How did the storyline for Sissy Fatigue come together? Was it a collaborative project – did it start with one idea and evolve into other scenes?
The whole film was a huge collaborative project made on a shoestring. I was interested in the idea of a woman playing with her femininity through the act of a wig pull. Hair is such a big part of identity for women, and I love the transformative, unknown quality of ‘what lies beneath?’ I approached Oscar Oldershaw, Joseph Campbell, Jackie Pratt and Gonnerheous Reese with the music and some choreography. They each brought their own unique skills, and the storyline grew from everyone’s ideas about locations, shots, costume, and narrative, and of course Flynn’s sensational performance.
The casting of the kid was inspired – what was behind the decision to use him?
I know isn’t Flynn amazing. Originally we had considered having two older white bald large men as alternative backing dancers, thinking about harnessing the power and validation in their passive bodies. After realising we didn’t know anyone that would fit the mould, Jackie had the amazing idea of asking her cousin. He has appeared in their work previously so was used to certain level of wildness. In the end his age added a naivety in the face of gendered power relations and a dark absurdity. I think he completely makes the film and was so fun to have on the shoot.
Was the script detailed in storyboards before the shoot or was the filming a more spontaneous process?
We shot the film over two days in Marbella in Spain; we each had a rough storyboard and then allowed ourselves to get distracted. We could not have done it without Jennifer, Jackie’s godmother, whose apartment we completely took over, and who deflected angry locals during key shooting moments.
The costumes are something else – who was responsible for dreaming up and creating those?
The costumes are by the duo Koshir Regular (Jackie Pratt & Gonnerheous Reese). I explained my initial ideas to them and let them go wild – I couldn’t have imagined anything better. I had four epic costumes in total, as well as an intricate mask which sadly didn’t make it into the film. The white mountain costume is made from thousands of cotton wool balls all stitched together and took months to make. They had the brilliant idea of using talcum powder to create smoke clouds, which billowed around me when I hit the costume.
So are YOU Sissy Fatigue?
Haha, no. Sissy Fatigue is actually the title of a song by Bully Fae Collins. His music and lyrics were such a huge inspiration and this title in particular felt like it captured the essence of the film by referencing themes of fetishised female blondeness, and female rage that I was trying to explore in the performance as well as feeling nice to say in the mouth.
What came first – the film or the music?
The music! The music! The music! It’s everything – political, funny, visceral and in your face. I discovered Bully Fae’s music on Bandcamp and emailed him to ask if I could make a dance film using it. He has been so generous with his creations… A LDN/LA collaboration!
Are there going to be more film projects? What’s coming up?
I’m currently on a UK tour with the play ‘dressed.’ made by ThisEgg and Mademywardrobe, and also Stasis (a performance group I belong to) have a residency and show this month at Irish Museum of Modern Art. So with all this going on I haven’t had much time to think about the next film project, although I am working on a solo performance which will hopefully be filmed at some point down the line. Jackie and Gonnerheous are working on Koshir Regular costumes for Adam Christensen’s next performance at Goldsmiths CCA at the end of April. Jackie is studying a special fx course and producing a short horror film with Samuel Keelan. Gonnerheous is designing mascots costumes and working on Tim Burton’s Christmas Card collection with Clintons. Oscar and Joe are working on films with artists Monster Chetwynd and Mette Sterre, and Bully has just written a play with Amanda Horowitz called The Plumbing Tree.
Anything else you’d like to add?
To follow the makers of Sissy Fatigue:
Oscar Oldershaw @oscaroldershaw
Joseph Campbell @jscramble
Jackie Pratt @lambdog1066
Gonnerheous Reese @lambdog1066
Bully Fae Collins @complex_female_character
Olivia Norris @o.k.norris
Directed by: Olivia Norris, Jackie Pratt, Gonnerheous Reese, Oscar Oldershaw, Joseph Campbell
Cinematographer: Oscar Oldershaw
Costume: Koshir Regular
Colourist: Black Shuck
Performers: Olivia Norris, Boss Flynn, Olly, Andrea Munteanu, Jackie Pratt, Gonnerheous Reese
Music By: Bully Fae Collins
Thanks: Jennifer Scott, Moe Eaton Morris, Sophona Eaton, Ramone Anderson