We spoke to Lois Norman, director of the beautiful dance film, Swivel.
Watch the full interview with Lois here.
Could you give us a bit of background on the film and the dancers?
Iron&Sparks are Henry T and Rachel Sparks. When I was looking to make
a film that dealt with human connection without words, I automatically thought
of the body and dance and movement. I was thinking about how you express
something that doesn’t rely on labels of gender or anything other than just
a human being, I was made aware of Rachel's work initially. She does
gender neutral dancing and I thought that sounded intriguing. I started to
see the kind of work that they did. What I hadn’t seen before was where
there were no rules and it was subtle and nuanced in terms of the body.
What did you want to show in Swivel?
I wanted it to be about that part of yourself that is on guard. Particularly, as
queer people, there are a lot of reasons why we might want to protect ourselves emotionally. It can be a hard road to travel depending on your background, your generation. I didn’t want it to be just another dance film. That was the journey of the film - having to earn that trust.
What challenges did you face making this film?
I think one of the challenges with independent films is always budget and not being able to give money if the way that you would like to and is deserved. For me, I think that essentially it was the challenge of asking two dancers who have a seriously good relationship and a very good product, that don’t really need to make a film, if they would allow me in and trust me to present something that leaves them very vulnerable.
I was very lucky that I had Henry and Rachel who did trust me and let me in and helped me articulate something that I’ve been trying to articulate for a very long time.
What would you like audiences to leave thinking or feeling?
I would like them to leave thinking and feeling! As a filmmaker that’s all you can hope for! If Something happened that day that when you go in (to watch a film) there is a particular need. You need to laugh or you need to be taken somewhere else. Whatever anybody comes into when they’re sitting at home watching this, I hope it feeds something of what that need is.
Are there queer filmmakers or characters that you admire?
I’m drawn to bravery, I’m drawn to courage, in whatever form that is. If people push boundaries and go outside the city walls. Desert Hearts was one of my films and When Night is Falling - they are both similar films about someone risking going outside of conformity. To step outside that acceptance that you have with people to be who you are, and to have that integrity and truth in who you are, that takes a lot of courage. They are normally the characters of storylines I’m drawn to.