The Blessed Sacrilege: White Funeral

When a young priest is sent to investigate reports of paranormal activity, drinking and lesbianism at a stuffy Bloomsbury convent, the nuns and the novices devise a more satisfying way to receive Holy Communion.

  • 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”
  • Joanna “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)”
  • William 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
  • Liesel Tompkins
    Key Cast
    “The Demonic Face, leader of gaggle of nuns & witnessing nun”
    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)
  • Nora Geist
    Director
  • Clare Cross
    Director
  • Georges Bataille
    Writer
    Guilty, Visions of Excess, The Story of the Eye, The Accursed Share, Erotism, Literature and Evil, Inner Experience, Blue of Noon, On Nietzsche
  • Nora Geist
    Writer
  • Liesel Tompkins
    Producer
  • Marzipanic of London Ltd.
    Hair & Makeup
  • Molly Cockles
    Costumes
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Music Video, Student, Short
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 23, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16.9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Erotic & Bizarre Art Film Festival

    Spain
    December 15, 2018
  • Tag! Queer Shorts Festival
    Portland, Oregon
    United States
    February 21, 2019
  • Festival AZYL
    Bratislava
    Slovakia
    June 14, 2019
  • The Lift-Off Sessions
    London
    United Kingdom
    June 23, 2019
  • First-Time Filmmaker Sessions
    London
    United Kingdom
    July 22, 2019
  • BIDEODROMO
    Bilbao
    Spain
    September 15, 2019
  • Planet 9 Film & Art Fest
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    October 4, 2019
  • Kino London presents "The People's Film Festival"
    London
    United Kingdom
    March 6, 2020
  • Motion for Pictures
    Cary, North Carolina
    United States
    February 5, 2020
  • New Dreams International Film Festival
    Woodland Hills, California
    United States
    June 19, 2020
  • The Itinerant Cinema of La Bete Rousse

    France
    July 5, 2020
  • The Female Gaze in Erotic Film
    New York, New York
    United States
    July 3, 2020
  • Triple SSS 2020
    Turners Falls, Massachusetts
    United States
    February 15, 2020
  • 6ix Screams International Horror Film Festival 2020
    Toronto
    Canada
  • AltFF Alternative Film Festival
    Toronto
    Canada
    December 27, 2020
    Best Experimental
  • Couch Film Festival
    Toronto
    Canada
    December 28, 2020
    Semi-finalist
  • Roxy Roz Burlesque
    Atlanta
    United States
    December 31, 2020
    Semi-finalist
  • New York Nil Gallery
    New York
    United States
    February 20, 2021
  • Gravedigger Dave’s Anthology Film Festival
  • Filmoptico Art and Film Festival
  • Caligari International Horror Film Festival
    Valencia
    Spain
    April 9, 2021
Director Biography - Nora Geist, Clare Cross

NORA GEIST & CLARE CROSS

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

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

"White Funeral" is set in 1901 at the cusp of the Victorian and Edwardian periods and symbolises the tumultuous cultural and historical upheaval of that time. In the midst of that backdrop, rumours of witchcraft, lesbian Bacchic orgies and demon possession at the ancient Community of St Gullveig had reached the Bishop’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 Bishop commissioned the holiest 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 St Gullveig’s 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 suddenly rise. As the throng of aroused women disrobe and encircle him at the altar, their proximity causes an unwelcome stirring in his repressed virgin loins. He begins to realise (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 breaking of 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.

Working with these actors and actresses was special because we all had a shared vision, dynamic chemistry and appreciation for the absurd. This was remarkable considering their different work experience and backgrounds. The actors cast as the ‘Abbess’ and the ‘Countess” were both experienced glamour models in international magazines and on the web, while the actor cast as the ‘Saint’ was a postgraduate student who also worked as a professional life model for drawing/painting and sculpture classes.

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 we could not actually kill one of the characters! 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!