Out of the Closets, Into the Streets explores the moment Melbourne’s lesbian and gay people found their voice through the Gay Liberation Movement, coming out and proud and challenging the status quo. The film features interviews with original Melbourne Gay Liberation Front members, archival images from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives collection, and original Super 8 footage of 1973/74 Gay Lib and Women’s Lib activities filmed and edited by Barbara Creed.
Interview with writer/producer Lucinda Horrocks
Main photo: Gay Liberation Demonstration: Gay Liberation Demonstration, City Square, Melbourne, 1972. Photograph by Peter McEwan. ©Peter McEwan 1972. Courtesy of the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! We were drawn to this story because it is about courage and social change. And people making a stand for respect of difference. And I do think this group of young people changed our world.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
In 1970s Melbourne a group of students made a stand for gay pride at a time when homosexuality was criminalised and discrimination and abuse was widespread. For gay and lesbian people, Melbourne before Gay Lib was an intolerant world. And this group of young people made the decision to come out as gay, collectively, loud and proud. In those days to acknowledge you were gay was a potent political statement, it was a hugely brave thing to do. And because they did it, they insisted on recognition and respect, they fostered social change. So if you watch this film it might help you realise how many rights have been won in Australia over just 45 years, and the power social activism can have to generate change.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The personal is political. That was the slogan of 1970s gay lib and 1970s women’s lib and it was powerful. So it was really important for activists to talk about their personal experiences of family life, discovering their homosexuality, first lovers, bullying, discrimination and so on, because that was what was being ignored by the status quo. They turned their personal stories into a political device to expose the power structures of society. They showed that subjectivity matters. Sexuality and gender matter. Your experiences in this world as a gendered, sexual being are part of the universal context and deserve recognition.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Documentary storytelling is a process of continual evolution. As a lot of our material is based on subject-centred narratives we don’t tend to script before production, we work to themes we want to draw out and those themes evolve as we interview more people and discover the story. With this story we collaborated with the amazing Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, who provided heaps of research and content. We were also extraordinarily privileged to have access to original Super 8 footage of 1970s Gay Lib and Women’s Lib protest marches shot and edited by filmmaker and cultural theorist Barb Creed. This footage really shaped our story, as well as the amazing interviews with participants.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Great feedback. People of the 1970s activist era are happy and a bit surprised to realise the impact of what they did. Those times feel like a long time ago to them. Younger people are really interested about the history and surprised as well. Young transgender people see echoes then of their fight for recognition now and get a lot from it. General audiences love to see the 1970s footage and reflect on what the 1970s were like and how different those times were in many ways to today. I think most people are surprised at how radical activist voices from that period sound to us today. It is a shock to hear that Gay Lib activists weren’t interested in equality, as equality is almost the universal 21st century mantra. Gay Lib activists didn’t want equality, they wanted to transform the underlying structures of society.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I’ve been surprised and honoured that transgender people take so much out of the story. That’s been wonderful to discover. I was a little nervous telling the story because as a white cis gendered female who identifies as heterosexual I haven’t had to deal with discrimination because of my sexuality or sexual orientation But the story was hugely important to me because Gay Lib activists fought for all kinds of acceptance of difference, and that changed society for the better for people like me as well, and that’s sort of the story we tried to tell. And most people who have watched, gay or straight, cis or trans, have taken something out of the story, which is wonderful.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I guess I would like more people to be aware of the film, but also to know of the amazing story and the unsung heroes of the gay liberation movement.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
All of the above! I think there is a larger story in this so would love to talk to producers and finance bodies to develop the story into a feature or a series.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would like people to know more about this amazing group of people and what they did to make our world a better place, and perhaps inspire future activists to keep fighting to make social change happen.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How do you generate lasting social change?
Would you like to add anything else?
Yes, I’d like to point out that this project is actually more than a film! We also produced a digital multimedia exhibition of stills and audio in collaboration with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA). The whole project is actually based on a 2015 physical exhibition of the same name curated by the Archives. The project was commissioned by Culture Victoria, a fantastic online platform that shares the stories held by collecting organisations across Victoria. The film and exhibition is freely viewable online, no logins required at Culture Victoria http://cv.vic.gov.au/stories/a-diverse-state/out-of-the-closets-into-the-streets/ .
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We are in the middle two stories at the moment, one about the Chinese on the goldfields of Victoria the other about data democracy. It’s keeping us busy!
Interview: May 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Background: About Wind & Sky Productions
Wind & Sky Productions is an independent film production company specialising in short documentaries.
Working mainly in digital video, they produce stories for smaller screens, web and digital formats. They are based in Ballarat in regional Victoria. They take on commissions and also produce self-driven projects where they develop story concepts, source funding, and bring together project partners and collaborators. Their remit is to produce stories which promote positive change and social responsibility.
Wind & Sky Production’s work is often distributed online, projected at special events, viewed on plasma screen installations or produced on DVD.
More information about Wind & Sky Productions is available at http://windsky.com.au/
Wind & Sky Productions on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WindSkyProductions/
Wind & Sky Productions on Twitter: @lucinda_windsky
‘Out of the Closets, Into the Streets’
The story of Melbourne’s gay liberation.
Film Running Time: 12:22 minutes
Writer/Producers: Lucinda Horrocks, Kathie Mayer and Jary Nemo
Director: Jary Nemo
Key Cast:Dennis Altman (Voice Only), Barbara Creed, Andrew Hanse, Peter McEwan, Jude Munro & Graham Willett
Web site: http://cv.vic.gov.au/stories/a-diverse-state/out-of-the-closets-into-the-streets/
Commissioned by: Culture Victoria
Funded by: Creative Victoria
In Collaboration with: The Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Production Company: Wind & Sky Productions
Copyright with : Wind & Sky Productions
Screening at: St Kilda Film Festival, Monday 22nd May 2017, 6:15 pm.
Featuring (in order of appearance)
Dennis Altman (Voice Only)
Written and Produced by
Lucinda Horrocks, Kathie Mayer and Jary Nemo
Film Camera, Sound, Editing and Post Production by
Original Super8 Footage Shot and Edited by
Lucinda Horrocks and Kathie Mayer
Nick Henderson and Graham Willett
Archival Photography, Moving Footage and Artwork Courtesy of
Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Original Creators of Archival Materials
Film Music by
Fire through the Sky, Musicalman, courtesy of PremiumBeat
Sax in the City, RimskyMusic, courtesy of PremiumBeat
With Thanks to
Professor Dennis Altman, Dr Marcus Bunyan, Professor Barbara Creed, Manuela Furci, Ponch Hawkes, Peter McEwan, Chris Sanders, Dr Graham Willett, Lotus Ye, the Mayer-Cobb Family, the Melbourne University Student Union, the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive.
Produced in collaboration with
The Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Based on the exhibition ‘Out of the Closets, Into the Streets: Histories of Melbourne Gay Liberation’ curated by Nick Henderson and drawing on the original research of Graham Willett.
This film was created for Culture Victoria with the support of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.
Commissioning Editors for Culture Victoria
Eleanor Whitworth, Tanya Wolkenberg and Dimity Mapstone
Film production and development took place on the traditional lands of the Wadawurrung (Wathaurung), Bun wurrung and Woi wurrung peoples. We would like to acknowledge these traditional owners and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
A Wind & Sky Production
Wind & Sky Productions ©2016
Lucinda Horrocks, Producer, Wind & Sky Productions, firstname.lastname@example.org, (03) 4310 6667.