LET RIP: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF SEEING AND NOT SEEING (2019)

'This short film is original and utilizes an interesting technique. A very creative way to reveal a personal story, it's revealed slowly and not too on the nose. The audience has to piece it together and read between the lines. It takes some interesting turns, staying engaging and unpredictable yet maintaining the style throughout the short.' SUNDAY SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL, SEPTEMBER 2020

*SEMI FINALIST AWARD WINNER (3rd place), SPLICE FILM FESTIVAL, 2020*

FILMMAKER INTRODUCTION TO LET RIP: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF SEEING AND NOT SEEING (2019):
https://filmfreeway.com/FILMMAKERINTRODUCTIONTOLETRIPAPERSONALHISTORYOFSEEINGANDNOTSEEING2019

SUMMARY: Made with sound and moving image recordings I created using a Sony Ericsson Cybershoot K800i mobile phone between 2005-2006, drawings and paintings I made between 2005-2007 and 2018-2019 and photographic stills and moving image recordings I made between 2011-2019 on various iPhones, this film is set within the context of gay male adolescent reaching sexual maturity in 1990s British suburbia. It charts my teenage-hood; discovering my sexuality in private, away from my parents. A scrapbook but on film – a moving scrapbook of having lived through phases of what being gay in London might mean – layers and fragments of history. A narrative which is both honest, personal, painful and humorous.

As a teenager, you do not really know who you are. This film is a self-reflection - a ‘this is what it was like’ to come to terms with my homosexuality; of me finding somebody attractive (men) but not really knowing what I am. Some ‘rips’ reveal imagery and text quickly whilst others are slow - how things come to you over time. It is an excess of snippets from my life and moments of recognition pertaining to the desire to be seen but not wanting to be seen at the same time. Let Rip presents a personal history of sight, not seeing yourself, discovering a part of yourself through seeing. The sonic motif of a rip points to the era which I grew up in with physical magazines, posters on bedroom walls, collage, X-rated late night tv and Top of the Pops. Different accounts of queer desire and homophobia are deeply personal however keep a part of myself to myself. Even the first image is a shadow of me taking a picture of myself. It is really mundane, a very non-visible version of myself, just a shadow of a person.

The 'ripping' is so visceral; it’s on your skin. It hits you on an intuitional level and is inarticulable but really supports this going back in time and reconstructing something in the present. To rip also means Rest in Peace – which gives contradiction as this is an excavation of older work, old material, old me. I am revisiting myself and previous work; bringing myself and this prior work back into the present.

It is ‘an honest and sincere account and reflection upon personal narratives, reconfigured and re-understood' (Balaclava-Q, 2019). It presents a personal history of seeing and not seeing to confront the politics of seeing and underline how validating seeing can be but also the difficulty of not being seen. Not overly confessional but relaying frank autobiographic details of my actual lived experience, it tells the story of me being a gay teenager growing up in 1990s suburban Britain and explores the ways that people have looked at me and how that affects me. As the film unravels, written placards juxtaposed against a moving background panning a kaleidoscopic cornucopia of hand pencil drawings, photographs and paintings produced over the course of over 15-20 years present a personal narrative, a personal archive. This produces various levels of fragmentation, jarring and visual versus verbal interruption. Shards of colour (light illuminations) literally ‘rip into’ the black and white imagery symbolising the awakenings that I came upon in my queer youth both emotionally, mentally and sexually. Whilst what is presented 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: George Michael, late night tv, bad porn. Whilst slogans speak of me looking more at George Michael than listening to his music, fancying my (male) geography teacher, watching bad (straight) porn etc. speak of my experience, When watching the film with a friend recently. he started having all these flashbacks of stealing his mum’s catalogues and thinking about the (female) geography teacher that he had this crush on.

The ripping signifies another fleshy layer seeping underneath and being revealed, another set of imagery or text coming through. Creative green screen usage in films has been around forever and could be said to feel retro but in Let Rip green screen is used to review history. But to think more about the act of ripping within the scrapbook appearance of this film, it may act as means of releasing/revealing something, revealing deeper truths, of ‘unscrapping’. Repetition of the first rip gives the film a rhythm. It could also be argued that in the way that I am ripping I am trying to uncover something, but I never really expose.

AUDIENCE COMMENTS

‘The text is really well written, really funny and very personal.’

‘A catharsis happening with the tearing – it’s quite painful – especially the slow drawn out tearing – a revealing quality – a vulnerability – feels like you are really peeling away part of yourself’

‘I read this magazine not just to see hot guys but to see guys like me - really interesting in terms of identity and desire which relates to representation of my own body and sexuality’

‘The most exciting moments are the sounds of the tearing, the way it is repeated, never quite sure if something is animated or live’

‘The discomfort of observing yourself and finding something funny about it is really interesting - the film operates on that level between discomfort and humour and total seriousness’

‘Has this aspect of social document plus desire and the point where the social and the desire combust together’

SCREENINGS AND AWARDS

SPLICE Film Festival, New York JUNE 2020
*Semi-Finalist Winner (3rd place)*

Living Window APRIL 2020
Philadephia, United States
OFFICIAL SELECTION

Queerbee LGBTQ Film Festival JUNE 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION

Homo Humour
Miami, Edgezones, PerforMIA 2020
February 15, 2020
Official Selection

Vesuvius International Film Festival
May 31, 2020
Official Selection

Gilbert Baker Film Festival, SEPTEMBER 2020
Official Selection

VISIONS 2020, Bow Arts Trust, London SEPTEMBER 2020
Official Selection

Porn Film Festival OCTOBER 2020
Vienna, Austria
Official Selection

DARKROOM FILM FESTIVAL, OCTOBER 2020
Deptford Cinema, London
Official Selection

ART200 INTERNATIONAL QUEER FILM FESTIVAL OCTOBER 2020
Bucharest, Hungary
SEMI-FINALIST Official Selection

2020 Southampton Film Week, UK

2021 Fisheye Film Festival, UK

  • Lee Campbell
    Director
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Queerbee LGBTQ Film Festival

    OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • Porn Film Festival
    Vienna
    Austria
    Official Selection
  • Living Window
    Philadephia
    United States
    April 24, 2020
  • Homo Humour
    Miami, Edgezones, PerforMIA 2020
    February 15, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Vesuvius International Film Festival

    May 31, 2020
    Official Selection
  • SPLICE Film Fest

    June 20, 2020
    Semi-Finalist Winner (3rd place)
  • Gilbert Baker FIlm Festival

    Official Selection
  • VISIONS 2020
    London
    September 13, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Porn Film Festival, Berlin
    Berlin
    October 23, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Darkroom Film and AV Festival
    London
    September 25, 2020
    Official Selection
  • ART200 International Queer Film Festival
    Bucharest
    Hungary
    October 26, 2020
    Semi-Finalist
  • Southampton Film Week
    Southampton
    United Kingdom
    November 16, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Fisheye Film Festival

    April 22, 2021
    Official Selection
  • WICKED QUEER
    BOSTON
    United States
    April 11, 2021
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Lee Campbell

Dr Lee Campbell trained in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2005 and received his doctorate in 2016. His recent experimental performance poetry films have been selected for many international queer film festivals including Queerbee LGBT Film Festival, The Gilbert Baker Film Festival, Kansas 2020, HOMOGRAPHY, Brussels and STATES OF DESIRE: Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination, Casa de Duende, Philadelphia, USA, WICKED QUEER 202,Boston, USA, 2021 Film Vault Presents, Manchester, UK, 2021 FilmPride Brighton & Hove Pride's official LGBTQ+ film festival, Brighton, UK,Splice Film Festival 2021, Brooklyn, USA Festival ECRÃ Edition 5, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, SPHERE Festival, and Queer Life, EdgeZones, Miami, USA 2021.
He has a solo exhibition of his film work at The Sidewalk Video Gallery, Fountain Street, Boston USA in late 2021. His films have been selected for prestigious awards/nominations including:

2021 Honorable Mention, Splice Film Festival, New York
2021 Nominee for Best Original Concept and Best Atmosphere Independent Horror Movie Awards
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

Dr Lee Campbell describes himself as 'a Londoner who makes experimental films and performance poetry about being gay and working class using barbaric wit and humour’. He uses poetry and experimental film as a form of autoethnographic storytelling/sharing of personal narratives often raw, often painful but always generous and authentic.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I am interested how the medium of film and photography (that particularly include collage-methods) considers how male body image/self-representation particularly from a gay male perspective has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to the present day. Applied humour as a tactic to subvert and challenge issues of representation, my current film work presents a personal archaeology and revolves around my own autobiographical perspective, using the mechanisms of comedy and humour as an integral part of my work to engage, disarm, and highlight.

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 this new exciting phase of my 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.