Pride on Film: Stud Life
UK filmmaker Campbell X’s debut film “Stud Life,” is a light take on the darker side of queer street life in London. The film is a post-modern LGBT She´s Gotta Have It for the YouTube generation. “Stud Life” will be shown at Frameline 36: The San Francisco LGBT Film Festival at 7:00PM on Sunday June 17, 2012, at the Castro Theater.
PRIDEINDEX: Talk about your background, where were you educated as filmmaker?
CAMPBELL X: I trained in an apprenticeship scheme to be a camera assistant and worked as a clapper loader/camera assistant for a while. The training I received was invaluable in getting me to understand the whole process of filmmaking from idea to post-production and all the technical aspects too.
PI: Why did you become a filmmaker?
CX: I became a filmmaker because I realized certain stories were not being told from a People of Color perspective. I wanted to put an imagining of our lives out there that is rarely ever seen on film or TV.
PI: Do you have any influences?
CX: My influences are Derek Jarman, John Sayles, John Waters, Julie Dash and Cheryl Dunye.
PI: What is your favorite movie?
CX: My favorite movie is tossup between Stranger Inside and Shawshank Redemption
PI: Why is it so important to share stories such as “Stud Life” as another integral component of the LGBT experience?
CX: Most of the LGBT culture that is written about, filmed and talked about as universal is actually very Eurocentric. I resist this way of looking at “us” in all my work. I refuse also to be defined as a victim which is the space most QPOC seem to be given within this context. I think it is important to show QPOC in all our complexities and contradictions.
PI: “Stud Life” will be shown at Frameline: The San Francisco LGBT Film Festival on June 17. Do you plan on being present?
CX: Oh yes and will be there to answer all questions. It is actually my favorite part.
PI: Some of my favorite black gay independent movies (IE “Rag Tag,” “Young Rebel Souls,” and “Bashment”) have been coming from the other side of the Atlantic. Is there a Gay Cinematic Renaissance taking place over there in England?
CX: If you look at those films there has been a long period in between them. There have always been people making films but apart from Pratibha Parmar, Isaac Julien and Rikki Beadle Blair nobody else has a reputable body of work for long form films. That is just THREE people.
PI: How has American audiences responded to “Stud Life?”
CX: I was nervous about the response of the USA audiences to Stud Life as the language people speak in the film is London patois. When it was screened in LA, people laughed, cried, shouted, groaned and screamed at the screen. So I guess Stud Life is telling a universal story that touches people across borders.
PI: Where did you find your muse for “Stud Life?”
CX: My muse was actually the studs who sit in their bedrooms and post vlogs on YouTube. I was inspired by them as they did not wait for mainstream outlets to allow them to speak, but create their own archive of culture online.
PI: Tell us about any notable challenges or obstacles you experienced while making this film and describe what you did to overcome them.
CX: We had a tiny budget and we shot the film in 10 days with 3 days pickups. I did not work more than 10 hours each day. The schedule was brutal. So I had 2 weeks of rehearsal before where I choreographed many of the shots and also worked out character and story with the actors. I knew we did not have time for multiple takes on set so we all had to be very prepared.
PI: How long did it take to make this film from conception to final edit?
CX: From shoot to delivery took us 18 months. I wish it was shorter. But we were relying in the “kindness of strangers” who are now friends. We lucked out with cast and crew and post-production people.
PI: What projects are you current working on?
CX: I am currently developing two film projects but cannot say more about this.
PI: What other film festivals do you plan on showing “Stud Life?”