OUT: Smashing Homophobia Project
KOREA / 2007 / Korean / Color / Video / 110 min
Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Production: Feminist Video Activism WOM
Self Camera: Chunjae, Cho-i, Koma
Music: Lesbian Audio Activism L.FLOWer
Source: Feminist Video Activism WOM
Three high-school lesbians in Seoul worry about love, sexuality, school, and family. The girls, who were junior-high-school kids in the last film, titled Lesbian Censorship in School, have grown up, made boyfriends and girlfriends, and experienced heartbreak. Each of them trains the camera on the things around her, and previews the footage she has shot for one of the directors; the meetings often become a sort of counseling as they expose their true selves through the filmmaking process. A poignant project in which the girls take the mic and camera into their own hands to speak and sing out, voicing their opinions to their friends, lovers, families, and society.
[Director’s Statement] In a society which detests homosexuality, lesbian teenagers aren’t recognized as such. They are invariably seen as merely naïve and at an impressionable age, and their homosexual experiences are simply seen as being the shameful experiences of a certain time in their lives. Teenage lesbians have to have the agency to tell their own stories of what it means to be young lesbians—of being objects of hatred, of being judged and criticized for their “immaturity.” Moreover, the act of appearing in a documentary itself means a coming-out in society, so the protagonists themselves need to be able to determine the degree and content of their appearances.
For reasons such as these, we used a “protagonist-interactive production style” to give these lesbian teenagers agency over production and a “self-filming” style to enable the teenage protagonists to direct themselves.
OUT is a crystallization of relationships made by destroying the boundaries between directors and protagonists, those who film and those being filmed: an interweaving of direction by thirty-something lesbian directors with self-direction by the teenage lesbian protagonists themselves.
The “self-filming” style was developed in particular as a method of self-healing for these teenage lesbians, hurt by heterosexual chauvinism and homophobia. The techniques used are meant to give them a way to speak reflectively, that they might find the cause of their pain and wounds, and become more positive about being lesbians.
Lesbians in their thirties created a place for communication, and lesbians in their twenties wrote and sang songs with messages based on their teenage experiences so that teenage lesbians might be able to navigate through the pain. Through these efforts, teenage lesbians tell us their harsh coming-of-age tales. This work was created by the Korean lesbian community and it has become a catalyst in forming new communities.
Feminist Video Activism WOM
Founded in 2001, Feminist Video Activism WOM aims to create a women’s movement through audio-visual collective works. WOM signifies subjective women moving towards a new feminism and against phallocentric views of WOMAN. WOM’s filmography includes An Anti-War Video Declaration of Women (2001), Turtle Sisters (2002), Knife Style (2003), Female Sex Trafficking (2004), Lesbian Censorship in School (2005), and We Are Not Defeated (2006). This work was produced as the second in the Smashing Homophobia Project series, which began with Lesbian Censorship in School.