Girl Gang Trilogy
Katrina del Mar’s thrilling lesbian shorts hit town.
“I’m going to cut your clit off, then I’m going to feed it to my dog because he’s on a strict diet of kibbles and clit,” says one gang member in indie New York filmmaker Katrina del Mar’s Girl Gang Trilogy. If juicy one-liners like that sound harsh, then you’d best stick with whatever is opening this week at Webster Place. But if you dig street-tough lesbians and high camp, we’ve got a treat for you.
In advance of the Saturday 27 screening of “Gang Girls 2000,” “Surf Gang” and “Hell on Wheels” (2000, 2005, 2010 respectively) at Nightingale, we spoke with indie photographer, director and feminist del Mar (who will appear in person) about her hilariously thrilling indie trilogy.
What sparked the first film?
I was doing all these photo shoots, portrait series, really, with a bit of story going on in them. During the planning of one shoot with a friend…the idea got way too elaborate for just one image or even a series of images. We decided we should really just make a film. Also, Julie Tolentino had invited me to do an installation of my work at her club during Leather Pride Week, so I told her, “Oh, I’ll make a movie.”
The women in Girl Gang Trilogy are totally badass. Why the interest in these women?
Well, these badass women are my friends. I relate to them because I’m a badass. Most of us have slightly wild stories in our backgrounds, artistic streaks, wild proclivities, street smarts and a sense of style.
How do you feel about the comparisons to cult filmmakers?
My friends and I all came of age watching John Waters’s and Russ Meyer’s films; we found them hilarious, mind-bending and completely liberating. So I like the comparison. I hadn’t seen any of Kenneth Anger’s films before I made mine; I’d been fascinated just to read the titles and imagine what they must be like. When I finally saw “Scorpio Rising,” I totally got the comparison, because of this fascination and fetishization of the objects associated with this sexy subculture, in his case hot biker boys and in my case, hot gang girls.
What was it like filming on location in New York?
These films are seriously low budget. The latest one was made while I was on unemployment. It’s all labor of love, pulling favors and hoping for the best, so filming on location is strictly on a no-permit, guerilla basis. We roll up and do it. Sometimes I say other words than “action” so nobody will think we are shooting a movie and come hassle us. One time we totally rode through a Law & Order shoot. I had no idea.
Was the presentation of queer family important to you?
Yes, like a lot of queer kids do, I had this experience of finding family once I made it to NYC. I think a lot of us had the lonely experience of being “the only gay in the village,” so to find others like us is exciting. I went to those drag balls in Harlem when I was a teenager right around the time Jennie Livingston was making [Paris Is Burning] ’cause I knew some of those kids and I was so struck by this idea of people looking out for each other. In my films these girls make gangs for similar reasons; they need a family, they need the group. They are creating a new more powerful body out of many people, and it’s a body that can reach further and do more.
The Girl Gang Trilogy is filled with strong women. Do you think we see enough fierce women portrayed in the movies?
I don’t think it’ll ever be enough to turn the tide. We live in a patriarchy, dude.
Girl Gang Trilogy screens Saturday 27 at Nightingale.