Juliet Jacques in conversation with Campbell X and So Mayer

November 2022

Filmmaker and writer Juliet Jacques leads an in-conversation with director Campbell X and writer and activist So Mayer. 

Taking place as part of the public programme for Huw Lemmey’s new film Ungentle, produced in collaboration with Onyeka Igwe, this event leant into a broader discussion around approaches to contemporary filmmaking in the context of queer fictional cinema. Touching upon various points of interest that relate to Ungentle, the panellists discussed their own respective work, exploring  interpersonal connections to place, history, visual language and self identity, through the intricacies of gender, sexuality, class, and access. 

  1. STUD LIFE (2012) dir. Campbell X

    Cookie Mueller & Vittorio Scarpati, Putti’s Pudding, 2017, Studio Voltaire, London. 

    Blue (1993) dir. Derek Jarman

    City of Lost Souls / Stadt Der Verlorenen Seelen (1983) dir. Rosa von Praunheim 

    Daughters of the Dust (1991) dir. Julie Dash

    The Watermelon Woman (1996) / Stranger Inside (2001) dir. Cheryl Dunye

    Killer of Sheep (1978) dir. Charles Burnett

    Looking for Langston (1989) dir. Isaac Julien

    Ehm West, A Dream Deferred: Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston Reviewed by Ehm West, BOMB Magazine, Nov 15, 2019 



    Quim: for dykes of all sexual persuasions was a sex positive lesbian magazine edited by Sophie Moorcock and Lulu Belliveau, which was published between 1989 and 1994 with a further issue published in 2001. The editorial stance of Quim was anti-censorship and pro-sex, and there was little censorship of content, most of which was submitted by volunteer contributors.

    Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, ‘Towards a Third Cinema’, in Tricontinental, no. 14 (1969): 107-132.

    The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928) dir. Germaine Dulac

    Karen Barad, ‘Nature’s Queer Performativity, in Qui Parle 19, no. 2 (2011): 121-158.


  2. Juliet Jacques is a writer, filmmaker, broadcaster and academic based in London. She has published four books, including Trans: A Memoir (2015) and a short story collection, Variations (2021). Her fiction, journalism and essays have appeared in the Guardian (including her ‘Transgender Journey’ column, longlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2011), New York Times, Frieze, London Review of Books and many other publications; her short films have screened in galleries and festivals across the world. She also teaches at the Royal College of Art and elsewhere, and hosted the arts discussion programme Suite (212) on Resonance 104.4fm.

  3. Campbell X is a writer/director who directed the award-winning queer urban romantic comedy feature film STUD LIFE (2012), which was voted by the Guardian as one of the top 10 Black British feature films ever made. STUD LIFE was also listed in Vogue magazine as one of the best films to watch in 2020, and also selected by the British Film Institute as one of the top 8 queer films to view in 2021. Campbell was one of the writers at the Royal Court for My White Best Friend (2020) theatre series, and with Chinonyerem Odimba he co-directed Talking About A Revolution (2022) at the Pump House, Lyric Hammersmith and Bristol Old Vic, which was produced by tiata fahodzi. 

    Campbell’s latest film Still We Thrive (2022), about Black joy and resistance, is now screening globally in film festivals. He also directed and produced the short film DES!RE (2017) about joy and sensuality for men (trans and non-binary) and masculine women ie studs/butches, and the documentary VISIBLE (2018) about reclaiming QTBIPOC UK history. Campbell has just wrapped on his second feature Low Rider, which was filmed in the Western Cape region of South Africa starring Emma Mcdonald and Thishiwe Ziqubu.

  4. So Mayer is a writer, editor, educator and activist. Their most recent book is Unreal Sex, co-edited with Adam Zmith (Cipher, 2021). They are the author of A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing (Peninsula Press, 2020), Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema (I.B. Tauris, 2015), and The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love (Wallflower, 2009). They have also published four poetry collections, <jacked a kaddish> (Litmus Publishing, 2018), Her Various Scalpels (Shearsman, 2009), The Private Parts of Girls (Salt, 2011) and (O) (Arc, 2015). Their BFI Film Classics monograph on Orlando is forthcoming in 2023. So is also a member of queer feminist curators Club des Femmes.

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