‘So Vam’ Director Alice Maio Mackay Talks About Her New Film
Alice Maio Mackay created her first feature film, So vam, a queer horror film. In addition to directing the film, Mackay co-wrote it alongside Benjamin Pahl Robinson and served as a producer. For the release of the film, dread center sat down with Mackay to discuss a wide range of topics, like why stories like these are so important.
“I think queer stories like So vam are important to both queer audiences and the horror genre, because seeing yourself reflected in a film can be truly powerful and meaningful. This is especially the case in the horror genre, where gender-nonconforming or queer-coded characters haven’t always had the best representation.
The plot of So vam follows Kurt (Xai), an outcast in his conservative town who dreams of moving to the big city to become a famous drag queen. However, he is kidnapped by an old predatory vampire and killed. Luckily for Kurt, he is saved just in time by April (Grace Hyland) and the rest of her band of wayward vampires who feed on zealots and muggers. Now a vampire himself, Kurt finds empowerment and belonging, but still has to face his killer.
“History for So vam came from a climax of things. The main thing being that for my first feature film, I really wanted to include all the things that I myself would like to see in a film: vampires, drags, trans leads, and all of that with a camp sensibility.
According to Mackay, what appeals to him is that while it’s such a powerful and historically important art form, it’s also a lot of fun, incredibly creative and entertaining. Mackay thinks pick-up and horror go well together because both can be campy and fun yet meaningful, political, and a powerful channel for getting a message across to audiences simultaneously.
“Mm, [favorite drag artist we need to be following] it’s difficult. Obviously, Xai from the movie is amazing, as is BenDeLaCreme and Etcetera Etcetera. But Peaches Christ, HoSo Terra Toma, Sigourney Beaver, Kornbread, Landon Cider, Dahli, Willow Pill and Symone are all some of my favorites. So many amazing!”
Who is Alice Maio Mackay?
Mackay is a 17-year-old trans filmmaker based in Adelaide, South Australia. His work is produced by his own company, One Manner Productions. According to her, Mackay first realized she wanted to be a filmmaker after she began to imagine the short stories she wrote more like movies than narrative prose.
“From there I did stop motion animation, then short films with friends, and eventually and slowly progressed to producing what I consider to be my first real short film, A Tale of the Laundry Gamewhich premiered at MonsterFest in 2019.”
In his own words, Mackay said directing his first feature film was “an amazing but definitely super stressful process”. In addition to navigating a pandemic, they were also filming for seven days in the summer heat. She considers herself lucky to have such an amazing cast and crew, which she is also grateful for.
Outraged scooby-doo and the Addams Family movies, which she was raised in, the first horror movies Mackay ever saw were buffy and Scream, the latter of which terrified her. Additionally, Mackay also said she thinks the perfect double feature for So Vam would be Janelle Shirtcliff’s. Habit or Zoe Lister Jones The profession: heritage. Both are underrated masterpieces, in Mackay’s opinion.
“I think the best advice I could give to other young queer filmmakers would be to make art that means something to them and not apologize for it. Not everyone is going to get gay films , and gay movies aren’t for every member of the public either (cishet white men). So keep that in mind. Only take the opinions of those who really understand the job and keep doing stuff.