Private Project

Press-on Nails

A manly construction worker's secret curiosity for Drag leads to an unexpected journey with the ill-mannered local shop assistant, challenging both of their beliefs about confidence, identity, and trust.

  • Sian Taylor
  • Synne Lippert
  • Hannah Cross
  • Lewis Maiella
    Key Cast
    "Brian Mayhew"
  • Isla Hughes
    Key Cast
  • Elliott Eason
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Romantic-Comedy, LGBTQ
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 28, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Hertfordshire
Director Biography - Synne Lippert

[Sian is not the director of this film - Project]
Sian Taylor is a screenwriter from Brighton, a coastal city in the south of England. She recently completed a degree in Film and TV Production at the University of Hertfordshire in 2022, and is currently on a study abroad program in Los Angeles, California, further honing her craft. Sian is set to graduate with first class honours when she returns home later this year.

Sian's creative journey began in her teenage years, when she discovered her love for screenwriting after writing a short story for a creative writing class. Since then, she has dedicated herself to perfecting the art of screenwriting and has since developed an impressive portfolio of work.

Prior to her studies in film, Sian was pursuing a career in science but realised that her true passion lay in the art of storytelling through film. As she once said, "Life is too short to not do what you love, and I truly love screenwriting." This realisation prompted her to shift her career focus and pursue a degree in film, ultimately leading her to her current residency in the United States.

Sian's love for filmmaking extends beyond just writing. As a director, she has a keen eye for visual storytelling and a natural ability to bring stories to life on the screen. Her directing style is marked by a deep understanding of actors and their craft of bringing fictional characters to life; Others have noted that Sian possesses a particular talent for bringing out the best in her performers. While she is currently focusing on perfecting her screenwriting skills, Sian's passion for directing and working with actors remains undiminished.

Sian's dedication, creativity, and unwavering passion for storytelling have set her apart as a rising talent in the industry. Her ability to craft engaging and thought-provoking stories are a testament to her skill and promise as a Screenwriter. With her talent, hardwork and drive, Sian is poised to make a significant impact in the world of cinema in the years to come.

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Director Statement

Everyone has secrets. Everyone has pain. Whether it is something they are scared to admit to themselves or scared to announce to the world, many find themselves living double lives or otherwise living in denial. The story of Press-on Nails came to me when I fell in love with the idea of a love story between two lost souls who desperately need someone to recognize their pain and see them, and love them, for who they truly are instead of the false narrative they present to the world out of fear.
This story relies heavily on themes of hypermasculine toxicity, domestic violence, and homophobia, and the effects these can have on everyone involved. In Brian’s story, I found it personally interesting to delve into the story of a straight man in a toxic, hypermasculine world dealing with internalised homophobia and confronting the men around him in order to explore his feminine side and become a better, happier person for it. Whereas, in Maeve’s story, and her relationship with Dan, I wanted to highlight the sensitive yet very important topic of domestic violence and the importance of Victims recognizing when to ask for help. Dan is the villain in everyone's story as he is the archetype character of toxic masculinity, who actively acts on the disgust, judgement and power-imbalance he believes against anyone who isn’t the staple straight-white hegemonic man.
I was scared that Brian ultimately being a straight man in drag would tarnish the message I was trying to convey as it might be seen as another contribution to the on-going issue of the straight-white man being the hero of every story; and being a voice within an LGBTQ+ oriented space where others may feel he does not belong or deserve the opportunity to speak. However, during early edits of this story I spoke with many within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as those with experience in Drag, asking them how they received the story of Brian being a straight, or potentially bisexual, man. I came to realise that this is an extremely important story I wanted to tell as many felt this type of story had yet to be told in this way. In fact, it even allowed me to see a different side to many of the straight men around me who, because of this story, felt comfortable enough with me to open up to me about exploring their feminine side, and their curiosity of wearing make-up and women’s clothes without the fear of judgement or questioning of their sexuality.
In Maeve’s story, we see a woman who has built her walls so high and hides herself because of the trauma she endures. When she meets Brian not only does she feel like she has met her match, but she has also met someone unexpected who she can relate to and empathise with. Someone who hides their true selves out of fear of judgement, with a shared love for creativity. I felt even in Maeve’s story, at her core, she is an example of someone who is able to be in touch with their feminine without being the stereotypical hyper-feminine woman many expect to see in film. In the end, Brian and Maeve are able to see one another for who they truly are, who understands them; they have both found someone who they don’t have to fear. This story is really important to me as I fell in love with both Brian and Maeve, and the gentle love they have for one another in such a violent and angry world.