Natasza Parzymies, a Polish film director and (screen)writer. You wrote and directed short lesbian films Teddy and Control. What inspired you to write these two short stories and what message(s) did you like to convey to the audience?
Well to kick things of, I don’t see my shorts as the so-called lesbian films. To me, they are universal stories that all of us can identify with and they just happen to have queer characters. I think that’s the main message behind both projects. „Teddy” is a coming-of-age tale about growing up and letting go in which the main character has the same struggles as every other person but instead of falling in love with a boy at one point of her teenage years, she falls for her best female friend. Same goes for „Control”, the plot here is basically real life getting in the way of love. No matter your sexual preferences, you connect with the characters and feel the pain. A broken heart is something we can all relate to. „Teddy” and „Control” are both inspired by my experiences in life that I thought were worth telling.
You come from Warsaw, Poland. How things regarding making lesbian film(s) stand in Poland? Is country ready for this kind of stories yet and does the film academy and film center approve and give grants for films with lesbian contents?
As far as mainstream movies and series go in Poland we don’t have much lesbian representation yet. I feel that it keeps getting better as years go by though. Baby steps.
Does personal experience(s) and/or sexual orientation of the director and writer should be an important part for writing a lesbian story? If yes, why?
I think they are important but not crucial. Of course it’s easier if you’ve experienced what your characters are going through but as long as the story is truthful and conveys the right emotions I’ll be down to watch it.
Which lesbian films you watched made the biggest impact on you and why? What do you think it still needs to be done regarding lesbian representation in film and how do you plan to add/contribute to that?
Well obviously ‘Carol’ by Todd Haynes. It’s a masterpiece, fantastically directed and acted and oh my god, the visual side of the film! It just all works so well. ‘Carol’ inspires me a lot when I direct. Just how subtle and emotional it is, that’s the kind of directing I aspire to do.
I think what needs to be done the most is giving LGBT characters in movies and TV storylines that don’t revolve only around their sexuality. That’s not what should define them. There’s so much more to tell and so many interesting stories.
The way I am contributing to more representation in film is just when I feel it’s right for the story I create interesting queer characters and try to get my projects to as many people as possible. Especially the ones who still struggle to accept LGBT folks because they are the ones that need to see it being normalized.
What are your plans for the next film or another project: does it involve also lesbian character(s) and if yes, how?
I’m about to make a 20-minute short for film school about growing up and first love. It doesn’t include any lesbians. I had a version of the script where the main characters were gay but I just didn’t see it in this particular story. My next project however includes a lesbian storyline. It’s about a husband and a wife and how their marriage falls apart when they find out their daughter is dating a girl.