Cambridge Shorts: If Not, Then What?

Image credit: Aaron Kilercioglu

In the week leading up the premiere of his new film If Not, Then What? at Cambridge Shorts, I interviewed Aaron Kilercioglu to find out a little bit about how he found the experience, as well as why we should be excited to see what he’s produced!

Tell us a little bit about the topic of your film – why is it important to you? And why should it be important to your audience?

The film is about the love between two women and how they deal with external pressures of having to define their love in a socially accepted context. I think this film is important to me, and I hope it should be important to the audience, for two main reasons. Firstly, I want to portray a LGBTQ+ relationship on screen that is not defined by its sexuality. Rather than reducing LGBTQ+ characters only to their sexuality (as happens too often), I wanted to show them as two idiosyncratic individuals, who happen to be in love with each other. Secondly, I think it’s important to understand the external expectations that are put on any relationship, but in particular homosexual relationships, and show how such pressure unfolds on screen.

Do you think there should be more films that take issues of sexual identification as their main concern? Can you think of any films that might have inspired you that raise similar questions and ideas?

I do think that there should be more films tackling sexual identification. Just as important though, is an increase in characters who identify as LGBTQ+, but who play a role in the plot of the film that goes beyond their sexuality.

The relationships in the film felt so real. Can you share some of the processes by which you developed such a natural and believable relationship between your characters?

Thank you! I think you always end up writing what you know, so I guess there is a lot of my own experience with relationships in there. However, I also drew from the experiences of people who have gone through similar moments of questioning their sexuality while being in a relationship, who have shared their thoughts with me.

Your film is made up of lots of very clever and inventive shots. Did you encounter any unexpected difficulties in the filming process?

Thank you! The film ran quite smoothly logistically, barring a few stressful moments, mostly thanks to our brilliant producer Lina (who also kept morale high by insuring the constant influx of Babybels on set). The main difficulties we had were with shots that were technically challenging, such as the overhead shot in the first scene, as our DIY crane would start shaking at the slightest movement in the room.

What do you want your audience to take from your film? Where do you want to take it next?

My biggest hope is that those in the audience who have had no exposure to sexualities different to their own begin to challenge their preconceived notions of what a lesbian relationship originates from, looks like, and feels like. The point is to emphasize that those are arbitrary distinctions and that LGBTQ+ relationships are just as uniquely varied as heterosexual ones. Additionally, I hope that this film becomes part of increasing LGBTQ+ representation in Cambridge Art.

Regarding where I would like to take the film next - once exams are done I will start submitting it to festivals and see how it goes!


If Not, Then What? will be shown at the ADC Theatre on Saturday 20th May, as part of Cambridge Shorts.

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