THE BLESSED SACRILEGE: White Funeral

When a pious young priest is sent to investigate reports of paranormal activity, opium abuse and lesbianism at an eerie & controversial convent, the nuns and the novices identify his weakness and devise an astonishing way to receive Holy Communion.

  • Clare Cross
    Director
  • Nora Geist
    Director
  • Nora Geist
    Writer
  • Liesel Tompkins
    Producer
    Photoshoots: Nora Geist "Visages", "Figures", "Go Figure", "The Blessed Sacrilege", Life Modelling: RAM (Register of Artist’s Models) member, Mayfair Magazine (UK), Club International Magazine (UK)
  • Jo Starkers
    Key Cast
    "THE COUNTESS"
    Photoshoots: Club International magazine (UK), Fiesta magazine (UK), Mayfair magazine (UK), “Bad Girls of Essex” (UK), Club magazine (USA), Penthouse magazine (USA), Hustler magazine (USA), Chic magazine (USA), High Society magazine (USA), Nora Geist: "Faces", "Desert Islanders", “Nudes of the World”, Installations: Spencer Tunick: “Manchester”, “London (Selfridges)”
  • Tracey Norks
    Key Cast
    "THE ABBESS"
    Photoshoots: Club International magazine (UK), Mayfair magazine (UK), Nora Geist: “Under the Burqa”, “Nudes of the World”, Spencer Tunick: “London”, “Big Colour 6”, “Big Colour 7”, “NewcastleGateshead 5”
  • Will E. Roundhead
    Key Cast
    "THE SAINT"
    Installations: Angelo Musco: “Xylem”, “Ovum”, Spencer Tunick: “Space”, “Relationships”, Pau Ros Scintas—Completely Naked: “Flashing Bodies”, Nora Geist: “Nudes of the World”, Sarah Small: “Tableau Vivant—The Delirium Constructions”, Life Modelling: RAM (Register of Artist’s Models) member
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Erotic, horror, lgbtqia, religious
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 4 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 23, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Hallucinea Film Festival
  • Scream It Off Screen Film Festival
  • OGA (S)EXHIBITIONS
  • Horror Lust Film Festival
  • Caligari International Horror Film Festival
  • Filmoptico Art and Film Festival
  • Gravedigger Dave’s Anthology Film Festival
  • New York Nil Gallery
  • Roxy Roz Burlesque
  • Couch Film Festival
  • AltFF Alternative Film Festival
  • 6ix Screams International Horror Film Festival 2020
  • Triple SSS 2020
  • The Female Gaze in Erotic Film
  • The Itinerant Cinema of La Bete Rousse
  • New Dreams International Film Festival
  • Motion for Pictures
  • Kino London presents "The People's Film Festival"
  • Planet 9 Film & Art Fest
  • BIDEODROMO
  • First-Time Filmmaker Sessions
  • The Lift-Off Sessions
  • Festival AZYL
  • Tag! Queer Shorts Festival
  • Erotic & Bizarre Art Film Festival
Director Biography - Clare Cross, Nora Geist

NORA GEIST

Appreciator of experimental photography and film.
New York City & London

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

On 1 February 1901, rumours of witchcraft, lesbian Bacchic orgies and demon possession at the ancient community had reached the Archbishop’s palace. Fearing a scandal for the Church that would lead to a disruption in cash flow as well as to a drop in overall giving, the Archbishop commissioned the most devout and ambitious of his young chaplains—the Saint—to visit the convent and to offer a Mass of wholeness and healing to the members of the community, to hear the nuns' confessions, and perform as many exorcisms as would be needed. The Saint’s first points of contact were Countess Gerta von Suckula—the formidable granddaughter of the aristocratic patron of the order and Sister Fellatia—the mousy but furtive Abbess of the convent.

As the Saint is preparing to administer the Blessed Sacrament, he hears the lock of the chapel door slide shut and feels the temperature in the room begin to rise. When the Countess, the Abbess and the throng of incensed nuns encircle him at the altar, their increasing proximity causes an unwelcome stirring in his repressed virgin loins. As the women set upon him, he realises (too late) that he is spiritually ill-prepared for the confrontation with the principalities and powers that underpin the community’s leadership that threaten to subvert his mission...

I am an iconoclast who always challenges forms, customs and traditions, and this was an artistic and explicit way that I could carry this out. I filmed the action in black and white and then broke it up into jagged bits that would be choreographed with the clunky background score. While watching this film, I wanted the viewer to experience intrigue, curiosity, anticipation as well as shock at the transgression of racial, sexual and social barriers and taboos. There is also a strong element of the grotesque that pervades the work. I expect that some viewers will feel a sense of vindication while others may feel anger and frustration.

Some of the challenges making this film included not being able to open the windows of my studio because the bricks were being repointed, three power cuts during the filming itself and the difficulty in striking the balance between gothic horror and eroticism. I was inspired by the novel “The Story of the Eye”, and philosophical works “Visions of Excess” and “Inner Experience” by Georges Bataille to create this film. Dracula’s bridesmaids in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” inspired me to create the ‘bridesmaids of Countess von Suckula’, who draw the priest into their orgy.

The actresses playing the “Abbess” and the “‘Countess” were professional glamour models while the actor cast as the “Saint” was a professional life model as well as a drag queen performer. They were all featured in a burlesque pantomime I had gone to see and I thought it would be interesting to photograph and film them together. Working with them was energising because we had a shared vision, dynamic chemistry and appreciation for when the absurd and the erotic coincide. They wound up forming part of my original group of muses who modelled in various settings and are featured on my website www.norageist.art.

Working with this crew was fun because we were able to go through each stage of the process with good humour and a sense of purpose. We were fortunate to get the equipment for this film because we were running on a shoe string but a benefactor came to the rescue and enabled us to crack on. This film will always be special to me because I was able to depict aspects of the written works it was based on that have been inspiring to me since I was at university.

The film turned out to be a little different than the script because the nuns could not collectively dismember and devour the Saint! We had some delays creating this film because life got in the way. The original footage was shot ages ago but the film wasn’t completed until recently. I hope you enjoy watching!