Interview: Sophie Hyde award winning director of '52 Tuesdays'

Reporter Holly Ilbury interviews Sophie Hyde, Director of 52 Tuesdays, who won the Best Director Award at both Sundance and Berlin film festivals. The film has had a theatrical release during August 2015 in the UK, and will be released on DVD later this year by Peccadillo Films.

Ultimate Planet showed 52 Tuesdays at LFest this year to a full house and the feedback was amazing.

Sophie: Wow, that’s great!

We also held a panel on LBQ Visibility in the Media, and one of the issues that came up was the financial difficulty in creating media content for LGBT audiences. The opinion seemed to be that lot of this content has to be geared towards the wider, heterosexual audience in order to make money. What are your thoughts on that?

Sophie: It’s a really tough one because, you know you want to make films that are diverse characters, diverse storylines, about people that you know; and yet you’re right, generally LGBT films don’t do as well financially. It’s not always the case of course and everyone can point to the famous cases that are super successful, but in general it’s sort of weirdly like the ‘woman’ thing. You know, women will go and see films about men, but men won’t go to see films about women. So it’s like, will a straight audience go and see LGBT films? Sometimes, but not necessarily. And sometimes the problem is that they market it to try and get it a bit more mainstream and you then lose the LGBT audience; then you’re in trouble, really in trouble. So I think it is really hard to get finance for it. What I find weird about it is a film like 52 Tuesdays has all sorts of characters with all sorts of orientations and identities, but if one character is trans it’s suddenly a trans film. And if one character is gay it’s suddenly a gay film. It is a necessary label, but also very difficult.

Sophie HydeDid you have a particular demographic in mind?

Sophie: I didn’t really. I thought a lot about the different kinds of people, but that was more like little pockets of people all over the world. It seems to play really well to young audiences and to queer audiences. But also, this week we’ve gone on tour with it, and some of the most incredible responses have come from the people that had no idea what the film was or what they were coming to see. They seemed like fairly straight audiences and they just loved it, and it’s a shame that those kinds of people won’t necessarily get to see the film.

So what has the reception been like during this week’s tour, here in the UK?

Sophie: It’s been excellent. I’ve done some Q&As in London, then I went up to Glasgow and Manchester, Liverpool, yesterday we did Cambridge. Today we did two in London and then we go to Brighton and Cardiff.

It’s been so amazing, and we’ve had really different questions at each Q&A, and really different feeling. I’ve found that people really want to tell us very personal stories, or things that they think the film’s about; and it varies a lot.

A unique aspect of the filming process was that, true to the story, you only filmed on Tuesdays over the course of a year. How did you come up with the concept of that shooting schedule?

Sophie: The concept came from Matt, who is the co-writer. He came up with this idea of making a film where two people meet every Tuesday and we film on Tuesdays, only on Tuesdays, for a year. And so the characters in the story came later. So the film completely hinged on it and it had to all fit together for us to be able to want to make it. So yeah, it was a very unusual way to make a film, but also really interesting.

Is it something you would consider doing again, in a similar way?

Sophie: I wouldn’t do it again, no [laughs] but I definitely want to find some ways to challenge the idea that we make films in the same way, all the time. I think it’s interesting to essentially see the outcome of what we did.

The thing is that for us making it and what we went through was so hard to capture, in a sense, so hard to film, and it never would have been like that if we hadn’t made the film in this way.

Is there anything you missed, or wish you could go back and change?

Sophie: Millions of things, and yet nothing really.  It was always a grand experiment and a big part of it was sticking to our rules and the outcome comes from us being as creative as we possibly could inside those rules.

And lastly, you mentioned trying to challenge the idea of always making films in the same way, is there something coming up that is a bit different for you, or that you’re excited about?

Sophie: I’m writing a film at the moment but I just produced a film called Sam Klemke’s Time Machine which is a feature documentary and will hopefully come out later this year. This guy filmed his life from 1977 until now and it’s a beautiful film.