What should be a time for celebration, is turning more and more into a situation beyond belief than in 2021 I’m here writing this blog about a judgement made by a domineering company that stems in prejudice.
The idea of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie skipping cinemas is upsetting to say the least for many reasons. However, as we become closer and closer to the release, we see how judgements have been made based on not facts, but on what appears prejudice that a queer film can’t have ‘mainstream’ appeal.
If you look closely at it’s promotion so far you see this view in play. Film festivals, prides and handpicked screenings for carefully selected audience. Indeed at its premiere today there were Drag Queens galore, Theatre bloggers who know the story well and the odd old cast member who has a large following. None of this is necessarily bad or different to any other film release.
One interesting decision however is that the original cast and crew of the theatre production were mostly snubbed.
Specially selecting an audience to such events isn’t new. Its a strategy to drive word of mouth and awareness and its not a bad thing. What is different and needs calling out is a decision made by Amazon to not throw the net wider.
The problem goes deeper than just the PR however. It appears some cinemas wanted to screen the film and have been refused. Amazon wants a cinema screening only where there is a large queer community. This information was shared by Darryl Griffiths, a member of the Lighthouse Cinema in Wolverhampton who says
‘We’ve been fighting hard to screen
@JamieMovie at our indie cinema @lighthousemedia.
Official line we’ve had today is there’s been handpicking of cinemas going on, to reach just ‘larger queer communities’
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has been in cinemas before, as a live stream. In the audience I was in, the audience was incredibly diverse. Why was that? We perhaps will never know, but I would argue while Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a loud and proud piece of LGBTQ+ work, it’s not just a story about that. Instead, bullying, being an outsider, the relationship between a mother and her son, being confident in who you are all take prominence and resignate with it’s audience.
Unless the film strips out so much of the musical’s heart and success, its unsure why Amazon judge the only selling point of this film as a LGBTQ+ story that only the LGBQT+ community or fans of the theatre production will enjoy.
That outdated prejudice is what hinders films like this being created. For too long there’s not been enough LGBTQ+ stories across any medium and if Amazon is let off by having such a narrow minded view, what hope do we have in creating a diverse range of films in the future?
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a story of being true to yourself is being told to stay in the shadows by Amazon Prime.
Ask your colleagues at work tomorrow if they’ve ever heard of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and if they don’t know, then ask yourself why?