Pride Month 2021
Ben A. Williams
Originally published during BFI Flare 2016
Film Interview 2018
Dir. Alden Peters
Rejected for being FEMME, Carson journeys toward self-acceptance by way of a manic existential crisis and a drag queen fairy godmother.
Hello Corey, it's great to talk to you again, how's everything been going?
Howdy! Ah- life is so good!
FEMME is your debut short film as a writer did you ever imagine you'd get this type of positive reaction to the film?
No! I became a writer out of necessity, out of this deep-seated yearning to tell my own story and raise my voice. How people react is always out of your control, but it sure does feel nice to have people connect to the work and respond positively.
What has been the best response you've gotten for FEMME?
We’ve gotten a lot of messages from people saying that seeing FEMME was the first time they’ve seen themselves represented on screen. Those messages make me so happy but break my heart at the same time.
How did you meet your director Alden Peters?
At a warehouse party in Brooklyn! I was there with a boy I had a crush on who hooked up with someone else, pretty much in front of my face. I was alone on the roof and introduced myself to Alden. I don’t know if I believe in fate, but I do know I was meant to be at that party in Brooklyn that night.
What was it about him and his approach to making FEMME that really interested you?
I loved that he had just directed a feature about his own experience coming out, so he understood the anxieties and pressures that come with creating a film so tied to your own personal experience. More than that, he had a distinct vision for the tone of FEMME, and truly built it from scratch. I wrote the script, but everything about the tone, the world, the colours, came directly from Alden’s genius brain. He elevated the script to heights I couldn’t have dreamt of and I’m forever grateful.
So tell me a little bit about FEMME what can we expect?
FEMME is a short film about Carson, who goes to hook up with someone and gets denied for being too “femme” aka feminine. From there, he goes on a journey towards loving himself and gets some help from his badass BFF and a drag queen fairy godmother. It’s available to stream online (for free!) at Revry.tv!
What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?
I felt for so long that my “femme”-ness made me fundamentally unworthy and unlovable. I would go on hook up apps and see “no femmes” and “masc only” and it really messed with the way I viewed myself and my self-worth. I wanted a story that showed me how to love myself. I wanted a story that celebrated femme-ness instead of putting it down. I wanted a story where the femme character wasn’t the sidekick but anchored an entire story. I couldn’t find one, so I wrote it myself.
Did you have any apprehensions about writing such a personal screenplay?
I didn’t during the writing process, but then, the prospect of sharing it with the world was terrifying. When I’m acting, I can always hide behind the fact that I’m playing a character. For this, there’s nowhere to hide. This is me.
How much did drawing from your personal history help you bring FEMME to life?
They are so intertwined I can’t really pull them apart. FEMME is my personal history.
You have wonderfully found humour in a subject that some audiences might see as mean how did you achieve this?
It’s interesting. The Kickstarter that we did, as well as a lot of the interviews I do, talk about such serious issues that some people expect FEMME to be a drama. A lot of the feedback I get is that people didn’t expect the film to be so funny, which I take as a compliment. Our goal was to take real issues and present them in a way that was digestible and funny and really made you laugh, but also made you think, too.
How important is it for you as a writer/actor to stay true to who you are as a person?
How you see the world is any writer/actor’s biggest gift. The minute you distort or warp that, your art suffers. That’s not to say you can’t do things outside of your personal experience, just make sure to filter those things through your unique perspective.
What would you say has been the most rewarding experience for you making this film?
Learning to love myself. I wrote this script aspirationally, in that I wanted so desperately to love myself but hadn’t gotten there yet. Carson (my character in the film) learning to love himself helped me learn how to love myself, too. Everything else is just gravy.
"Don’t wait for someone to cast you in your “dream role”- write it for yourself."
Anything you would do differently?
What is next for FEMME?
We’re headed for TV! Emmy and Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan just signed on to Executive Producer the television version of FEMME, and we’re currently looking to find the right home for the series.
Moving forward what are you currently working on?
Working on writing the television series, also working on a script for my first feature!
Any advice could you offer an aspiring writer/actor?
Don’t wait for someone to cast you in your “dream role”- write it for yourself.
And finally, what do you want your audiences to take away from this film?
You are perfect exactly as you are.