Queerguru won’t be camped out at London’s Leicester Square for the British Film Festival this year. Social distancing has forced most of the content online. We’re gutted. On lockdown since March it’s another grim nail in the coffin of the UK art scene.
Or so we thought. However this little surprise from director Montague Fitzgerald has us back on the perch. Gimme One is a VR experiential short documentary on the British ballroom scene. It’s world premiere is at the festival. It’s not groundbreaking in terms of introducing the scene to newcomers. Paris is Burning is having its 30th anniversary this year and will give you more than more. When we moved to Harlem in the early 00s we were already late late to the party.
So why is it such a little treat? Having sat through a lot of VR lame experiences that lacked a reason for using the medium and could not pull a narrative out of their 360 degree ass we finally found someone making use of it in a way that meant something to us. VR is a fantastically intimate documentary medium that holds your hand through a guided exploration without yanking you along. Dance is the perfect art form to observe from the angle of your choice. Add that to the fact that we are missing the club scene and this little immersion duck walked us right back into the party spirit.
Whilst a thousand miles from the heights of the US ballroom scene the performers try to explain what their version of this scene means to them. It’s still a beacon to trans people of colour whatever their geographical or cultural context. Their black life matters too.
So. Bad mood be gone. If the BFI London Film Festival is making a virtue out of its online banishment we’re down with that. And if we get to see more work that uses the narrative possibility of VR we’re down with that too. Now we can’t wait. Give us more.
Review by Andrew Hebden
Queerguru Contributing Editor ANDREW HEBDEN is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.