We meet the filmmaker carving out space for bisexual women and non-binary people’s stories
BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE. IMAGE: STILL FROM TREACLE
Filmmaker, actor and bi advocate April Kelley grew up in Hertford, England. “When I tell people that, they ask, ‘Whereabouts in Hertfordshire?’ Nah, Hertford itself.”
Though Hertford (not Hertfordshire) might be Kelley’s hometown, it was as a young child on the continent that this up-and-coming creative first imagined making films and, since then, that first spark has led her onto a path that’s taken her all around the world…
DIVA: Do you remember the first time you had the idea to make a film?
APRIL KELLEY: I was around seven or eight years old and on holiday in Le Touquet, France, and my Dad wanted to film around our little house. I insisted on leading and narrating the brief documentary.
I had always been keen when it came to school shows (especially my portrayal of Snow White aged six) so I knew I wanted to act, but by the time I was eight years old, I knew I also wanted to be a part of the filmmaking process. And so began my adventure into producing!
What’s the trickiest part of filmmaking?
Breaking into the industry, especially as a woman. I always say that building a career in the entertainment industry takes a “special kind of idiot” in the most loving sense…
It takes tenacity, copious amounts of perseverance and actually, a dash of “ignorance is bliss” because, if I had known what I was really getting myself into, I fear I may have spoken myself out of it. Luckily for me, I have incredibly supportive parents who’ve believed in me from the start.
I’d encourage any parents out there with children who are thinking of getting into film to do so too. My Mum always says, “There’s no job for life any more, so why not go after your dreams!”
Summarise your film Treacle in one sentence.
It’s buddy movie at heart. Treacle shines a light on bisexuality and aims to give a louder voice to the B in LGBTQI+.
Why was it important to you to make Treacle now, in 2019?
Over the last couple of years, there’ve been significant leaps in bisexual representation. At the time of developing Treacle, this was not the case and was the reason I wanted and needed to make this film.
I was going to LGBTQI+ film festivals and found myself saddened by the lack bisexual films. Bi-erasure is real and we continue to fight the battle for better visibility. I’m not saying that Treacle will solely change this, but hopefully it’ll be a part of that change.
Favourite line from the film?
Silly line? – “I remember my first door!”
But actually this is my favourite line – “I bet if I was a lesbian this wouldn’t have even happened, and if I was a dude, it would be a non-fucking issue.”
It pretty much sums up the entire film as well as shining a light on the struggles of being bisexual.
Top tip for other LGBTQI women thinking about getting into filmmaking?
It’s hard for me to talk on behalf of the entire community, but as a bisexual filmmaker, my biggest tip is to stay absolutely true to yourself. I find when it comes to bi film and television, more often than not, what appears to be a bisexual story turns into a tale of experimenting or “a phase.” On the other hand, many are portrayed only as a segway into lesbianism. So yes, stay true to yourself and your stories.
Wisdom noted. So! Where can we watch Treacle?
It’s currently doing the festival circuit, so it’s screening worldwide at the moment, which blows my mind. It’s going to be available publicly next year, but if you want to watch it, shoot me an email and I’ll send it your way! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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