Interview | First Time Filmmakers On Again Again, Their Queer Time Loop Movie
With the growing call for more stories about transgender people and trans representation, a new film currently finding funding on Indiegogo (in its final week) hopes to change the focus. Transfemme filmmakers Mia Moore Marchant and Alexa Feeney are currently in pre-production on their debut feature Again Again, which is a time loop story in the tradition of such films as Groundhog Day, 12.01 and Rustler’s Rhapsody.
As its Indiegogo synopsis indicates, ‘AGAIN AGAIN is the story of Agatha, a woman who spent 10 years in a time loop reliving the same day over and over and over again, before suddenly breaking free of it. Our story follows Agatha as she re-acclimates to the real world and faces the terrifying prospect of an unknown future. Living alongside Agatha was Tess, her childhood best friend and the love of her life, who reset every day along with the rest of the world. But what will happen now that Agatha is free? Is this happily ever after or will she self-destruct in a mad dash for emancipation?’.
Inspired by Mia’s thoughts that what would happen at the end of Groundhog Day was more fascinating than the actual film, she states, “I want to fill in the cracks of sci fi/horror genre stories where trans and queer people have been completely absent.” To create films through the trans gaze? “Exactly,” Alexa replies, “and that’s what excited me so much about the script when Mia first mentioned it to me.”
The two are determined to avoid such cliches of the ‘cis gaze’ towards trans characters. There will be no ‘tragic unwigging’, or the story of a trans woman being an ‘origin story’. “Very pointedly the handful of trans characters we meet in Again Again are very Into Their Transitions.” explains Alexa. “I don’t think any matter of anything medical comes up in the film at all, save for a monologue near the end but that’s not even from our lead. Something that I think is really cool about Again Again is that it’s a deeply queer cast of characters, but we’re not really dealing with most trans issues that films tend to cover.” Mia adds, “I like to write stories that are tragic because people are fallible and not necessarily tragic because being trans is a living nightmare.
Alexa notes, “Aggie’s life is falling apart around her because she’s a burned out fuckup, not because she’s trans.”
Mia responds, “Yeah, she’s like several years into her transition plus 10 years spent in the loop. She’s a whole ass woman and doesn’t deal with a lot of early stage transition problems.” When it comes to the SF elements, Mia highlights that “we want to get less hung up on the specifics of time travel and more on the feelings the situation creates for our characters. I know exactly how it all works, but I don’t want to bog down our story with a mountain of exposition.”
Mia considers herself a screenwriter who aims to break ground. “I’m writing stories I think could have and SHOULD HAVE been made 30 years ago. Again Again is the kind of movie that could have been made in 1995 and it would have fit right into the 90s indie cinema scene. We deserve that kind of story.” Alexa adds that “this is gonna be a deeply queer film made by a few deeply queer folks.”
The two creatives have been thinking strongly about their visuals. Having already recruited cinematographer Laffrey Wittbrod, whose work includes some of Bruce Willis’ last paycheck pictures, the film is written to be set and shot during summer in Mia’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington. Alexa and Mia have strong ideas for costume designs. “Costuming is gonna be fun – since it’s a loop, no one really has an extensive wardrobe,” according to Alexa. “(Aggie)’s like very much a lesbian’s lesbian, having just come from an important event prior to getting looped. Fancy slacks, a loose button down shirt.” “It’s fun to create a dyke-otomy between Aggie’s kinda soft butch ‘who cares’ aesthetic and Tessa’s peachy keen sunshine bright colors.” Mia enthuses. Alexa adds that “Tessa’s wardrobe is bubbly as fuck”.
As for the soundtrack, despite most modern SF films going for a retraux electronica vibe for soundtracks, this film will go for something slightly different. “So I mean one of the obvious pulls would be to lean into the grunge sound.” Alexa muses. Especially obvious, since the location of Aberdeen, Washington is the hometown of Kurt Cobain. “And I think given that the film is grounded, even being sci-fi, a lot of the score is gonna be guitar-based.” Mia nods. “Definitely alt rock, because we’re in the birthplace of the grunge movement! But also some moody sappy lesbian slow jams because I love that stuff, like a mix of folk fingerpicking and distorted stuff.”
The duo have also written roles for themselves. Mia lays it all down: “We will 100% be casting ourselves. Not as the lead, but we had a very funny idea at one point that we’d be playing two women in the movie that both have our deadnames.”Alexa is planning to do “some macho dude bro voice over work for a commercial we hear at one point.” Mia explains, “we’re definitely performers at heart and we have to cast ourselves because who else will write badass funny roles for us?” “In a perfect world,” Alexa reveals, “I’d love to see a whole spat of Again Again clones, like folks not only digging into the trans elements but also how it’s gonna play on time loops. I really hope we inspire folks to make trans stuff, like deeply weird, deeply personal, deeply trans art.”
And this is not all. Mia has written two other scripts – When I Tell You, initially spawned from a twitter gag when she theorised that various magic pixie dream girl characters are actually trans girls going back to proverbially crack their male self’s egg, and Dysphorium – which promises to be a transgender spin on Cronenbergian body horror, but from a trans POV. In fact, it was the latter script that brought the two together.
With more and more indie films coming out with trans characters such as Brad Michael Elmore’s Bit (a vampire movie starring Nicole Maines as a trans vampire teen) and Australian trans teen filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay already having made three features before her 19th birthday, the duo see this as the start of a new wave. Alexa thinks “it’s gonna be part of a wave of trans indie cinema for sure”. And Mia adds, “A friend of mine is working on a really wild looking project about trans lesbians who kill billionaires.” Alexa completes her partner’s sentence. “So it’ll be funny to be in conversation with that.”
“I waited so long for someone else to pave the way so I could follow in their footsteps,” Mia explains, “and at some point someone told me I had to start it because no one else would. I hope we inspire people.” Alexa adds that, “Something we want to hit on here is that these types of genre films can just happen to queer people and why not make movies like that?”.
Again Again is currently in pre-production. You can help Mia Moore Marchant and Alexa Feeney reach their project goal on Indiegogo.