If you’d like to see more queer female character in action or sci-fi movies,
you may be in luck. Out writer-director Tina Scorzafava (Gillery’s Little Secret) is currently screening her 12-minute
special effects–laden film In Twilight’s
Shadow at LGBT film festivals across the nation.
It stands out in the usual festival fare in the best way possible, bursting
at the seams with sexy characters, mythic undertones and serious ass-kicking
action. In the film, the vampire-like Carlisle
(former model Natasha Alam) travels to a rival coven to save her human
girlfriend from certain death. The
project is just begging to be made into a full-length feature or a TV series,
and Scorzafava is currently waist deep in trying to make that happen.
Unfortunately, getting queer content into the expensive (and often
male-oriented) world of genre film is anything but easy.
AfterEllen.com recently corresponded with Scorzafava by email and phone about
the trials of getting her project off the ground, why it isn’t just Buffy (though she’s a big fan!) all over
again, and how kick-ass women are irresistible.
AfterEllen.com: Let’s start from the beginning. How’d you get into film in
the first place?
Tina Scorzafava: If I’m honest, it was
born out of stupidity, naiveté and obsession. I needed a creative outlet, to
develop material that interested and challenged me. But being new to it, I
didn’t want to go it alone, so I contacted a writer who I liked and asked if
she’d be willing to collaborate on a story that I could work into a short film
She said yes, and I came away with my
first script that I then spent the next year turning into a 25-minute film.
AE: It may sound obvious, but why queer film?
TS: Because they make so much money,
their budgets are endless and the world loves them.
What?! No? Then I guess it always
circles back to what you know. With my coming-out process, the films were all
about the struggles of realization, facing fears and (hopefully) gaining acceptance. We’ll always need those,
but I realized that I now needed the films that spoke to my next steps of
simply living a life.
I wanted to see characters like me,
who were already comfortable in their skin, but there weren’t any stories like
that out there. So I decided to test the waters and start small with a short
film for the community that had nothing to do with the focus on being gay. That
film turned out to be the award-winning Gillery’s
Little Secret, which starred Annabeth Gish, Allison Smith and Julie Ann
AE: OK, let’s talk about In Twilight’s
Shadow. What was the genesis of the project? What made you decide to pursue
TS: You mean besides the fact that one
can never see too much of a strong, beautiful woman kicking some major ass all
over the screen?
Well, after the success with Gillery’s, I began working on its
full-length script — The Color of Secrets
— I started taking meetings within the industry to interest them in the
feature. Annabeth Gish is still tentatively attached to star.
I was told time and again that it was
well-liked for its story line, structure and characters, but one thing kept
popping up — did it have to be lesbian (and a drama) — something seen as highly unprofitable.
I was like, "What? Are you
kidding?" So after being frustrated about that, it got me thinking: What
could I write that would promote visibility but also be seen as a potential
It’s a business, and the bottom line
is what investors care about. So I started thinking about a genre film. I then
decided to raise the bar to one where queerness is not only expected but
accepted, and is a theme that people could excitedly embrace.
I then spoke with a writer friend and
began writing the feature version for In
Twilight’s Shadow, which was inspired by a short story of hers.
AE: So you’re now looking into making the feature based on this short. Could
you tell me where you are in that process?
The feature script has now been
finalized and receiving great feedback. It’s being broken down and budgeted,
then we’ll be looking to form a collaboration or co-production by knocking on
the doors of the queer networks and production companies.
Anyone out there want to make a sexy,
kick-ass, female-led thriller for a reasonable budget? Let’s talk.
AE: Would you consider the project viable as a TV series?
TS: Definitely. There are so many
aspects of this epic story to show. It’s well past time for a lesbian-led genre
show on television/cable that’s well-told, tightly written/directed/produced,
and superbly acted.