RINGEN - A Queer Short Film Adaptation

by Sofia Due Rosenzweig

NY

Ringen, which means "The Ring" in Danish, is told like a fairytale in reverse. It explores the themes of love, desire, self-discovery and loss of innocence while questioning traditional gender roles.

Louise, a blissfully devoted wife, wants her husband to desire her so she hides in the forest and finds herself face to face with a knife-wielding vagabond. The strange encounter leaves Louise unharmed but having lost her wedding ring and a white handkerchief. How will she be able to explain to her husband what has happened? All she knows is that her life will never be the same.

                                

                                       Caspar David Friedrich – Woman At Sunset or Sunrise

KAREN BLIXEN (1885-1962)

Throughout her career as a writer, Blixen published under the name Isak Dinesen, knowing that work by a male author would be more commercially successful. You may know this Danish author from her autobiography Out of Africa, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Other notable adaptations of Blixen's work include Gabriel Axel's Oscar-winning Babette's Feast and Orson Welles' last fiction film The Immortal Story.

A QUEER PERIOD FILM ADAPTATION

We've come a long way in our understanding of gender since Blixen's time. Rather than a matter of black and white, male or female, gender manifests itself on a spectrum. Every individual's expression is unique to their, her or his own experience.

I needed to cast a gender nonconforming (GNC) actor to play the Vagabond. All the author tells us about him is that he lives on stolen food, sleeping in the woods and roaming the land. How did he become so disenfranchised? What if his existence was a constant struggle to survive with a nontraditional gender identity in a deeply religious and traditional society? His effect appearance in Louise's life will remain frightening, thrilling and erotic, just like in the story.

Rarely do we see GNC characters like this Vagabond in period films. That's why it's vital that the film preserve the 19th century period that the original story was set in. Slowly but surely, authentic representation of queer- and female-centered stories has improved but they are mostly set in the present day. We need to show that GNC and queer humans have existed throughout time.

MEET THE DREAM TEAM

SOFIA DUE ROSENZWEIG (she/her) – Writer / Director

I love making impressionistic, beautiful movies that resonate long after the credits have rolled. My favorite stories to tell are centered on characters that aren't often portrayed in the media. Plus I would be the first Danish-American female director to adapt Blixen's work to film. Since graduating from NYU Film I've worked as an assistant for director/DP Ellen Kuras ASC and for writer/director Steve Zaillian on HBO's The Night Of. You can check out my first short film, The Months American, and my other work here by clicking on my name right there.

RAIN DOVE (any pronoun) - The Vagabond

Actor, model, activist and former firefighter, Rain Dove defies gender norms in the fashion industry by walking both female and male runway shows. It all began with a lost bet that landed Rain at a casting call for men's Calvin Klein underwear. Check out her instagram in the link above.

                                                       

CHANTEL KING (she/her) – Producer/UPM

Producer, stage manager, and activist, Chantel King currently works as a Community Organizing Fellow for the ACLU. After working in theatre with companies like Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Aquila Theatre, and Spiegelworld, she branched into film in 2014. Her credits include 2nd assistant director on A Woman, A Part and unit production manager for A Foster Portfolio (2017 Tribeca Film Festival Short) amongst others.

DAISY ZHOU (she/her) – Cinematographer

Daisy Zhou is a cinematographer, director and gaffer. Since graduating from NYU Film she has shot commercial projects for Lincoln, Chanel, Victoria's Secret as well as music videos, fashion films and documentaries for artists including Margaret Zhang, Banks, Mykki Blanco, Cai Guo Qiang, and James Blunt. Most recently she shot and directed a Nike spot featuring transgender international vogue dancer Leiomy Maldonado. The spot premiered ahead of the NYC Pride march in June, check it out as well as her other work by clicking on her name right there.

                        

Photo by Sofia Due Rosenzweig, taken on an early director's scout.

PULLING IT OFF

We've been working hard to try to make this film a cheaply as possible, however period pieces can quickly get expensive. It's incredibly vital to the historical aspect of the film that the costumes be as authentic and well made as possible. The cost of transporting, lodging and feeding our crew make up a big portion of our budget.

It is also hugely important for me that everyone who works on this film be paid a minimum salary. Amongst the many issues with the entertainment industry is how inaccessible that world is to lower income people because of the expectation that cast and crew should be able to work for free on passion projects like this one.

HOW DOES THE FUTURE LOOK?

Bright as hell.  Check out and follow our Twitter and Instagram pages @poeticoptics for a look at the visual inspiration, more info on our crew, photos from scouts, fittings, set etc. Feel free to make requests! Plus we'll be spotlighting other queer and female-identifying artists and their work on our pages. It's all about visibility baby.

Wander the forest, encounter something new <3