06
Apr

A conversation on allyship with… Emily Carlton

Emily is a screenwriter and producer with Seek Films. An advocate of the importance of queer film and short films as a platform to launch LGBTQ stories and careers, she is currently producing TWO DOWN, a powerful and timely short film written and Directed by gay writer and director, Matthew Hurt.

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Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Emily Carlton, I’m a screenwriter and film producer.

What does being an ally mean to you – how do you define it?

Being an ally means standing up for people who might have less of a platform, or less power than you. It means acknowledging that you’re privileged in some way, but using it to help people who don’t, or to amplify their voices. 

“I’m bisexual, but I’m in a heterosexual relationship and so I’ve seen first-hand the difference in access and how you’re treated.”

Why is it important to you to be an ally to LGBTQ+ people?

I think it’s incredibly important. I’m bisexual, but I’m in a heterosexual relationship and so I’ve seen first-hand the difference in access and how you’re treated. There is this privilege that comes with being in a heterosexual relationship, so I often end up in the role of ally. The sense that people who don’t necessarily share your identity are on your side and advocating for you is so important. Ultimately, equality benefits us all and should be everyone’s concern.

“I’m particularly interested in stories that focus on an LGBTQ+ character, but where their sexuality isn’t the entire story.”

What do you do to support LGBTQ+ people?

I try to amplify LGBTQ+ voices. In my work life I work with a lot of LGBTQ+ filmmakers, helping them bring their projects to fruition. I’m particularly interested in stories that focus on an LGBTQ+ character, but where their sexuality isn’t the entire story. For example, I’m currently producing a short film called ‘2 Down’ by a fantastic gay writer and director, Matthew Hurt.

The story follows a young queer man who loses his grandfather, the one person with whom he connects, and is forced to solve the puzzle of how to engage with others. Yes, the character’s identity is an important part of who he is, but it’s not just a story about his queerness, it’s a story about loneliness, isolation and human connection – something I think we can all relate to now more than ever. I think telling these nuanced, relatable stories about LGBTQ+ characters is vital, for representation and to present the true richness of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Change has been huge, and there’s a huge demand for queer stories and more minority representation on screen.”

How has the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people changed since you started working?

I’ve been in the industry for under a decade, but even in that time the change has been huge, and there’s a huge demand for queer stories and more minority representation on screen. At first this felt a little shallow, people seemed to be mostly looking for stories that focused on traumatic discrimination – which are so important, but can perpetuate negative stereotypes if they’re over-done. Now I feel there’s a real appetite for complex, nuanced narratives that we haven’t seen before. I genuinely believe that we’re living in the golden age of on-screen storytelling, and I think this is why. 

“I truly believe that work like this crucial to move the dial for LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Queer cinema has, throughout history, been incredibly important, providing a beacon for future generations as well as a vital tool for empathy across communities.”

What more could LGBTQ+ people do to be an ally to you?

Keep bringing me brilliant scripts!

People are also very welcome to support my current work. As I’ve mentioned I’m currently producing a short film called ‘2 Down’ which tells a powerful universal story, entering an LGBTQ+ character in a narrative that isn’t just about sexuality and trauma. I truly believe that work like this crucial to move the dial for LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Queer cinema has, throughout history, been incredibly important, providing a beacon for future generations as well as a vital tool for empathy across communities. Given how hard the pandemic has hit the Arts, it’s more vital than ever to be an ally to artists like Matthew, who are producing this kind of work. 

Support LGBTQ cinema

If you’d like more information or would like to support this project financially, please e-mail emily@seek-films.com

Find out more about or contact Matthew Hurt

More about Emily

Emily is a British Writer and Producer. Graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in Politics, she now works as a screenwriter and producer with Seek Films. 

Her short films include: ALL OF ME (2017), which has played at 25 international film festivals to date, THE INVADERS SONG (2018) which premiered at Palm Springs International Film Festival and FULL ENGLISH (2018) which won Best Screenplay at the LiftOff Season Awards 2019. Her latest film, the half-hour ‘Nightwatchmen’s Nativity’ will premiere on Sky Arts in December 2020. 

She is currently producing TWO DOWN, a powerful and timely short film written and Directed by Matthew Hurt.

Her first feature film is currently in pre-production, a coproduction between Seek Films and Fingerprint Content, it is slated to shoot later this year. Outside of her writing and producing Emily is a co-founder of the ‘Breaking Through The Lens’, helping female directors connect with financiers at large film markets.

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