Scottish creator Eilidh Gow has released a new short film, titled Stum (Tongue-Tied).
Eilidh released the film – which is about two boys who fall in love in Norway – to mark Valentine’s Day.
Speaking to TenEighty, Eilidh reveals that she wanted to keep the love story upbeat. “Our main intention was just to make a queer short that wasn’t incredibly depressing,” she says. “There are a lot of shorts out there showing the harsh realities of being queer, but we wanted to show some of the upsides and make something simple for Valentine’s Day that was sweet, happy, and innocent.”
The story follows 17-year-old Sondre (played by Tom Dart) and boyfriend Elias (Lars Gellein), and how their romance evolves while dealing with underlying issues including fear of abandonment and day-to-day teenage life.
Eilidh was first inspired to create the story after attending an LGBTQ+ film festival that left her dissatisfied.
“I’d recently been to a queer film festival screening in which 100% of the shorts screened ended badly for their queer protagonists, and I left it feeling sad and frustrated,” she elaborates. “I hated the idea of closeted kids seeing only these examples, and since I was now out of the closet myself, I figured it was about time I made an LGBT film myself. The idea that the film wouldn’t end up with anyone dead or beaten was really important to me during writing.”
Eilidh worked on the film with fellow YouTuber David Bonecker, who helped provide inspiration for both Sondre’s character and the film’s plot. “For David, the lead character Sondre came from a very personal inspiration – a direct correlation to his experiences as a young gay man who was abandoned by his father, which then gave him irrational fears of being left by another loved one,” Eilidh adds.
With the help of David, who was working in Norway at the time, Eilidh set the short in the town of Stavanger – and she admits that while the location was idyllic on camera, production was trickier than anticipated…
“Norway, I guess, to me was appealing as a challenge, since I’d only ever made films in the UK before,” she says. “Making a film in an environment where you have no contacts or experience is a whole different kettle of fish. For me there was a language barrier in terms of publicising the auditions and finding the right places to share them, so I was lucky to have David on board to handle that side of things as he spoke basic Norwegian. It was also a film community that I had literally no connections at all in, so that made getting crew tricky, and in the end it was very minimal with only me, David, and a runner. That limited us to an extent.”
Eilidh & I have made a Film set in Norway with Norwegian/English actors and actresses, rounded up by a Scottish/Austrian production team 🙌🏼
Here’s the trailer now!
Give it a look ❤️ https://t.co/6RZjOMWNrO
— David Bonecker (@davidbonecker) January 31, 2018
Filming eventually commenced in early 2017, and after returning to the UK, Eilidh got to work on completing the film – which again came with its own issues as the pair worked together from their two respective countries. “Post-production did end up taking longer than expected,” admits Eilidh. “We’d underestimated the effect [that] trying to edit whilst living in two different countries would have on the process. We haven’t actually seen each other in person since we shot it a year ago!”
However, as the final product is released online today, the filmmaker is ultimately pleased with the result: “It all worked out in the end, and I’m so, so proud of how it’s turned out.”