Sonya Mulligan on lesbian community on film

We asked Sonya Mulligan, director of new documentary Outitude, about creating a film about the Irish lesbian community.

How did your film Outitude come about?

Myself and Ger Moane (the producer) go regularly to GAZE [LGBTQ film festival in Dublin] and have always enjoyed seeing films about different communities. We realised we hadn’t seen a documentary about the Irish Lesbian Community. We wondered why someone hadn’t made it and then realised we could be that someone. We wanted it to be a grassroots project so we organised crowdfunding through Kickstarter. We got such an immediate and positive response, we knew there was a big interest in the project.

What were the biggest challenges in representing faithfully the Irish LGBTQI+ community?

Like all LGBTQI+ communities there’s huge diversity and the Irish lesbian community is no different. We knew it would be a massive undertaking to try and cover every facet of the community so my main priority was to make it an all-island project and to ensure there was representations across age and class. Being a member of the lesbian community was a major advantage. Not only was I telling the story of a community, it was my community, and so I was very invested in portraying it as accurately as I could. From the beginning I committed to using some footage of everyone we interviewed so that immediately limited how many interviews we could do. For me, the biggest challenge was to tell as many different parts of the story as possible in an hour and a half.

Have people featured in the film seen it and what was their reaction?

Not all the women featured have seen the film yet. For those that have – after the initial shock at seeing themselves 20ft tall they were generally relieved and pleased to look and sound so good and were moved by the audience reaction both during the film and afterwards.

A lot of women said during the interview that it made a difference being interviewed by someone from the community and that they felt free to speak more honestly and openly because of that.

I hope that everyone that did an interview is proud of the work they’ve done and how they are represented in Outitude.

What is one thing you’ve learned from the experience of creating this film about your community (or life in general!) that you will take with you?

Even though you think you are active and engaged in your community there’s always so much more going on than what you’re aware of. Lesbians are diverse, creative, talented, open, engaged, witty, inspiring, brave, charming, sexy and always striving for change – and it was great to be reminded of this and see it captured on screen.

Outitude screens on Thursday 6 December, 6pm at CCA, followed by a drinks reception sponsored by Fyne Ales. For tickets, click here.

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