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Interview with artist and filmmaker Lisa Gornick

ByDemelza Williams

Apr 11, 2018

Lisa Gornick is a British artist, actress, writer and director. She works with a multitude of platforms, including TV, film, drawing and performance. To coincide with the launch of her third film, The Book of Gabrielle, her live drawing show will be coming to Edinburgh this month. Entitled What the Fuck is Lesbian Film?, the show will explore lesbian cinema in the context of contemporary politics.

Your show looks unique, it is not often that you see art and performance intertwined in this way. How do you believe art and film correspond and why is it important for your show?

This show combines live performance, drawing and film. I create a story in real time that is projected using drawing and live performance. In a way, it takes the basic elements of film and in a DIY setting creates something different each time. The audience watches the screen as the story is made alongside my performance.

How would you describe what your show is about?

The show came about from my experiences of filmmaking – creating films and exploring the labels attached to them. It goes wider and looks at the industry in which I work and the obstacles that occur in it.

How important is comedy to your show?

I think comedy can open up a subject and force it to not take itself too seriously. It enables the exploration of ideas that could be delivered seriously but in a lighter way. Comedy can be a release whilst a stronger message takes hold.

How would you describe your film?

It’s a first-person comedy drama. I am playing and drawing as Gabrielle alongside the wonderful Allan Corduner, Anna Koval, Ruth Lass and Joni Kamen. It’s a personal feature not an autobiography. If anything the content could be seen as a self portrait.

What inspired you to make a film?

It started off from wanting to explore how I express sexuality. How free was I? Why do I hate sex scenes in films? Exploring the man in me. Thinking about male writers whom I’ve loved/hated at the same time. How I maybe have been belittled by certain men and their words and wanting to fight back.

How does it/ does it relate to your show?

The show became a live expression of the state of film in my view. How there are so few women filmmakers still. How things need to change. How labels and definitions affect us and what or who do they serve. It came out of an experience of distributing film.

How can people see your film?

It’s being distributed by Peccadillo and you can access it on their website either online or buy the DVD.


Your art is very expressive, if you could describe it in one word what would it be?


In your film and on your website you are very open and vocal about your sex life, is it your main inspiration in your art?

I’m intrigued to explore it but it’s not my main focus. I think it’s important for women to explore sexuality from their viewpoint and experience. This is an important and delightful thing to do.We all have such journeys with a sexual life … sometimes we get trapped with our experiences. Because sex is a potential for huge vulnerability, I wanted to explore that. I think I have always tried to do that in my work.

In the clip of your art show online you are talking about female politicians, do you think that your work is political?

I do believe that my work is in some ways political. Though saying that, I want to do more political work. Politics is about the population it governs so has to engage with the experiences of people. This is easy to access through art and film and feelings it arouses, alongside actual experiences.

Do you think female artists relate to female politicians?

It’s important to have female politicians. I think female artists will want to explore the layers of politics and how women operate in that world. My first play was about how few women there are in British politics.

What the Fuck is Lesbian Film? will be performed at The Gilded Balloon Basement Theatre, Edinburgh in April 2018. More information can be found on Gornick’s website  (http://lisagornick.com)

Image credit: Lisa Gornick

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