London: Since 1988, the first day of December has been dedicated to commemorating those lost to AIDS-related illness and show support for those who are still living with or affected by the disease worldwide. This December 1, join Lesflicks in remembering those who suffered at the height of the pandemic’s terror, as well as those who chose to step in and support victims of the disease when nobody else would.
To ensure all generations know about this crisis, and the efforts of lesbian women supporting fellow LGBTQ+ members, Lesflicks is releasing a fictional film that covers this important period in history.
Set in 1987, Odd Girls follows the story of a young separatist lesbian, Debbie (Sarah J. Lewis), who finds herself unexpectedly caring for her neighbour, David (Elliot Cable), a gay man dying of AIDS whose family has long since turned their back on him. Debbie struggles with the onslaught of ignorance and discrimination facing David as he battles the disease, and is forced to re-evaluate her radical views of lesbian feminism as she finds herself becoming David’s last ally in a world void of empathy towards AIDS sufferers. Inspired by countless true stories, Odd Girls offers the audience a snapshot of this terrifying era, shedding a light on the selflessness and bravery of the real women who campaigned for gay men with AIDS all over the worldwide during the height of the HIV crisis.
Nostalgic in its aesthetic yet haunting in its subject matter, Odd Girls offers viewers a direct glance at the impact of the fear-mongering which occurred during the AIDS crisis. This short drama shows the injustice of the forgotten men and women who were forced to suffer alone or who were often reduced to nothing more than a political excuse for the discrimination of the LGBT community.
Odd Girls also interestingly explores the very real political and ideological divides within the LGBT community during this era, as Debbie’s character delves into radical branches of lesbian political groups which chose to reject the vulnerable members of the community for their own beliefs. All in all, this short film will make you think about how far we’ve come since this era of fear and ignorance, as well as contemplate the very real progress which still needs to happen in our current societies, making Odd Girls a very necessary watch on World AIDS Day this year.
Director Ellie Jo Hilton said: “The height of the AIDS crisis was a truly cataclysmic, and formative period of time for the LGBT community. Odd Girls aims to tackle the epidemic from a new perspective; a lesbian’s perspective. Our protagonist Debbie, though fictional, is representative of a myriad of different women. These are women that made sacrifices in all aspects of life, and adapted their ways to fight a disease as best they could. Throughout the film, Debbie struggles to balance her personal and political worlds, whilst trying to care for David, who is dying from AIDS. With a habit of being unreliable and irresponsible, the real essence of the story is whether or not Debbie has the strength, and the self-confidence, to do what needs to be done in order to make a change in her community. The script itself was adapted and changed in many ways since the initial concept stage, but through all of the research I have undertaken, one thing has become clear; these women changed our history, and their stories have gone largely undocumented and unappreciated. My aim with the film is to showcase a piece of work that not only informs the audience about the past, but that also resonates with them and opens people’s minds to a new perspective.”
Lesflicks founder Naomi Bennett said: “Our queer history isn’t taught in schools, and it is hard to find online. Film has the power to educate whilst providing entertainment. It can be a window into the past. Whilst it is often fictional, and so may not be 100% accurate, it can spark interest and awareness that can lead to an individual seeking out more information so it is certainly a powerful tool for sharing these themes that are an important part of our history.
Ellie Jo Hilton is an independent writer, director, and cinematographer from the South West of England. Her work has received international critical appraisal and Odd Girls was even featured at several prestigious LGBT festivals around the world after its release. Hilton has also worked with independent production companies, Vast Productions and Fordmill Productions, where she produced two short films, CRUSH and Gloria. She also has experience working as a Director of Photography for an award-winning web series, Away From It All. Whilst she is only young, Hilton has already achieved a lot in her career in film and is definitely one to watch out for for future films and projects.