and navigate recurring themes of domestic relationships, gender and the unspoken. Where We Are Now is a courageous piece of personal filmmaking, an area of documentary in which Scottish filmmaking has excelled in recent years. We spoke to Lucie about the film and her practice as an artist and filmmaker.

As an artist you work across different media. What made you veer towards film and specifically documentary film? I’ve always been driven by a fascination with the trace, whether it’s textual, mark making or lens based. There’s always been that need for me to express and document what’s happening around me, I suppose partly through a sentimental fear of forgetting, or to validate certain events or emotions. My first step into documentary came in the form of a book and a short film, Mother Father (2015), which followed my parents’ relationship from 1976 to 2015, exploring how my parent’s identity affected their relationship and how they navigated those years together. It was important for me to understand where I fit into their story and to explore this time before I was born, when gender identity wasn’t generally understood or accepted. After this project I felt I had a responsibility to continue the story and to document my own relationship with my parent, so my work has been developing from there.

Which evidently makes your work very personal and intimate. Can you talk about the process of developing and shooting this film with your parent Alex? It was certainly intense – I don’t live with my parent so I went to stay with her for 9 days, as did my DoP and sound recordist. Even without the presence of cameras we would’ve probably encountered some challenges! However, the shoot was a catalyst for us to engage in conversations we wouldn’t normally have, which was an opportunity both of us appreciated. It was great to spend that time together, although there’s no denying it was rough at points – there were a few tears! Knowing I was a subject myself felt very strange, but I tried not to think about it too much! Being on camera had its own challenges, but I was lucky enough to work with a DoP I know personally and feel comfortable around.

What has the response to the film been from your family and close circle, and have you had many responses from others coming from non-heteronormative families? I’ve not spoken about it much within my close circle, but it all seems to be positive and everyone is happy that the film is doing well! I don’t really discuss this work with my peers, probably because I’m part of the subject, which makes it quite weird to talk about. It’s easier to chat about it to people I don’t know! I was happy that I did meet other people with non-heteronormative families through making the film, one person being at the same art school as me, who happened to be making a similar film. I also shared it with my peers in other arts networks, in which we discussed it in a different way – mostly about what wasn’t included in the film!

How do your different practices feed into each other? I often find that my moving image work is just an extension of my photography and lets me explore a subject slightly differently. I like to partner the two to have different levels of control within my work, but also with my audience – giving them the freedom to dip into a book but also holding them to moving image work. There are two parts to my practice, the strand that explores mental health and the one that explores sexuality and gender, but they’re connected through the aspects of relationships and identity. I’m hoping to strengthen this gap through my next projects.

Can you tell us about those upcoming projects? At the moment I’m in post production for a 3-minute short called Touch Me Don’t Touch Me with Rural Media and Arts Council England. It briefly explores conflicting feelings of fear and desire through contact movement. Hopefully that will be available in the next months so watch this space! I’m about to start on the graduate residency at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design for the next 9 months, whilst also working on a photography project called DOCUMENT, in collaboration with Fòcas Scotland and 5 other artists, for the UK-India Year of Culture. I have the feeling 2018 will be a year of collaborations, so I’m looking forward to making new work…hopefully I’ll surprise myself!

Where We Are Now screens with Call Me By Your Name on Sunday 29 October at 19.05.

Glasgow Short Film Festival’s Shorts In Support scheme aims to revive the tradition of the supporting short film by distributing four fantastic new Scottish short films to cinemas and film societies to screen before features during autumn 2017. Shorts in Support is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network.