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Hi, Adolescent readers! This week, we want to introduce you to Sophie May—a Brussels-based filmmaker from the UK and our newest Adolescent member crush. She’s directed multiple short films, is represented by Adolescent, and often focuses on themes of sexuality and stereotypes in her work. Read below to learn more about Sophie’s brief encounter with nude modeling, her film about virginity, and the Brussels photo scene.
Adolescent Content: I love Thoughts of a Life Model—it’s so beautiful. What was the filming process like for you?
Sophie May: Thoughts of a Life Model was a very impulsive film that went from being an idea to a finished film in the space of three weeks over one Christmas vacation. So as you can probably imagine, the logistics were very last-minute—I gathered all my childhood friends and their siblings, dressed them in my most bizarre clothing, and flung them into my mom’s art gallery with orders to “just draw and take it seriously.”
Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t find anyone who was willing to be a nude model so I ended up having to do it myself while directing—which was a strange experience, to say the least. So from the sofa I advised Ces, who was behind the camera, [on] what she should be shooting and how. My mom also had to act as the tutor, so it was very much a family affair.
I edited [the film pretty] quickly. The voice-over was added at the last minute, which I think surprises most people because it’s essentially the core of the film. But I just sat and watched [the film]... as I spoke into the recorder. So I guess that’s what made it feel so honest and natural, because it was in many ways quite an autobiographical experience.
Adolescent: What’s the photo scene in Brussels like?
Sophie: It’s surprisingly huge. There are around six film schools in the city, and I’d say the majority of people I meet out and about are actually filmmakers [in one way] or another. It’s very culturally diverse, too—the city is an organizational mess, and everything just has its own way of working which makes it such an inspiring place to work. Yeah, I love Brussels.
Adolescent: How has being represented by Adolescent influenced the style and trajectory of your work?
Sophie: It’s kept me on track. I make films for young people [while having a constant reminder] that my audience exists and that as a group, they want more innovative content that tells their stories. I suppose style-wise it has made me more attuned to the requirements of commercial work, but that’s something I’m still trying to work on and figure out.
Adolescent: I feel like there really aren’t many videos out there exploring virginity’s extension into adulthood. Why did you decide to make It?
Sophie: In my second year of college I was still a virgin, and I knew that many of my friends were virgins too—and like me, they weren’t bothered by it. So, with my small film crew, we sought out all the virgins we could find and attempted to show a new side to virginity.
In making this film, we [wanted] to give other people confidence in their virginity. It’s really nothing to be ashamed of! I actually I feel like I’m not finished with this topic, so I hope to make something like it over the next year.
Adolescent: What’s next for you?
Sophie: My next film will be about periods, and I’m really excited about it. I can’t give too much away, but again it will be quite autobiographical and this time I plan to shoot on film. Hopefully it will turn out as well as it looks in my imagination!