Experiencing Interruptions?

RECLAIMING MY VOICE (2022)

'The eye, eye, eye, eye sounds like oi, oi, oi, oi on repeat, a tease that becomes a threat!'

'Self-affirmation and self-acceptance are the keys to a contented fulfilling life. To each his (or her) own, they say'

'Brilliant, inspired and inspiring in equal measure, and - as ever - delivered with positive intent'

'‘Really related to that, that some camp or feminine qualities that some gay men have because sometimes we (gay men) don’t acknowledge that we have that so it’s like they are invisible. So when people are talking about these things it’s like ‘oh what you are talking about..?’. We are all the same, men are just men. I’ve been looking at that a lot recently. I used to feel like that as well that my voice was too gay and my mannerisms were too gay and that affected my mental health for a long period of time. You almost have to come out as a whole person including your mannerisms, your voice. I really feel that it’s part of reclaiming being gay. The last ten years, it’s been like oh men are just men and women are just women. That’s not true at all. If you put a camp guy next to a straight guy, that’s two completely different things so reclaiming who we are in every way!’ audience member at Poetry LGBT Online, June 2022

Reclaiming my Voice (2022) is a film about hiding my identity by disguising how I spoke as a teenager and like Devil’s Hole (2022) uses repetition in both visual and sonic ways to, at times, devastating effect. It deals with the difficulty of a teenager gay (me) growing up in a heteronormative environment in 1990s Britain and relates to me trying to disguise myself. Looking back, I laugh at the ridiculousness and absurdity of it all; me being a ‘lad’ (a man demonstrating stereotypical almost hyper masculine behaving) and trying to act my ‘lad-self’ to fit in with others (my heterosexual made) by speaking and behaving like a ‘lad’. It speaks about my fear of acting/sounding ‘camp’/effeminate to not reveal to my friends I am gay. The poem finishes with sharing how I overcame these difficulties and no longer worry about how I act/behave/fear of sounding camp; ‘I was born with this voice. I did not have a choice. My voice no longer haunts me, it liberates’.

This short poetry film contains drawings that I made in 2005, moving image footage shot on my Sony Ericsson Cybershoot K800i mobile phone in 2007 and photographs taken on my iPhone in 2018.

The lettering that appears in Reclaiming my Voice is generated by me screen recording myself creating words using the pen/pencil on my iPad and then using the recording as a green screen layer within the films. I like the way the words reveal themselves: sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly across the screen. They don’t just sit on top of the imagery but often become images within themselves. Especially so, in terms of the way they bleed into the imagery within Reclaiming my Voice during the ‘dipping my toe in but never my feet’ section. You can see the words ‘dipping my toe in’ on the screen. This corresponds to what I talk about in the poem: my straight mate Danny experimenting with his sexuality (‘dipping his toe in’) but not going as far as being a ‘full time full-blown gayboy’. The appearance of black text on a white background in the following sequence in the film containing the words ‘never my feet’ underlines Danny’s affirmation that he is straight (or so he claims) in black and white. Full stop. innuendo, double-entendres and word play puns are used by Danny who is a heterosexual straight male who can’t seem to (possibly through his own discomfort) speak directly about homosexuality or having same sex desire. The usage of cryptolect (coded language) here is reversed. Some of the cryptolect here is the well known British working-class slang and in other cases (like ‘dipping my toe in’), I have invented for the purposes of the poem:

‘Don’t bother me mate’ he said, ‘that particular street’ (being gay)

But I hope I don‘t catch it (discover I am homosexual)

Did you get it from something you eat?

It don’t make me a gay, I was just having a peek

at the size of Ben’s tackle (penis) whilst he was having a leak

I might listen to Kylie and boogie to Chic

And got a big hard-on (erection) when Ben did a streak

Running stark bollock naked at the footie last week, him running over the pitch when The Gunners got beat

All of us lads admired the size of his meat (penis)

But me, a full time full blown gayboy (a guy who has come out as homosexual)

Sure, I’ve thought about dipping my toe in but never my feet’ (experimenting with homosexuality, with limits)

  • Lee Campbell
    Director
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 7, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Vesuvius International Film Festival

    July 31, 2022
    FINALIST NOMINEE
  • SF Queer Film Festival
    San Francisco
    United States
    August 26, 2022
    North American Premiere
    Official Selection
  • World Poetry Slam Championship
    Brussels
    September 25, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Film Vault Presents
    Manchester
    United Kingdom
    September 1, 2022
    Official Selection
  • WIPE amateur film festival
    Berlin
    Germany
    November 12, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Gilbert Baker Film Festival (GBFF) 2023

    OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • Reel Poetry Film Festival 2024
    Houston
    United States
    April 6, 2024
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Lee Campbell

Dr Lee Campbell is an artist, performance poet, experimental filmmaker, writer, Senior Lecturer at University of the Arts London (UAL) and curator/founder of Homo Humour, the first of its kind project on contemporary queer male film and moving image practices that explore humour and LGBTQ+ storytelling and has screened all over the world since 2020. His experimental performance poetry films have been selected for many international film festivals since 2019. 
 
Recent selected film accolades in 2024 include ‘Periscope’, ‘Proper Shave’ and ‘Press Eject’ nominated for Best Experimental Film for ‘Periscope’, Fisheye Film Festival, Bucks, U.K. In 2023, ‘ Michael in the Mountains’ was Nominee for Best Experimental Short at Appalachian Queer Film Festival, Huntington, West Virginia, USA, ‘Rufus’ and ‘Slang Bang’ were selected as Finalists at the Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Cardiff, Wales.,‘Bears with Bananas and Bubbles in Their Boxers’ was a Finalist in The Artists Spoken Word Competition, NYC, USA and 'Rufus' won Best Animated Short at The Rooster Film Festival, Portland, USA. His film SEE ME: A Walk Through London’s Gay Soho 1994 and 2020 (2021) has won numerous accolades including winning Best Experimental Film at Ealing Film Festival, London 2022, shortlisted for BEST POETRY FILM at the Out-Spoken Poetry Prize 2023, Southbank Centre, London and receiving Honorable Mentions at Los Angeles Underground Film Forum and Experimental Forum, Los Angeles both in 2023. Other film accolades include his films ‘Periscope’ and ‘Apple of my Eye’ (2022 version) as finalist in the Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize 2022 and 2023 and an Honorable Mention for 'Let Rip: Teenage Scrapbook' at REELPOETRY INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2023, Houston, Texas, USA and for 'Juniper Park' at Experimental Forum, Los Angeles in 2023.
 
Lee had his first solo exhibition in North America of his poetry films, See Me: Performance Poetry Films at Fountain Street, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A in July 2022 and a solo exhibition of poetry film, Bona Polari! at The Margate School, Margate and Wimbledon College of Arts Library, UAL in February 2022. In September 2023, a solo retrospective of Lee’s recent film work SEE ME: Lee Campbell Recent Poetry Film Works was held at Raum für Kunst, Paderborn, Germany.
 
Forthcoming and recent screenings include Cauldron International Film and Video Festival, Salt Lake City, USA, Festival ECRÃ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, MicroActs 18, London, Queer Visions, Vienna, Post Pxrn Film Festival, Warsaw, Porn sur Mars, Marseilles, France, Brecon Beacons Film Festival, Brecon, Wales, Fisheye Film Festival, High Wycombe, PFF Vienna 2024, Austria, Terrible Fest Toronto, Toronto, Canada, Kino Short Film Open Mic, London, FetFilms, Stockholm, Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize 2023, NSFW Film Festival, Los Angeles, USA, Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Cardiff, Wales, Queer Shorts Vienna, PORN Film Festival, Barcelona, Persian Experimental Film Festival, Gay Binge Film Festival, Gay Binge TV, Homography/Homografia, Brussels, Festival Fotogenia, Mexico, Kinoclub Goes Sompasauna, Helsinki, Finland, Wal Goch Football Film Festival, Cardiff, Wales , Failed Films Festival, Media Pollution, Los Angeles, USA, The Artists Spoken Word Competition, NYC, USA, Appalachian Queer Film Festival, Huntington, West Virginia, USA, Filmfest Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany,  Squish Movie Camp, Rotterdam, Post Pxrn Film Festival, Warsaw, The West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival, Morgantown, USA, Hacker Porn Film Festival, Italy, Brighton Rocks International Film Festival, Brighton, Hastings Rocks International Film Festival, Printworks, Hastings, New York City Independent Film Festival  New York, TEASR Film Festival, Tucson, USA, The Rooster Film Festival, Portland, Oregon, USA, Lynchian Film Festival, Global Fest, Kino Club Helsinki with global Impro ensemble from The Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, Musiikkitalo Finland, Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize 2022,Down East Flick Fest, North Carolina, USA, PFFB Porn Film Festival Berlin, Berlin, WIPE Film Festival, Berlin, Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Cardiff, Wales, Ealing Film Festival, London, Monologues and Poetry International Film Festival, CINEM’aMOSTr, Teatro Municipal de Vila do Conde, Porto, Portugal, VIDEOAKTION #3, Raum für drastische Maßnahmenm, Berlin, SECS FEST, Seattle, USA, Hombres Video Poetry Award (Finalist) for ‘SEE ME’, SlamContemporary, Italy, (de)construction,, Kino Club Helsinki, Finland, SF Queer Film Festival, San Francisco, CA, USA, Failed Films Season 5,Los Angeles, U.S.A, Feminist Border Arts Film Festival, New Mexico State University, U.S.A,TRANÅS AT THE FRINGE - International Screening of Experimental Films and Videopoems, Sweden, Post Pxrn Film Festival, Warsaw, Living with Buildings II, Coventry, REELpoetry/HoustonTX 2022 International Poetry Film Festival, The Football Art Prize, UK-touring exhibition to Touchstones Rochdale, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens,NFSW Film Festival, Los Angeles, USA,Miami Performance International Festival, EdgeZones, Miami, FilmPride Brighton & Hove Pride's official LGBTQ+ film festival, Brighton, UK, Festival ECRÃ Edition 5, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wicked Queer Film Festival, Boston, USA, Fisheye Film Festival, UK, Southampton Film Week, UK, The Gateway Film Festival, UK, STATES OF DESIRE: Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination, Casa de Duende, Philadelphia, USA. Darkroom Film Festival, Deptford Cinema, London, The Gilbert Baker Film Festival, USA, HOMOGRAFÍA/HOMOGRAPHY, Brussels. Visions 2020 selected by Hetain Patel, The Nunnery, Bow Arts Trust, London, Porn Film Festival Vienna, Satyrs and Maenads: the Athens Porn Film Festival, SPLICE Film Festival, OUTStream Film Festival and Queerbee LGBT Film Festival. 

Lee has been interviewed numerously about his current film/performance work including interviews on BBC Radio Ulster with WIlliam Crawley, BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey with Kathy Caton for Out with Kathy, KMTV (local Kent-based TV station) interview feature about Bona Polari! solo exhibition, interview with Jane Glennie, Moving Poems Magazine in July 2022, Daniel Hess for To Tony Productions, Tim Kirk, Matt Skallerud for I Love Gay Today/PinkMedia LGBT, Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With – Lee Campbell (March 2021) BBC Radio Kent- Interview with Dominic King for The Dominic King Show January 2021. His film work has received critical acclaim with recent review features of his film work by Francesca de Luca in Cut Frame Magazine and James Clark in Lost Creatives. In 2008, he was interviewed by Libby Purves for BBC Radio 4 where he discussed his solo performance for Whitstable Biennale that year. 
 
Lee’s poetry has received critical acclaim and was mentioned in a Summer 2022 edition of London’s Islington Tribune. His poem ‘Clever at Seeing without being Seen’ was recorded for Sometimes, The Revolution is Small, Disarm Hate x Poetry project by Nymphs & Thugs Recording Co. UK.Publications of his poetry include Hakara: A Bi-Lingual Journal of Creative Expression, The Atticus Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Untitled. Voices, Gob Jaw Anthology 2019-2022, Issue Two: Wasteland, Powders Press, Issue One: First Times, Powders Press, Otherwise, You Are Here - The Journal of Creative Geography, Queerlings – A Literary Magazine for Queer Writing, New Note Poetry, Streetcake Experimental Writing Magazine, The New Normal and Step Away Magazine. is first chapbook ‘Slang Bang’ will be published by Back Room Poetry in November 2024 and debut poetry collection ’See Me: An (Almost) Autobiography’ is forthcoming with London Poetry Books.
 

RECENT SELECTED AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

2024 Nominee for Best Experimental Film for ‘Periscope’, Fisheye Film Festival, Bucks, U.K
2024 Nominee for Best Experimental Film for ‘Proper Shave’, Fisheye Film Festival, Bucks, U.K
2024 Nominee for Best Experimental Film for ‘Press Eject’, Fisheye Film Festival, Bucks, U.K
2023 Finalist for ‘Periscope’, Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize 2023
2023 Nominee for Best Experimental Short for Michael in the Mountains’, Appalachian Queer Film Festival, Huntington, West Virginia, USA
2023 Finalist for ‘Slang Bang’ and ‘Rufus’, Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Cardiff, Wales
2023 Finalist for ‘Bears with Bananas and Bubbles in Their Boxers’ The Artists Spoken Word Competition, NYC, USA
2023 WINNER of Best Micro Short for 'The Colour of His Eyes', Under Appreciated Film Festival 2023
2023 Semi-Finalist for 'Head Boy', Neum Underwater Film Festival, Neum, Bosnia
2023 Honorable Mention for 'SEE ME', Los Angeles Underground Film Forum, Los Angeles, USA  
2023 Honorable Mention for 'SEE ME' and 'Juniper Park', Experimental Forum, Los Angeles
2023 Shortlisted for BEST POETRY FILM for ‘SEE ME’, Out-Spoken Poetry Prize 2023, Southbank Centre, London
2023 WINNER of BEST ANIMATED SHORT for ‘Rufus’ at The Rooster Film Festival, Portland, USA
2023 Honorable Mention for 'Let Rip: Teenage Scrapbook' at REELPOETRY INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2023 Houston, Texas, USA
2022 WINNER of BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM for ‘SEE ME’, Ealing Film Festival, London
2022 Finalist for ‘Apple of My Eye’, Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize 2022
2022 Finalist for ‘See Shells’, Drumshanbo Written Word Weekend Poetry Film Competition, Drumshanbo, Ireland
2022 Juan Downey International Contest (Finalist), Chile 
2022 Hombres Video Poetry Award (Finalist) for ‘SEE ME’, SlamContemporary, Italy  
2022 Finalist for ‘Rufus’, MicroMania Film Festival 2022, Buffalo, NY, USA
2022 Finalist for ‘The Perfect Crime: A Doggy Whodunnit’, Absurd Art House Film Festival 2022
2022 Finalist for ‘Reclaiming my Voice’, Vesuvius International Film Festival
2022 Honorable Special Mention Award, Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival
2021 Best Psychedelic Fantasy film winner for 'See Me' (2020), Retro Avant Garde Film Festival NYC 
2021 Semi-Finalist, Serbest International Film Festival 2021
2021 Honorable Mention, Splice Film Festival, New York
2021 Nominee for Best Original Concept and Best Atmosphere Independent Horror Movie Awards 2021
2021 Honorable Mention Award for 'See Me' (2020), Screener Short Films  
2021 Best Kent Film nominee for ‘Peer’ (2020), Margate Bookie Film Festival
2021 Honorable Special Mention Award, Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival
2020 Semi-Finalist (3rd place winner), Splice Film Festival, New York
2019 Special Mention Award, London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

‘Campbell’s work oscillates between memory and everyday life, as well as between private, public and pop-cultural history.’ Curator Alexander Schultz speaking about my exhibition SEE ME, Raum fur Kunst ,Paderborn, September 2023

My work broadly explores vision, visuality, and the politics of seeing and not seeing and has a long historied body of practice since 2000. As both the writer, director and performer within the experimental films and poetry performances I create, I view my practice as me performing an autoethnography; using these media forms and the chosen themes within their narratives to help me self-reflect and (better) understand myself in relation to acts of looking, seeing and being seen and the difficulty in terms of not seeing/not being seen and my own subjectivity and experiences as British, working class, male, and gay. Themes of masculinity and desire underpin many aspects of my work.
 
Comedy historically comes from a queer identity defence, when it was harder to be gay in public, to be funny like Kenneth Williams who used gay slang known as Polari to communicate with other gay men covertly. Extending these ideas, underpinning my work are the mechanisms of comedy and humour to create a form of autoethnographic storytelling that subverts and challenges through a sophisticated usage of camp, innuendo and double-entendres to speak of personal narratives often raw, often painful but always generous and authentic.
 
Applied humour as a tactic to subvert and challenge a issues of homosexual identity and representation in relation to themes addressing seeing/not seeing etc. My practice presents a personal archaeology and revolves around my own autobiographical perspective, using the mechanisms of comedy and humour to engage, disarm, and highlight the gay male subcultural milieu which needs critique as it creates such stereotypes.
 
With a background in Painting and then Performance Art, my current artist moving image film practice brings together personal drawing, painting, photography and performance. Collage has become a major tool in this recent film practice, reinvigorating paintings and drawings that I produced nearly twenty years ago which are juxtaposed throughout my films with current photographic and performance for camera work. These films are often made with reusing / repurposing personal archival material and sound and moving image recordings. Things insist, in a spiral, nothing’s wasted. In my current practice, I use all my capacities, from theatre to drawing to painting to language to the comic to the affective to the relational, to painting and performance and film. Excavating (fine art) work I made long ago and resuscitating it, I bring it back to life through the medium of film and moving image. Integrating my fine artwork into my film work, my films create an arresting palimpsest effect by recycling pieces from previous bodies of work and placing them within my current context to see how their meanings may now differ from when they were first conceived. Whilst what is presented through my films can be read as one person’s (my) narrative, so too can it easily be read as lots of different voices layered to talk about wider levels of experience with various references to cultural context that (any)one can relate to.