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14th February 2023

In conversation with Kieron Moore: Independent queer filmmaking in the 21st century

Kieron Moore speaks to The Mancunion on queer filmmaking; making your first feature; and what fantasy films mean to queer communities

Kieron Moore set up his production company, Weird Rainbow Films, after the success of the 37-minute queer anthology film Spectrum (2018). Spectrum, directed by Moore, Abigail Henry, and Christopher Bowles, and written by a group of LGBTQ+ writers including Moore, explores the multi-faceted and diverse queer community of Manchester through a night out on Canal street.

Moore’s first feature film: Secrets of a Wallaby Boy, a modern-day queer sex comedy, is set to release soon. We talked to him about queer film, what it was like to make his first feature, and what the fantasy genre means to queer communities in general.

What was your inspiration behind making your film: Spectrum?

“I’ve always lived around Manchester and the gay village has always been the big place to go on a night out if you were LGBTQ. I was interested in making a film that portrayed the diversity of queer life in the 21st century and one of my main inspirations was Queer as Folk – one of my favourite TV shows – I just felt like it would be good to do an updated version of that for the 2010s. I conceived of a group project wherein I would get other writers and directors to contribute parts to it so that we would have a genuine variety of voices from across the LGBTQ community”.

Spectrum is infused with a sense of the fantastical – In what ways do you think the fantasy genre and queer filmmaking intersect?

“I guess fantasy and sci-fi give a promise of a better world, which queer people in a majority straight world definitely see an appeal in. I’m a fan of Doctor Who and Russell T. Davies things which have a massive queer fandom. I think that’s something I’ve always put into my writing even if I’ve not set out to intentionally. I think independent queer cinema has a tendency to be a little overly serious and I find it’s good to inject a sense of fun into it through comedy or fantasy”.

On your website it says: “Queer movies with Northern Soul” How does a northern identity inform your filmmaking?

“Definitely a lot. I lived in the North all my life. I think both my films are very focused around Manchester – Spectrum is a film that could only have been made on Canal street. I think there is a lack of regional diversity in cinema and I did set out to make both these films be as Manchester as they can be; from the locations we used, to having Manchester accents in the characters. I also really like films that have a clear sense of the place they are set in. I love it when I watch a film and you can tell it’s not been done in a studio or against a green screen, it’s in a real location by people who know that location. I think it does make a difference”.

Can you talk to me about the experience of making your first feature: Secrets of a Wallaby Boy?

“Daunting. But a lot of fun and a lot of work. I wrote the script around about January 2021 – it was that winter lockdown I had gone a hole of watching 1970s smutty comedies like Confessions of a Window Cleaner and I thought these are great fun but what would be cool was if there was a gay version. So I wrote that! And then we shot it over two weeks last May, which was hectic but a lot of fun. It was a small cast and crew but they all did awesome and then we spent the rest of 2022 in post-production which has finally come to an end!”.

How do you think queer filmmaking has progressed in the last 10 years and where do you see it going in the next?

“I think there’s two main avenues of conversation when you think about queer cinema. One is the big mainstream films who say they’ve been increasing their representation but I don’t think there has been anywhere near as much progress as there should be in that regard. I just remember that last Star Wars film where you see a second shot of a couple of lesbians and then it cuts away to a giant slug monster.

I think in terms of independent cinema there’s definitely been steps forward and I think the real revolution was digital cameras. They made it so much cheaper for anyone to be able to afford to make a film… because of that we are seeing a greater diversity of people going into independent filmmaking”.

Do you have any advice for aspiring queer filmmakers?

“If you have an idea for a film then that’s the most difficult part of the job done and I think you should not worry too much about making it a career but find a way to tell the stories you want to tell. Network, find people who share your interests, find people who have different skills to you. With the internet it is easy to find various filmmaking groups. Just make a short film and see where you go!”.

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