This funding will allow the film to be made to the highest standard, so that it will be of good enough quality to enter International Film Festivals
REBEL DYKES - the only documentary about a bunch of kickass punk lesbians from London, UK in the 1980s.
"Life in the 1980s? Well... it was exciting, it was scary, it was fun, it was poor, it was a great time and a terrible time to be young and queer in London." Debbie Smith (original Rebel Dyke and guitarist in Curve, Echobelly and Snowpony).
"Hello! I’m Siobhan, the producer and researcher of the film REBEL DYKES. The story of the Rebel Dykes is one I curdled to read about, or see on screen, because back in the 1980s, I was a Rebel Dyke."
Before there were today’s queer activists, before there were the Riot Grrls of the 1990’s, there were the Rebel Dykes of London. Young, feminist, anarchist sex friendly punks, who did not just talk about politics they lived them, many meeting by the muddy protest gates along the nine miles of US Missile Base Greenham Common, world renown women only nuclear protest camp. Then living together in squats in Peckham, Brixton and Hackney. Apart from screaming our bloody heads off at political demonstrations every Saturday, they set up squatted creches and bookshops, feminist newspapers and magazines. They had bands like Poison Girls, Mouth Almighty, The Darlings and The Gymslips. They ran Lesbian sex clubs as well women’s nights on almost every night of the week in London culminating in Saturday nights at the legendary ‘Bell’. They were non conformist in almost every way from the simple trans friendly genderfluid to working in the sex industry, or in manual trades, or between the cracks. Looking like dykes we had no choice but to live our politics 24/7. There were many who tried to put us down, they lost. We were outlaw women, and nothing has been quite the same since.
So this is how I got to be producing my first film and why I am standing here, asking you to help me together with the rest of the small filmmaking team realise our dream. In Autumn 2015 I started this journey, wanting to do something at the LGBT History Festival being held in Manchester in Spring 2016. Sitting in the pub with a friend we discussed how the story of the Rebel Dykes seems to have been forgotten, those young, activist, sex positive women who lived such a wild free life in the 1980s. I decided that I wanted to tell these tales, of these post-punk outlaw women making music, art and freedom a decade before the Riot Grrls. Now more than ever we need to know about how these inspiring and rule-breaking women and how they survived the worst of the last onslaught of the Tories to continue being friends to this very day.
My first step was to collect old photographs and oral history. I arranged to come to London one afternoon to interview a few old friends. They came in droves, brought bags of photos, dusty videos and their memories of those days, I got so much stuff, I realised I would have to contact some archivists. After getting touch with The Lesbian Archive, at Glasgow Women’s Library, and The Metropolitan Archive, LGBT section who were fascinated by the collection these pieces were saved for posterity.
I created a presentation, and it exploded! From the LGBT History Conference I went to Lesbian Lives conference, and then to a bar theatre in Brighton, each time the venues got sold out until the size of the venue had to get significantly bigger.
Back in Manchester, my good friends and artists Harri Shanahan and Sian Williams had by now heard of this project. They were burning to find out more, and once they did, they wanted nothing more than to take these stories and to weave a documentary film, a dream film, their first film, a new queer classic, telling the story of those outlaw dykes from long ago. Both are extremely talented early career film-makers, and they together have taken on becoming Directors of the documentary. Each bringing specific talents they have brought to the film. Harri as animator, and Sian as film archivist.
We have since been joined by: Whitney Bluzma, our director of Sound Production, a bass player in a number of DIY, female and queer bands. On this film she has recorded sound, managed the post-production sound processes and recorded Foley sounds; Ellyot Eva Ben-Ezzer, our Composer and Music Supervisor. She has found working on the music for this film fascinating, as came to London from Israel in 1987 and some of Rebel Dykes became her queer family. In Israel she is an well known musician and the most successful female DJ. Prior to her present career in Israel, she made albums with Pollyanna Frank in Israel and Sister George (an influential queercore band) and Night Nurse in the UK. She has also composed for TV and Film; and Hannah McLennan Jones (aka HMJ), our Title Designer and Social Marketing consultant. She is an illustrator, graphic designer and photographer who has worked with the Kate Nash and the Manchester drag scene.
Since then, BOOM! our project has taken a life of its own. We have collected stories, archive material, interviewed people, had sleepless nights, had stolen equipment, lost jobs, lost lovers, and got drunk. We have made the film so far on no money but a huge amount of love. We aim to have a cinema quality film that will one day become a new Queer/Lesbian/music classic film that we want the world to see!
This documentary film is being made because the history of the London Rebel Dykes of the 1980s is in danger of being forgotten. Rebel dykes created their own world, made their own rules, and refused to be ignored. So we can't let history tidy them away.
It's a journey, it’s not over yet, but I promise, this is already very special. Join us, help us finish.
It’s not too late to be a Rebel Dyke!
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