92% of women have never been asked by their healthcare team about the impact of cancer on their sex life.
We’re as shocked as you are.
Cancer, Sex & Intimacy - a project funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and produced by the Fruitfly Collective - is on a mission to change this with a series of resources that will bust myths, provide advice and support, and advocate for change. We were approached by the team to create a film aimed at healthcare professionals who work with cancer patients to educate them on the importance of helping patients in this area.
We wanted to steer away from any traditional approaches to educational videos in the healthcare sector by going bold. Rather than filming in a standard studio setting, we filmed with three cancer patients in a female-focussed sex shop showing them exploring, having fun, and being at ease with the subject of female pleasure. This informal approach in turn helped them relax around us, around each other, and also learn more about themselves in the process. As healthcare professionals are understandably strained from high workloads and might potentially be hard to engage, we knew the first five seconds would be critical to grabbing their attention - so we decided to open the film with dildos smashing through the frame. What could be a more attention-grabbing opening than that?
Not Dying is a critically acclaimed theatre show, written and performed by Jamie Hale about their experience of the intersection between disability, death and dying, sex, identity and queerness. Jamie received Arts Council funding to transform the stage show into a film - in order to (a) make it accessible to audiences who may not be able to physically or financially go to the theatre, and (b) incorporate BSL performance into the entirety of the show.
After working together on Call Us CRIPtic, we were delighted that Jamie became a returning client and asked Fig Films to take on the challenge. This was new territory for us - having not worked in the theatre space before. What became immediately important was thinking of the film as a film in its own right, and working out what translated from theatre to film, and what needed to be rethought or adjusted. For example, the lighting design that works on stage does not translate into the lighting needed for good cinematography. Similarly with the sound design. We were happy that the final film retained the core essence of the original Not Dying play but elevated it to work in the best way possible on screen.
We were approached by filmmaker Ella Glendining and CRIPtic Arts founder Jamie Hale to manage the production of Call Us CRIPtic. An Arts Council funded project, which would use documentary to look at emerging disabled artists involved in CRIPtic and the ways in which ableism impact their work and career. We learnt so much from this project about how to create a genuinely accessible and inclusive set for crew, cast and contributors, particularly around disability. The creative approach was to allow the artists to completely voice the film and story in their own words, as well as to play on the dramatic visual setting of theatre, performing, and being backstage. It was also essential to have disabled crew and co-directors, in order to avoid the non-disabled gaze onto a group of disabled artists. The film was then screened at the Tate Modern, as part of an event around art and access, which was the perfect audience and setting to showcase the film.