REGION: Ontario and Nunavut
YEAR OF PRODUCTION: 2019
DURATION: 1 x 90 mins
Over the past two decades, the self-identified queer “fangirls/fanpeople” have gained more and more influence in changing the way LGBTQ peoples are represented on screen. Queering the Script is a timely feature documentary that tells the story of how what started as an obscure fan-fiction community desperately teasing out queer subtext in Xena: Warrior Princess developed into an organized audience lobbying content creators for better and more authentic, positive representation.
From queer and trans female characters on popular studio shows like Supergirl and Orange is the New Black to series that center around the LGBTQ experience such as Transparent and One Mississippi, to independent queer-driven web series like Carmilla and Take My Wife, not only are we seeing more LGBTQ characters, we’re seeing them represented in new and more complex ways on all platforms, with varying degrees of success and authenticity. The stories once thought too niche to get made are now some of the most celebrated series with impassioned audiences.
This isn’t solely about the snarky lesbian vampire of Carmilla or the gun-slinging western heroines of Wynonna Earp, it’s a fight for positive on-screen LGBTQ+ representation and the desire to be seen, to be heard, and to be valued. Now they’ve raised their profile. What’s next?
Fuelling this activism is a fired-up fanbase of young, female, queer and trans viewers armed with critical eyes, social media accounts and a diehard passion to see themselves represented fairly on screen. If a show “buries their gays” without thinking…they’ll make their voices heard, and bring the change we want to see.
Queering the Script tells the story of one slice of this fan base: the queer female superfan, and their relationship to the creators that make their favourite TV idols. The documentary showcases talent, showrunners and producers from Brooklyn99, The 100, Xena, One Day at a Time, Transparent, Lost Girl, The L World, VIDA, Wynnona Earp as well as the diehard fans who power these shows to renewal – and find a community in.
Through the journey of queer fandom we also explore some of the surrounding factors that enabled better representation on screen: politics & culture, the shift from broadcast to streaming and the decline in advertiser-driven programming. With social media savvy, a knack for organizing, and a push to see fully realized queer characters and love portrayed on screen with depth, queer female fandom is a testament to the shift in power from advertisers to audience.
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Shaftesbury Carmilla Doc Inc.
CAST/PARTICIPANTS: Lucy Lawless, Angelica Ross, Stephanie Beatriz, Ilene Chaiken, Tanya Saracho