Telling the story of a generation who demand to live in a world that is free, presenting ‘The Future is Fluid’.
In partnership with Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE, the short film—which premiered during the Sundance Film Festival—was directed by Jade Jackman and produced by Irregular Labs as a companion to The Irregular Report, a biannual report on and by Gen Z. The voices in the film represent this generation’s tenacity, curiosity, empathy, optimism and hope, redefining and representing the world through a prism of fluidity captured by the 24-year-old English director, who discusses her work below.
The film has an extraordinary worldwide representation in the individuals who tell their story, how did you find them and how do the diverse cultures and countries give it more resonance?
Through friends of friends, articles I had been inspired by on the internet, word of mouth and Irregular Labs amazing network. It was a privilege to work with an organisation who uses anthropological methods of research and engagement as my insight as a director was beyond myself. As we were trying to document a global shift in thought, casting was hard to describe to people. If you talk about gender fluidity to someone older, the chances are they will immediately associate it with the LGBT community. While it was important to represent that element - and the struggles that fluidity presents from external forces - it was equally important to show how other young people have absorbed gender fluidity into their everyday lives. Previously, films about gender fluidity would be seen as cultural phenomena and presented as a subculture. It wasn’t about resonance, it was a need; a need to show that this fluidity is a thought process that can’t be stopped. It is becoming a universal truth that not everything needs to be fixed.
Where does this film fit in society’s point of view on gender fluidity today?
To me, the film talks about gender fluidity as a praxis. A lot of documentaries I see about it focus on solely the problems, but never what is inspiring about fluidity. As Fabio in Italy said [in the film], it allows you to start dropping off your other prejudices and challenging your view on the world. It isn’t just in aesthetics or in drag… which is how a lot of people still imagine gender fluidity or understand it. To me, that is the most interesting thing about the film. It contradicts this idea that putting flowers in a man’s hair, or aesthetics being what gender fluidity means, it can be an outlook as well as also being for some people an identity. Gender fluidity, or fluidity, is something we can all learn from rather than gawk at.
What was important to you to show about the individuals featured?
As we have 13 voices, there are individual reasons that make each one important. We wanted to show a range of ages, experiences and locations. Being a documentary with real people not just models, we also had to respond sensitively to the political realities also occurring at the time of shooting, for example Bolsonaro’s election in Brazil. You have to be responsible shooting young people especially in Brazil’s current climate. Additionally, it was really important to show how they didn’t have to be ‘academics’ to have what other people might deem advanced views on gender or society. Together, we needed to show the issues that some trans / non-binary youth can face, but also the joy that living beyond the binary can bring society as a whole. It is supposed to be hopeful and resilient in that this is the direction that we will move in.
What have the Gen Z individuals featured in the film nailed on their understanding of gender fluidity that other generations can learn from?
That gender fluidity is the antithesis of fear. If you accept that life is inherently fluid, you don’t need to be scared of shifts or the unexpected… you embrace it.