The piece follows a camgirl who grows increasingly paranoid that she is being watched offline as well as on. Don’t let the cinemagraphic beauty of the film fool you, it is in every way a psychological thriller, and a poignant one at that. Severin reminds us that this day and age of unfettered access has made camgirls out of all of us, we just have yet to meet our audience. Much like reality, safety is a construct, and things aren’t always as they seem....
For a film that approaches some very relevant subject matter in an unconventional manner, we thought the Q&A format should follow suit. Read the director’s discussion with her leading actress below.
Veronika Vilim What inspired you to make a film about a camgirl? Did you personally know anyone who had done it before, and, if so, could you shed some light on their experience?
Sam Severin I considered doing it when I first moved to New York because I thought it would be a fun way to make some extra money, but I wasn’t sure about showing my face. I talked to a couple friends who had done it in the past or were currently doing it at the time, and one girl told me that she’d been stalked and someone had shown up at her apartment. So the idea behind Blue literally came from me trying to figure out if I could cam in an anonymous way. I thought about wearing a mask, a friend even suggested I wear Juggalo makeup! I loved camming as a concept and knew I wanted to make something about it because of the conventions inherent to the act itself, those of female performance and the male gaze. I wanted [Blue] to feel like the character was being consumed in both private and public spaces, and to show how that attention can be both exciting and terrifying. I also wanted to use camming as a means of exploring the modern-day phenomenon of accessibility, how we’re all constantly watching each other mainly through our phone. We’re all performing for an unseen audience, just like the character is. As someone who spends a lot of time being looked at, did you relate to the character? When have you liked and disliked that kind of attention?
VV It was relatable in some ways, but my experience has never been negative like it was for the character. For me, in terms of modeling and being in the spotlight, I always love the attention. I know I’m beautiful and I would look at me if I was walking down the street, I just don’t let it bother me. What was the casting process like? What were you looking for?
SS I chose you because of exactly that--you’re so down and comfortable with yourself and you play the cam part so well. I wanted someone who would be believable and confident in that role. Was it easy for you to play?
VV Yeah, I did find it easy. I have friends that cam all the time. Trying to push my confidence aside was the hardest part. I like being sexual and dressing sexy and posting “sexual” photos on the internet. I also have a band called cumgirl8, a screen name that plays into the idea of exploring sexuality and feeling confident with your sexuality precisely because it’s an all-girl band consisting of four extremely confident women - Lida, Chase, Dex and I. I love having music as an outlet and taking a largely male-dominated realm and making it female-dominated.
SS I was really involved with every part of the process because this is the first thing I’ve ever directed. I also funded it myself so I was really careful about getting it right. Editing, color, score, everything. I wanted it all to be as close to what I envisioned in my head as possible. I loved putting you in a horror setting. Do you see yourself doing more horror? What are your favorite movies and what are some other kinds of roles that you’re interested in playing?
VV I love acting and performing. To me, this to me was the most interesting part, being an actor! The film even made me scared watching it. I love Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction will forever be a favorite. Anything Quentin Tarantino, wow. I love how creepy Daryl Hannah is in the original Blade Runner. I also love a more comedic hardcore vibe, like Natasha Lyonne in But I’m A Cheerleader, or Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums. A dream of mine is to act in a Wes Anderson movie. The Shining is major for me, a Shelly Duval-type character would be so much fun to explore. I also enjoy artistic movies, anything John Waters does. Do you have any plans in the future to make Blue a full-length film, or are you working on another project now? If so, maybe you can give us a hint about anything upcoming?
SS I’ve been writing a ton. I wrote a feature two months ago and just finished writing an episodic series. Both are similar, Charlie Kaufman-ish surrealism mixed with Twilight Zone-style social commentary. I definitely want to do more short films and I would also like to direct music videos. There are so many artists I’d love to work with, especially within the hip hop world. Eventually I want to direct a feature film.
Catch Blue by Sam Severin below.