We chatted to Katie McNeice about older gay representation, Hawaiian
shirts and her futuristic love story set in Dublin, In Orbit.
Watch the full Q&A with Katie here.
What is In Orbit about? What did you want to show?
I started writing something that I wanted to be about my experience. It
ended up evolving into being about lgbt love in older people. It was a
very self healing process writing it. It’s [being queer] an internal
experience and often starts very, very young. Film is a visual medium but
that experience and how early it starts it's often something that you can’t
see. You experience it at an age when expressing your feelings is really
It’s very hard to talk about it and to explain what it is. For me the main thing growing up being very androgynous and feeling slightly out of place but not really cottoning on until quite late. You always feel like you're in someone else's world. The name In Orbit comes from feeling like they're orbiting someone else's world and they're not a part of it.
Why did you want to concentrate on the experiences of an older gay person?
I’m missing the experience of the people that went before me. I felt guilt wanting to show someone my age on screen. I would love to get people thinking about older LGBTQ people. I want to see people in their 80’s holding hands. The marriage referendum in Ireland did quite a lot but it’s not the band aid that fixes everything.
There’s a very futuristic style and use of colours throughout the film - what did you want to show?
It reminded me of a time when all of the posters were up for the marriage referendum with these horrible slogans on them and it felt very invasive. It’s this sterile environment. I feel like my sexuality and my identity and my romantic life and sense of self are none of your business quite frankly, but if we want to better our situation, we do have to talk about it. A bit of that did inform the blue in the interview scene.
What were the main challenges?
All of it! It’s my first film so for a first film it’s a daft thing to do! For your first film don’t write a film that has loads of different characters and scenes and visuals. Just don’t do it! I wanted to make a really good go of it, and I suppose when you do that and you put all of your money in it, the stress levels just automatically go up. You’re so worried that it’s not going to work out and you feel like you’re gambling. It’s a lot of pressure. Ultimately it paid off, thankfully, but I’d say for your first film do something a little bit simpler.
Any particular films or characters that you identified with growing up?
I identified with lots of boys growing up. I’m in a group chat with lots of lesbians who send lots of Leonardo Di Caprio memes. We all identified with him in Romeo and Juliet because he’s got on a Hawaiian shirt and he’s crying. But to be honest I didn’t really have many lesbian role models growing up, because they just weren’t there. For me it was reading books and forgetting about whether the character was male or female and just identifying with the spirit of the character.
And then every lesbian in the land has said it but A Portrait of a Lady on Fire really shook me when I saw it.