The tenth installment of one of cinema’s most celebrated short film series Boys on Film X is set to be an explosive cinematic exploration of LGBT themes and lifestyles.
Leading up the last months anticipated release, we at Renowned For Sound spoke with some of the directors involved in the release to discuss their films.
In today’s interview we chat to William Feroldi, director of Inflatable Swamp
Florence Hinton-Collyer: How would you pitch your short?
William Feroldi: With a surreal touch and some visual metaphors, the film tells the story of Matt, a young gay man who navigates the lonely intersection of soulless sex and human closeness. In the middle of one of his countless sexual encounters, he sees another man as a human being, and this startling epiphany forces him to find a way to reconcile pleasures of the flesh with the newly aroused imperatives of the heart.
WF: The ending is obviously open to interpretation but I would hope the audience would reflect and ask themselves: “What would it take to break the heartless patterns in my life?” In this story, a disability brings a new dimension to a character; a viewpoint and a new attitude towards others. Sometimes it takes a jolt to cause self-awareness, for people to begin again their process of growth.
FHC: Why did you choose to depict this particular narrative?
WF: I think that we are all born into this world helpless, love-starved creatures. But I also think that there is something about growing up gay that forces people to learn to hide ugly realities behind a finely crafted façade. Beneath our surface lies a secret that covertly corrodes our lives. It is about the struggle of growing up gay in a world that does not accept us, and the ongoing struggle as adult gays to create lives that are happy, fulfilling, and finally free of shame. Somewhere along the way, we picked up the idea that a happy gay man is one who has lots of sex. This “ideal” of gay men is featured in entertainment or advertising as a handsome, muscle men who seem to have it all – stylish, good looks, and a body to die for – just like Matt in my film. But is this enough? The gay man, like anyone else, needs to love and to know that there is somebody in this world who truly loves him. Having lots of sex might sound fantastic, but it could easily become a compulsion to cover up emotional wounds. I saw this trend in my community and I have experienced it myself. I felt that it would be good challenge to bring these realities to the big screen.
FHC: How does Inflatable Swamp challenge boundaries?
WF: In filmmaking terms, I do not think it challenges boundaries at all. In fact I think that it falls into the cliché of today’s gay cinema: have a gorgeous guy who gets laid while undergoing an introspective dilemma. However, the explicit sexual content in the film might be considered indecent and excessive to some viewers. To me, those choices were made to exhibit a frank representation of one side of promiscuous sex, which seems to be a taboo subject. To me sex isn’t just a liberating act, but it can become a revealing act as well. Random sex can be civil and easily offended people should most certainly have more sex; they are the one who should challenge their boundaries.
FHC: Do you think it’s important for the heart and head to work mutually?
WF: I think we are all engaged in the pursuit of pleasure, be it intellectual, cultural, or physical. Sexual desire is a form of pleasure and we want to repeat the experience –because it is pleasurable. The more we repeat it, the more mechanical it becomes, and the act becomes stored in the mind, in our head, with other mechanical and repetitive acts that we do. Our mind becomes conditioned to say: “I must have it again tomorrow”. The continuity of an experience that has given delight for a second is sustained by thought, which in itself isn’t a problem. It is the struggle to repeat and perpetuate pleasure, which turns it into pain. Too often, we become jaded.
But when we respond to something totally with the heart, there is very little memory. It is the joy of finding and experiencing something new, and not repetitive, that gives us bliss. So I actually think that whenever the head is involved, there is going to be suffering. Whenever there is a search for pleasure, which is inevitably done with our head, there is going to be a torment. Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty with our hearts open, which becomes the greatest delight, without actively seeking pleasure from it.
FHC: What’s next for William Feroldi?
WF: To me the need to identify is the need for rootedness, connectedness, and belonging: I will continue highlighting the lives of the LGBT community, my group, and my people. I fell that I would like to make more shorts before making a feature.