Interview With Tina Scorzafava

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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.

Tina Scorzafava

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

script.

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

Emery.

AE: OK, let’s talk about In Twilight’s

Shadow
. What was the genesis of the project? What made you decide to pursue

it?

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

moneymaker?

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?

TS:


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.

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