Jamie Rea on BSL filmmaking and the value of film as a medium

One of SQIFF’s new Curators, Jamie Rea, talks to us about the growth of the LGBTQIA+ community, his BSL film programme and the value of film as an expressive medium.

This video includes BSL, captions and audio description. A text version can be found below.

Could you describe yourself and your role at SQIFF?

Hey, everyone, I’m Jamie and my pronouns are he/him. My role with SQIFF is as Curator.

How have you found being a curator at SQIFF?

I have really, really enjoyed it. It’s always so interesting and having the opportunity to expand different skills and to interact with other artists. So this was an absolutely perfect opportunity for me to explore myself as an artist, as a deaf queer artist. It’s really been amazing that when SQIFF were looking for a curator, looked to me as a deaf person. When I saw the opportunity, I just grabbed it, and I have really enjoyed it. It’s been really fun.

Several of your programed screenings focus on the body and sensory experiences. What is important for you in these themes?

There’s so much I could say about that and just trying to be brief and to the point – I’ve seen through my own eyes that the LGBTQIA+ community are really developing and growing. I think we’re particularly looking at our identity, our sexuality and gender. Because community as a whole are growing, I think it’s so important that in our work, we can show our expressiveness through our bodies, our image, our creativity. We can explore through the medium of film something that’s absolutely interesting and relevant and unique, for audiences to look at and be able to discuss and share.

Then we can expand our audience and acceptance by letting people know that we know what we need. We need to work together and to have these really important conversations to challenge society’s normative view of who we are. I feel it’s absolutely vital that as a group that we are strong and we have those bold conversations.

Do you have any special recommendations from the program?

Yes, I do have a particular recommendation for a program called A New Chapter Begins. The screenings within that are absolutely fabulous. They are all signed films (BSL films) but of course, they’re not only particularly aimed at a deaf audience, they’re accessible for hearing audience members as well who might want to come along because they’re interested, maybe having a different perspective, or to watch the signing. I would really encourage everybody from the hearing community who has an interest maybe in learning BSL (British sign language) or may be interested in developing a new network. I would encourage everybody to come along and watch, and then I’m sure that will make the Q&A very interesting!

Featured image: From Amato, one of the short films in A New Chapter Begins.

SQIFF 2021 takes place 6th-10th October 2021, with selected online screenings from 2nd-10th October including a New Chapter Begins. Click here to see all the events in the programme.

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