FILM

FRINGE! Queer Film Festival 2018
Helene Dancer 
VOGUE BEIRUT
UK
Shorts: 2,4,6,8 How Do You Know Your Kids Are Straight?
SAT NOV 17, 19:00 HACKNEY HOUSE | 16 min | £6

Vogueing has reached the Lebanon where dancer Hoedy Saad is determined to use this queer expression of residence to provide a safe space for his community.

 

Hey Helene, thanks for talking to TNC, how is everything going?

Great thank you! 
 

Your short film is being screened at Fringe! Queer Film Fest this November, what does it mean for you to be at the festival?

I'm so happy to be part of the festival - to be able to tell our story to its audience is absolutely brilliant. 
 

How important is it for LGBTQ+ films like yours to have a platform like Fringe! Queer Film Fest to be screened?

Very important. This festival was at the top of my list as it's the perfect place to share stories like

Hoedy's with like-minded people. It's an open and safe space.
 

Do you think these types of film festivals open up LGBTQ+ lives and stories to a wider, perhaps mainstream audience?

I hope so. Some may perceive the festival as serving a particular niche, which will appeal to a particular audience. But I'm sure there are those who are curious to find out more and attracted by the well-curated selection of films available at the festival.

VOGUE BEIRUT

Tell me a little bit about Vogue Beirut, how did this films come about? How did you meet Hoedy Saad?

I went out to Lebanon on a research trip to find out more about the country and its history. While in Beirut, I met with Hoedy as a friend had put me in touch with him. My friend and I are really into the vogue scene and all it represents, hence the interest. Hoedy and I spent an evening together and got on really well. I was inspired by his dedication to the scene and knew then and there that I wanted to tell his story. I put a team together back in London and returned to Beirut a few months later to shoot Vogue Beirut. 
 

Did you have any apprehensions about filming in Beirut?

I love the city and felt very comfortable there. However, I did get a local fixer when we were shooting around the city, just in case we had any issues. 
 

What were the biggest challenges you faced making Vogue Beirut? 

Making the film was the easy part - finding distribution was the tricky bit! In the end, we put the film out independently to help Hoedy promote his first-ever ball. ​

VOGUE BEIRUT

On the day of its release, Gay Times wrote a story about Vogue Beirut, and CNN licensed the film for its Great Big Story strand as part of its Pride programming. And then we were accepted for the Fringe! Queer Film Festival, so it all worked out in the end. 
 

Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?

I'm a journalist, so it's always been about the story for me and finding the best way to tell it. Hoedy's story was best told via the medium of film, so it was great to be able to use my film-making skills to share it.
 

 As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you? 

It's essential. You can't do it on your own. It's about curating the best people for the job and working together to find the optimal way of telling the story. My team was amazing - I'd work with them again in a heartbeat. 

"use his story as a little nudge to encourage them to pursue their own dreams."

How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?

I've met some amazing people along the way, so the concept of collaboration has become ever-more important. However, I've always loved worked with talented people as it always raises my own game too. 
 

Do you have any advice or tips for any fellow filmmaker?

Always trust your gut instinct. Invariably it'll tell you the right thing to do.  
 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Vogue Beirut?

I hope they'll be inspired by Hoedy's single-minded commitment to vogueing in Lebanon, and if they have their own ambitions, use his story as a little nudge to encourage them to pursue their own dreams.