Lifestyle

Looking back on same-sex story

  • Telling her story: main character Linda Mienzer (Photograph supplied)
  • Film-maker Oliver Tucker (Photograph supplied)
  • Tender moment: captured on camera (Photograph supplied)
  • Snapshot: a still from the film (Photograph supplied)

Can a story be interesting if you already know how it ends?

Oliver Tucker challenged himself with that question in making Paradise Revealed, a documentary about Bermuda’s same-sex marriage referendum last June.

While its climax is very much the “no”, the film-maker believes that the ending is just the beginning.

“One of the things I found particularly, was that, because Bermuda’s so small, a lot of people felt quite unsure about wanting to be on camera,” the 27-year-old said.

“And, if they were on film [they’d say] you can’t include this and you can’t include that.”

It made the film more “filtered” however he said the real disappointment lay in the reality.

“It’s just a shame that people do feel a bit vulnerable. You don’t want to live life not being yourself.

“The more people that are willing to share their story and their struggle, the better. People need to be aware that it’s not a lifestyle choice, it’s how you’re born.”

He decided to focus on the people in the community to make the story more interesting to those already familiar with it. Mr Tucker chose airport duty officer Linda Mienzer as the lead character to dispel the commonly held belief that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice reserved for the “white, privileged”.

“I wanted to make sure that one of my main characters is black because some of the black community aren’t as open as they could be,” he said.

The 20-minute film was his thesis project at the New York Film Academy.

“I knew of the referendum, I knew it got turned down. I thought, is this story over?

“My sister [Justine Tucker] was e-mailing me every day saying you’ve got to make this film. It’s in the news all the time. “The referendum was kind of the beginning, in some ways, of the fight. A lot of people were kind of naive. [They] didn’t think it was going to be no. People were optimistic.

“They didn’t realise how poorly attended the referendum was going to be.

“I think a lot of people were apathetic towards turning up.”

Mr Tucker admits he was one of them.

Although he shared the “Yes, Yes” message on social media, he didn’t vote, owing to a school commitment overseas. It’s a decision he regrets.

“Maybe I’ve been a little complacent as well. In hindsight, everyone’s much more clued up as a result.

“I feel quite guilty about it. I thought, Bermuda’s very First World; in some ways it’s way ahead of the Caribbean. I didn’t think it would be ‘no’.”

Vox pop interviews, ZBM footage from outside polling stations and an interview with Premier Michael Dunkley are all part of his film.

Adrian Hartnett-Beazley and his husband Shane and Sir John Swan also play a part.

Footage from an Out Bermuda meeting ended up on the cutting room floor, while he believes that interviews with the Preserve Marriage group gave him a balanced final product.

“I was keen to get an understanding of who decided to vote no and who yes,” he said.

“I wanted to illustrate both sides of the argument and I tried not to let my personal opinion come into the film.

“I don’t know if I was successful or not, but I think that’s important.

“I want both sides to feel that they were represented with respect and fairness.

“No matter what, every film-maker is biased and has a particular angle.

“I don’t think that’s a bad thing either.”

•Watch Paradise Revealed at BUEI next month