Vancouver Film School student Abby Aline Collette takes on the right-wing media with her tongue-in-cheek comedy short The Gaygency, inspired by comments made by the king of conservative news himself.
“One day I was watching a segment in which Bill O’Reilly claimed that there were gay gangs forming across the nation. At one point he referred to them as the pink pride pistol packers, or something like that, and I just burst out laughing,” she explained.
With her anger giving way to seeing the humour in O’Reilly’s statements, Collette realized that there was something inherently funny about the way people of O’Reilly’s ilk try to make their audiences dislike the gay community.
“It’s so desperate and over-the-top that at a certain point it becomes comedic,” she said. “Instead of getting upset about the negative stuff they are constantly spouting, why not laugh at them instead? Progress always wins out eventually. What they claim is very often upsetting, but sometimes it can also be hilarious.”
In finding the humour in these right-wing comments Collette wrote her script about an underground organization of “gaygents” who fight back against the fictional Tox News Network after some particularly wild accusations.
“The Gaygency is a kind of a living, breathing embodiment of the gay agenda that right wing types are always going on about,” explained Collette. “It would be as if the LGBTQI community had an organization comparable to the CIA, or the gay mafia.”
Choosing a gay theme for her final project before graduating from the Vancouver Film School (VPS) came naturally to Collette, something she believes happens to most gay filmmakers.
“When you are a gay filmmaker I don’t think you can help but make gay-themed films, it just happens organically. Or at least it did for me,” she said.
But more than just an organic approach to filmmaking, Collette is also very deliberate in the belief that it is important for the LGBTQI community to see itself represented in all forms of media.
“We crave seeing a reflection of ourselves on the big screen, on television, or even in advertisements, and rightly so. Without that kind of representation it can feel like you don’t fit in or don’t matter, which can be really dangerous for young people who are just figuring themselves out. They need to see that there are people like them out there, and that it’s something to be embraced.”
At first not sure what the reaction from instructors and staff at the VPS would be to her choice of final project, Collette reports that everyone involved has been hugely supportive.
“There’s been a lot of interest in the project and everyone is excited to see the final product,” she said. “It feels really good actually, coming from a small city on the east coast of Canada, I think I’m still adjusting to how open everyone is here in Vancouver. I still brace myself for the possibility of a negative reaction whenever I describe the project to people, and so far the responses have all been pleasant and positive. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
Hoping that positive experience continues once the film is completed in March, Collette has plans to get it shown at as many LGBTQI film festivals as possible and is even considering developing it into a feature-length film.
“I’m really proud to be making a comedic LGBTQI film,” she concluded. “I love queer cinema, but there are so many serious issues that need to be addressed that I think we sometimes forget to sit back and have a good laugh. If after seeing this film people come out smiling and in good spirits, I will be elated. That’s the goal.”
For more information on The Gaygency and how you can help with festival submission costs, website development, promotion and marketing costs, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/The-Gaygency.