(feature film screenplay, dir. Kimmo Moykky & Kathleen Bryson, The Spindle & The Loom Productions, UK – FINISHED! 90 min, 2019. Starring Kathleen Bryson, Emma Thimbleby, Liam Clarke).
22 JULY 2019: Our just-finished experimental folkhorror film Baked Alaska (@bakedalaskafilm on Twitter) received two nice honorable mention awards this week, first from the LA Underground Film Forum and then from the Experimental Forum (also Los Angeles-based).
Narcissistic failing playwright Sullivan Foster, former Alaskan, is recovering from a brutal break-up with her boyfriend in a haunted London apartment, not the best of retreats. Creepy soft-tissue body parts are appearing all over town; time-travelling unsavoury characters of Gold-Rush-era Alaska converge on London in search of fresh meat. As sled-dogs and their mushers wind their way down the evil Seven Sisters Road, can fragile Sullivan piece together the meaning behind the fleshy jigsaw clues in time to save her own skin? A hallucinogenic film that just like life itself is sometimes-naturalistic, sometimes-comic, sometimes-horrific, Baked Alaska delicately/crudely explores the events that break us, form us, cannibalize us or redeem us.
A "BRIEF" NOTE ON ACTING IN LIEU OF A CV
I play the lead role of "Sullivan" in the film Baked Alaska, I studied a postgraduate year of Classical Acting at the London Academy of Performing Arts conservatory, and previously studied improvisational and method acting at Seattle’s Northwest Actor’s Studio. I have performed in multiple feature and short films, including bride “Leila” in Campbell X’s Independent Spirit Award-winning feature Stud Life (2012), “Diana Dors” in Ali Smith’s I Am Diana Dors (2005), and as the lead in many of experimental film director Sarah Wood’s films, including I Want to Be a Secretary, which won Best Film at the London Short Film Festival.
In addition to performing in most of my own shorts, including at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Arts Festival in a highly experimental film/live action piece about global warming involving violinists in polar bear masks, I also have over 25 film, TV, stage and radio acting credits in pieces directed by other people, which have screened or been performed at festivals and venues such as the Institute for Contemporary Arts; National Film Theatre; Cambridge International Film Festival; London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival; OutFest; Edinburgh International Film Festival; Channel Four Television; BBC Radio Four; BBC Live; the Rosemary Branch Theatre and the Camden People’s Theatre, among others. I was photographed by Rankin for his SNOG exhibition at Brick Lane and in his 2000 photography book, and also by Parminder Sekhon for a book cover for Ice Queen (Virgin Publishing, 2000), and again by Sekhon for "Dietrich & Monroe”, a modelling shoot included in her Stonewall Award Finalist photography book Red Threads (Diva Books, 2003). Following this, I was featured in a series of subscription advertisements for Diva magazine in 2004, all photographs taken by Venetia Elphick.
In a different performative context, I have been a Mistress of Ceremonies at events ranging from the Primate Sexualities Research and Reading Group Celebration at University College London to the SPIT-LIT Women’s Literature Festival at Spitalfields, London, and have read from my own fiction and poetry in venues as diverse as Ladyfest Olympia, to Waterstones Piccadilly, to Foyles, to the Kairos Tuesday Poems Featured Poet series, to the YLAF Literary Festival (reading with Rebecca Brown, Naomi Alderman, Ali Smith, Abha Dawesar), to the Brighton & Hove Mobile Library. I enjoyed every get-together.
OKAY, BACK TO THE FILMS.
The Viva Voce Virus
(feature film screenplay, dir. Kathleen Bryson & Kimmo Moykky, Survive-the-Kavoti-Cave Productions, UK, 118 min, 2008. Starring Deni Francis, Luke Bishop, Adam Blake)
London actress Ronnie investigates a mysterious disease from Hollywood's yesteryear: a disease that makes actors keep mum about their same-sex love affairs, a disease spread by cocktails, perfume atomizers and the heterosexual screen kiss. Holding the key to the mystery is ex-starlet Gloria, inventor of a very special cocktail…
The feature screenplay for The Viva Voce Virus (Kathleen Bryson, screenwriter & co-director) was produced under STKC Productions (London, UK) and released in 2008. Its world premiere was at the Siren Nation Film Festival in Portland, Oregon in 2008, and its UK premiere was as the centrepiece screening for the Cine25 Women’s Film Festival in 2009.
AWARDED: Attendance at Berlinale Talent Campus 2009 at the Berlin International Film Festival as an "up-and-coming" director/screenwriter based on this work.
SELECTION: North American premiere at Siren Nation Film Festival in Portland, OR 2008,
SELECTION: UK premiere at Cine25 as the showcased Centrepiece Screening in York 2008.
"A campy new classic... The crowning jewel of the Siren Nation Film Festival... Critically engaging satire that oh-so-eloquently skewers not just the Hollywood of yesteryear, but the continual doublespeak of Hollywood's present” – The Oregonian
"Worlds collide in this surreal tale of two best friends forced to pose as a couple after getting stranded at a gay resort... a time-twisting mystery" – Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
“This sexy, sc-fi flick finds a London actress trying to uncover the mysterious ailment that’s keeping all the Hollywood queers silent about their same-sex liaisons” – Curve magazine
"A wild, vivid, surreal sci film... a Kenneth Angerish adventure through the history of the closet" – Campbell X, Friction magazine
"I love this script and its mad, anarchic fairy-tale logic!" – Clive Bradley, BAFTA-winning screenwriter
"Already being hailed as a camp classic of queer cinema" - Feminist Review Trust
(UK, written and directed by Kathleen Bryson, pop promo, 4.24 min, 2014)
Who wasn't in love with Samantha? A little girl growing up in the early 1980s uses her magic 8-ball to predict her chances of success with the Bewitched star. The Reagan-era setting seeps into former hippie idealism, but fears of impending adolescence can't stop the electroclash-with-warts music. This Cold-War-set paeon to a little girl's infatuation is concocted from the Prelinger Archives, a Collection of Public Domain Films.
SELECTION: InHouse Film Festival London 2015
SELECTION: Teststrip/Collections London 2016
SELECTION: Teststrip/Collections Leipzig 2016
We Burn Daylight
(short film written, directed and performed by Kathleen Bryson & Gwynfryn Thomas, UK, 4.50 min, 2014)
Once upon a time, the red-haired Neanderthals and modern humans interbred, and this was revealed in 2010 with the decoding of the Neanderthal genome. Many of us today carry 2-7% Neanderthal DNA as a result. Made by two evolutionary anthropologists, We Burn Daylight plays with the ideas of prehistoric imagination and illusion, particularly early Neanderthal culture such as red-painted handprints and shadow-flickers of shamanistic foxes. From these flickers of the starry cosmos to cave paintings, We Burn Daylight is the original Romeo-and-Juliet scenario in poem-and-film form, questioning our species' insistence on being the only ones to truly love, mourn and imagine other worlds.
SELECTION: Screened at "That Little Sphere... Nature Films No. 1", Hundred Years Gallery, London, England 2019
SELECTION: Screened at Magickal Charm Experimental Film Festival, Maya Deren Theatre, New York, New York, USA 2018.
SELECTION: Screened at Bath Fringe Arts Festival, FAB, Bath, England 2015
SELECTION: Screened at PowFEST, Portland Women’s Film Festival in March, Portland, Oregon, USA 2015.
Underwood & Oversky
(UK, written, directed, and performed by Kathleen Bryson pop promo, 5 min, 2015)
Lady Godiva rides her steed through the forest, troubled by the bickering angel and devil on her respective shoulders. Yet between the tiny couple romance blossoms, and they ascend first to the clouds together and then to the many levels of Dantean and Boschean Hell, trying to find their paradise. When all fails, will Lady Godiva rescue the mis-matched couple? A subversive little satire on commercial imagery involving Angel Champagne and Underwood Devilled Ham.
SELECTION: Need & Error London 2015
SELECTION: Need & Error Brussels 2015
Is Love a Pyramid Scheme?
(UK, written, directed and performed by Kathleen Bryson doc, 10.58 min, 2015)
Who knows what the Sphinx thinks? This short film functions as sphinx itself and asks the audience riddles as it plays with sexual preference, historical figures and commercial subliminal imagery: Joe the Camel from Camel Cigarettes' none-too-subtle penis-nose, the torturous love affair between the medieval sadistic device the Iron Maiden and a female Egyptian sarcophagus. The drama takes place amongst multiple pyramids: Maslow's Hierarchy, the Masonic pyramid found on the American dollar bill, the food pyramid. The Egyptian cat's-eye winks at the receiving audience -- who is really being fooled?
SELECTION: Need & Error London 2015
SELECTION: Need & Error Brussels 2015
(short documentary screenplay & directed by Kathleen Bryson & Jessica Cheeseman, The Spindle & The Loom Productions, UK, 10 min, 2012)
The age-old question: what do lesbians do out of bed? Mainstream TV channels commission lesbian documentaries with bed-hopping and bar-hopping drunken antics, but this documentary about a lesbian country-fair event held annually in a North London back-garden reveals that lesbians are actually making subversive chutneys and prizewinning pickles from Grandmother’s secret recipes. Here we see definitive proof that lesbians (and their friends) have irony as well as ironing skills, as they exhibit a finely tuned sense of Balmoral- and Women’s Institute-apparel, and as butches and femmes alike rustle up tasty apple pies, Goddess-themed baked-bread, controversial desserts, perfectly symmetrical English apples and a spot of age-appropriate Morris-dancing.
SELECTION: Screened at Wotever World Film Festival, London in August 2013.
SELECTION: Screened at Exploding Cinema, London in April 2013.
SELECTION: Screened at London’s Tight Shorts Film Festival in March 2013.
(short film screenplay, dir. Kathleen Bryson, Blushing Maiden Productions, USA, 2009)
The dread zombie bakers of the night, a pound of flesh. I confess that I wrote this poem and then put it under the door of Percy Ingle's Bakery on Chatsworth Road in Northeast London after a bad experience involving a croissant purchase and customer service. Public domain and creative commons music and stills.
WINNER: Vox Aurora was a co-winner for the 2009 Sci-Fi London Film Festival’s 2-Minute Zombie Film Competition.
SELECTION: Hackney Wicked Film Festival, London 2010
SELECTION: APT Gallery: “Folklore” TESTSTRIP, London 2012
“Quirky and fun”—i.d. magazine
(short film screenplay, dir. Kathleen Bryson, Blushing Maidens Productions, USA, 2 min, 2008)
Truth, Beauty, Pigeons. My Pretty Portland. Copyright-free stills and mashed-up public domain tunes.
FINALIST: The Syllogism was a finalist for the 2008 My Pretty Portland Competition.
SELECTION: Art Institute of Portland, OR, August 2008
SELECTION: Flixation Film Series at the Horse Hospital, London, September 2008
SELECTION: Hackney Wicked Film Festival, London 2010
Where Have All the Flowers Gone/ Sweet Violets
(short film screenplay, dir. Kathleen Bryson, Blushing Maidens Productions, USA, 1 minute, 33 seconds, 2007/2013)
Death. That's where all the flowers have gone.
SELECTION: APT Gallery, “Sweets” TESTSTRIP, London 2013
Spaceships Over Portland
(short documentary screenplay, dir. Kathleen Bryson, Blushing Maidens Productions, USA, 2007)
What is unbelievable about government abductions of aliens?
SELECTION: Screened at Current TV on Current.com in 2007.
Dentist of the Vagina Dentatas
(short film screenplay, dir. Kathleen Bryson, Blushing Maidens Productions, USA, 4 min, 2006)
A frustrated vagina dentata negotiates the streets of Old Europe in search of a Dr. Freud or at very least good old-fashioned dental hygiene.
SELECTION: Screened at Exploding Cinema, London in 2013.
SELECTION: Screened at Dirty Queer, Portland in 2006 as a special screening request by organIsers. Censored and removed by YouTube for “obscene” content.
Kentucky Fried World
(short documentary screenplay, dir. Kathleen Bryson, Blushing Maidens Productions, UK, 4 min, 2005)
Making use of a broken camera in a broken city, Kentucky Fried World is a grimly humorous comment on national stereotypes, cultural imperialism and the independent fast-food chicken restaurants of London, England.
SELECTION: Screened at Ladyfest Olympia Film Festival at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, WA in 2005.
(short documentary screenplay,written and performed by Kathleen Bryson, USA 2005)