Rebel Dykes producer, Siobhan Fahey, talks to Miranda Fleming at Bohemia Euphoria about her journey with Rebel Dykes which has swept awards across Europe and is nominated for a prestigious BIFA award – Siobhan talks about the conception of Rebel Dykes and the road which led to the BFI Southbank premiere on Friday 26th November.

Rebel Dykes is Siobhan’s first feature film as a producer. She lives and works in Glasgow. Siobhan has a slate of award winning short films with Christopher McGill and their company Riot Productions.

Miranda: Hi Siohan, thanks for taking the time to talk with us – this must be a busy week for you ahead of Rebel Dykes’ UK Premiere at BFI Southbank.

What is the plan for Friday’s UK premiere of Rebel Dykes at BFI Southbank and other special events around the film in the UK?

Siobhan: We are dizzy with it all! There is just so much happening. After 6 or 7 years of working on the film, it is finally being released in cinemas across the UK and online Bohemia Euphoria (and BFI Player) on Friday November 26th.

We have a whole tour of the UK planned over the next few weeks – it feels like being in a band or something.

All of us in the Rebel Dykes team are very excited for Friday. I won’t be at the premiere in London at BFI Southbank but Harri and Sian will be. There is a panel afterwards, where they will be joined by Fisch and Jo from the film. Then there is a free party with performances by The Cocoa Butter Club – I’m sure it will be a riotous evening! At the same time, Melanie Iredale, an Executive Producer of our film, as the CEO of Birds Eye View, is sharing the film as part of the Reclaim The Frame tour in Nottingham, where I hear it has almost sold out.

Then the whole team is meeting up in Manchester at HOME. The two directors live in Manchester, and it is where I met them when I was living there. Manchester is such a queer, dyke, feminist home to the film, this is a screening we are all looking forward to.

Then on Sunday, racing back to Glasgow where I live, to screen REBEL DYKES followed by a panel of cutting edge dyke queer curators from Glasgow, Lydia Honeybone from GAMIS and Martha Adonai Williams from Glasgow Zine Library.

After that, Birds Eye View’s Reclaim The Frame are running events across the UK, in Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The film is being screened at about 30 cinemas across Scotland, England, Wales and NI including in Belfast and Cardiff. Some of these are having events too! It is beyond our wildest dreams.

Just as much as the live appearances, I am looking forward to the exclusive online screening that Bohemia Euphoria are doing on Monday 29th November. This is especially for all the people who wish they were coming to one of our events, but can’t because there is no cinema near them screening it, or perhaps they have a disability and it’s hard to travel, or maybe they have kids and no babysitter. We don’t want to leave anyone out! Everyone is invited to Rebel Dykes.

I love that Bohemia has booked Sarah Keyworth to host it, a favourite comedian of ours. We are planning on having a school night naughty party with everyone. It’s going to be a right laugh! It’s not going to be recorded, it’s off the record, and this will be a real one off occasion.

Miranda: What was the high point of making the film?

Siobhan: For me the high point was shooting the interviews which we did in 2016. We travelled to London, Manchester and Wales. We set up interview studios in people’s flats or in AirBnB’s or on women’s land. Everyday we had two or three long interviews. It took us about three or four trips, and there was some real magic. We used a green screen from Argos, a very cheap lighting rig and a borrowed camera, so the quality wasn’t brilliant, but the interviews were incredible.

Miranda: What has been a high point since the film was finished?

Siobhan: May I be honest Miranda? One of the highlights was when Bohemia Media said they would come on board as a distributor. Our film is very precious to us, and it is so important that the brave dykes who gave us interviews were respected, and that the film was distributed in an ethical way, and we knew we would have that by working with your company. The only thing that beat that was when BFI came on board too!

Miranda: Tell us about the film festivals your film has shown at.

Siobhan: We have been to Outburst Festival in Belfast, Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff and the Porn Film Festival in Berlin. They were all amazing, everyone has been so warm and friendly, and the response from the audience has been so moving. Young queers and dykes in particular seem to respond to the film. We won some prizes too! Best Documentary at Porn Film Festival Berlin and Iris Prize, both prestigious in different ways.

Our film has also been shown at over 50 festivals across the globe, including Frameline, Outfest, NewFest and in St Petersburg (still on there), Hong Kong and Kashish in India. We have loved virtually attending many of these by doing Zoom panels and interviews. It has been a ride!

Miranda: What advice would you give to young filmmakers?

Siobhan: What you have got, money wise, equipment wise, crew wise, is what you have got! Make the most of it. Take classes, and learn from the internet. Take advice. Ask for mentorship. Just make it happen!

Make it up as you go along! And when you have finished, get it out into the world! Get it into festivals, get it onto the internet, get as many people as possible to see it because you have something to say that people want to hear!

Miranda: What advice would you give isolated young queers and dykes?
Siobhan: The best way to meet other queers and dykes is to get involved. With activism, fight for what is right. With art and culture, join a band, put on a club night, make art with friends. Just get out there, don’t wait to be invited.

You need queer mates as much as lovers. Never worry about being popular or cool, be weird and be yourself, that is the coolest thing anyone can be!

Thank you Siobhan, you rock…. and good luck with your release on Friday!

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