Filmmaker Ingrid Jungermann talks about ‘Women Who Kill’ and the future of her queer Youtube series
Considering America’s media landscape today, you would think the LGBTQ community is represented pretty well in popular culture.
However, a closer look reveals that while queer characters have become increasingly visible to the mass media in recent years, representations of queer lifestyles remain stuck in cheap stereotypes or one-dimensional characters. Even shows that boast queer protagonists like “Orange is the New Black” and “Transparent” represent queer characters as being defined by their gender or sexuality, and consequently their storylines are limited to focusing on their differences in relation to normative society rather than the many ways that they are the same.
These types of representations can be harmful to the LGBTQ community off-stage because they cast queer people as different than “normal” characters and therefore encourage the differential treatment of non-normative members of society.
But folks like Ingrid Jungermann, who challenges normative representations of queer life in the media, hopes her new show in development with cable network Showtime will be considered revolutionary.
Jungermann is the creator, director, and star of F to 7th and Women Who Kill, two profoundly quintessential portrayals of modern lesbianism in American society. “F to 7th: A Homoneurotic Web Series” follows the character of Ingrid, a lesbian in her 40’s living in New York and struggling to find balance between the womyn-centric culture of second wave feminism and the gender-bending ideology of modern queer studies.
Jungermann created “F to 7th” in 2013, after years of struggling to showcase her work through official channels.
“I made the web series because I was tired of waiting on other people to give me a platform,” said Jungermann in an interview with GayRVA. “And then I found that shorts that I wanted to make, people responded to.”
The first season was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, which raised $14,000 to produce eight four 6 minute long episodes of social commentary. When F to 7th began, it focused on the interactions that Ingrid experiences through her contact with both gay and heterosexual society, where her character is an outsider among the mainstream for her queerness and an outsider in lesbian society because of her heteronormativity.
Season two was funded by the Spike Lee Production Award and addresses Ingrid’s more personal journey in affirming her own gender and sexual identity through her late-in-life exploration of cissexuality.
Though the episodes are brief, each offers insight into Ingrid’s world under the highly entertaining guise of witty humor and epigrammatic dialogue. Season two in particular is full of relatable and hilarious quotes like “Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I don’t have a constant flowing stream of judgmental thought” and “It’s a Hollywood movie, I’m sure she’ll rape him back”.
This is what really sets F to 7th apart from normative representations of queer life, it’s frank and open discussion of gender and sexuality that comments on queerness and finds humor in it honestly. Jungermann draws from her own life for inspiration, and uses her art to present herself and her unique voice to the world.
“It’s really my way of connecting with people, because in life sometimes I’m not able to allow myself to connect. But I’m safer in my work,” she said. “That said, it’s not safe at all because you’re basically opening up to a bunch of strangers.”
The amount of strangers that have been exposed to Jungermann’s honest representation of herself expanded dramatically in April when she won the Tribeca Film Festival’s award for Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film, for her dark romantic comedy; Women Who Kill.
The movie’s story follows two ex-partners and true-crimes fanatics, Morgan and Jean, who host a podcast about female serial killers.
Jungermann plays the character of Morgan, who meets a love interest named Simone (Sheila Vand) and becomes infatuated with her, until she and Jean begin to suspect that Simone is herself a murderess. Jungermann plays with this pattern that she observes in herself and others relationships; self-sabotaging your own happiness to protect your already injured heart, through her portrayal of Morgan.
“I wanted to take the idea of Hollywood romantic comedy and sort of twist it up into something that was more representative of my own experience,” said Jungermann, who also adds a spin on the cookie-cutter rom-com formula by casting all the characters as queer.
“But they don’t talk about it because it’s not an issue… it’s just their life,” added Jungerman. This, she said, is how her film challenges popular notions of what love is supposed to look like. By not making their sexuality the focus of the film, Jungermann portrays a rarely seen dimensional queer character, whose experiences are not solely defined by her sexuality. Jungermann shares many attributes with her main character, including a fascination with true-crime stories.
Growing up the youngest of three children to a single mom, Jungermann remembers going to the video store and picking out movies as a family. Along with horror flicks, the Jungermann household bonded over true-crime stories and episodes of Without a Trace, following a theme that would eventually inspire Ingrid to write Women Who Kill.
“I’m always watching dark comedies or horror because they remind me that the darkness I feel… that I’m not alone in it,” she said.
According to Indie Wire, the movie offers ”eerie noir tropes and pitch-black inner city humor” which grabs the attention of its audience and is designed to stay with them long after they leave the theatre.
It’s a story of love and trust, and it begs the question: can you ever really know someone? Can anyone ever really know YOU?
Women Who Kill is currently looking for a buyer to sponsor the release of the film to a broader audience. Season three of “F to 7th” is in the developmental stages of being adapted for television by Showtime. To watch the first two seasons for free, visit Ingrid Jungermann’s Youtube page here.
On Tuesday, YouTube launched a new video as part of its new #ProudtToBe campaign to honor Pride month and LGBTQ voices. Compromised of over 20 videos with members of the LGBTQ community celebrating their diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities and sharing their stories and their stuggles. A montage of clips follows including pride [...]June 23, 2016
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