On stage, drag queens may be all glitter, false eyelashes and platform shoes. But one film-maker is trying to remind people there is a man beneath every drag wig.
Andy Boreham won a documentary competition called Young Producers, run by BBC Worldwide.
The prize was AUS$5000 (NZ$6409) towards the production of his short documentary Beneath the Wigs, which covered most of the costs, including buying equipment like a new camera. Friends also helped out voluntarily.
Boreham, 30, attended the New Zealand Film School in 2000 but became jaded with the industry.
"I realised people are sometimes in it for the wrong reasons and the whole thing was a bit political. You had to act a certain way and impress certain people to get opportunities."
Instead, the documentary genre has attracted his attention, and he has turned his lens on to the lives of interesting Wellingtonians.
Beneath the Wigs focuses on three Wellington-based drag queens, who speak candidly about their lives both in and out of the wig, and how they are perceived by the public.
"I know a lot of drag queens and [know] about the drag scene, and it's a story that isn't often told from this point of view. We're telling it from the perspective of the men, not so much the queens themselves." Boreham says the Wellington gay scene is very small and everyone tends to know everyone else.
"I met all three of the drag queens in my time hanging out around Wellington's gay scene over the past 10 years."
One of the documentary's subjects, 27-year-old Brendan Goudswaard who goes by the stage name Ellie Kat says people have misconceptions and make assumptions about drag queens. Being part of the documentary has been an interesting experience, he says.
"I've had to look into some parts of my life I haven't thought about before."
The 30-minute documentary will run on BBC Knowledge in New Zealand and Australia later this year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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