Gimme One (2020) Review

All Black Lives Matter VR Documentary GIMME ONE has World Premiere at BFI London Film Festival this year.

Certificate: TBD

Director: Montague FitzGerald

Starring: Aysha Chamberlain, Diva Miyake-Mugler, Karteer Miyake-Mugler

Genre: Documentary, Short

Runtime: 14 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl


DEBUT director Montague FitzGerald presents virtual reality film, GIMME ONE, taking its audience inside the UK’s emerging ballroom vogue scene, a subculture originated by the LGBTQI+ community almost 100 years ago. Five ballroom artists depict their experiences of this underground community as they explore ideas around cultural appropriation, empowerment, and safe space.

Wow, talk about a whole underground scene I never knew existed. This short little documentary has introduced me to a way of life and a form of expression that I had never heard of before.  When I hear the word ‘Ballroom’ I think of the glittering, on-two-stepping world of Strictly Come Dancing and The Blackpool Tower.  And while the glittering aspect of that may still be true, this underground movement is nothing like what you see on the TV.

A huge focus in this short film is how, Ballroom is a safe space for people of every sexuality and gender identity can have a safe space and be free to express themselves without fear of judgement or ridicule.  And right now, with all the hostility and anger in the world, that could not be more relevant or more important. For trans/queer people This film may offer hope that there are places and people in the world who will accept them without question.

“Preserving these safe spaces seems even more important today than it did 5 years ago, Boris Johnsons transphobic agenda is not only threatening people’s lives but threatening the very culture of these communities” – Quote from Producer, Harry Silverlock

Technologically speaking, this film is presented in a way that I have never experienced before.  It is designed to be viewed through a Virtual Reality headset, with the film experience being in 360 degrees, so there are things going on all around you.  I did not have access to a VR headset for my screener of this film, and although I could turn the camera the full 360 degrees using my keyboard, I do highly recommend if possible that you do view this film in the medium it is designed for to get the full effect.  The documentary is told interview style between five different dancers and includes B-Roll footage of what the actual Balls are like to experience.  As well as some psychedelic, animated silhouettes throughout giving us an idea of what the dance style is like as well.  A nice mix-up of styles to keep the visuals interesting.

My main criticism of this film is that it wasn’t long enough.  It attempts to fit a lot of technical lingo and backstory into it’s very short runtime and a world this vibrant and varied, with such an important story to tell I feel deserved a little more time.  For a debut documentary though this was a great effort, and shone a light on a cultural movement that is not only important and empowering, but that needs a lot more support and shouldn’t need to hide away for fear of backlash. 

This is about a group of people, being who they are, doing what they love and not being sorry about it.  I just hope soon, they won’t have to continue to do it underground.

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