I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!
Today, it is my pleasure to interview fellow fangirl, Annalise Ophelian, who is an award-winning documentary filmmaker (MAJOR!, Diagnosing Difference), queer psychotherapist, and Chihuahua fetishist.
I first became aware of Annalise through the interview she gave on Episode 44 of the Fangirls Going Rogue podcast and I was able to briefly meet her in person last month at Star Wars Celebration Orlando.
Welcome Annalise to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.
When do you realize you were a Fangirl?
I probably only started using this term a few years ago, like around 2015 when I attended my first Star Wars Celebration. But my Star Wars fandom started when I was 4, in 1977 after seeing A New Hope in the theater. The following summer, it played at the theater near my house in Fort Collins, CO at the 10 cent matinee, and I went every single week. I was Princess Leia for Halloween, had action figures, read along to the children’s books with cassettes with my younger brother. In the early 1990s, when there were only the EU books and comics and not much else for Star Wars fans, I became a huge Star Trek: TNG fan, that franchise started me going to conventions, which I’ve continued attending throughout my adult life, and also collecting trading cards and such. So geek fandom has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.
How has social media helped or hindered you?
I’m so grateful for social media, especially as a woman who loves geeky things, I did not find community until the advent of social media. And I can’t image how Looking for Leia would even be possible without social media, because women’s fandom is so vibrant on-line, particularly in the arenas of podcasting, instagram, and blogging. I’m able to connect to a much broader group of women across geographic locations, and I think it’s also served to help broadcast women’s fandom in a much more accessible way. Women don’t need a publishing contract or a corporate sponsor to create and disseminate art and commentary about their fandom, it proletarianizes media and digital access.
When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?
Summer of 1977, right after I turned 4, was the first time I saw Star Wars, and the following summer I saw it 10 times in the theater. Star Wars was definitely love at first viewing, I’ve talked with my mother about it and she’s said “Yeah, we offered you other summer activities, but all you wanted to do was see Star Wars.” And space fantasy is my favorite genre, I never got into Tolkien or D&D. I did love ST:TNG, but I was more in love with the social allegory than the sci fi aspect, although having said that I did have technical manuals for the Enterprise D, so that’s something.
What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?
I feel like Star Wars fans are some of the kindest fans I’ve ever met. I’ve been to three Celebrations, and at every one there’s this joy in attending and knowing that every human around you will happily engage in a conversation about Star Wars. The sort of posturing or “geek cred” thing I associate with Reddit or other forms of (predominantly male) fandom doesn’t come across to me so much in Star Wars fan community, and working on Looking for Leia I’ve been really moved by how women’s fandom shows up in their lives. Female Star Wars fans are hard core! I’m talking levels of geekdom preserved for sitcoms, we’re a deeply passionate, committed group. I’m queer-identified and I came out in 1987, so I’ve been an active member of LGBT community for quite sometime, and I’ve always relied on that community for mirroring and support and safety. But when I attended my first Star Wars Celebration, I felt more at home and among my people than I ever had before. I felt like I could show up fully, like I was understood and understood others, there was this comradery and this language, both spoken and unspoken, and it was just blissful. I remember coming home from Anaheim and having this sort of culture shock, it was jarring not to be sitting on a floor talking with people about Star Wars for seven hours a day. I also think Star Wars fans are unique in the way we can love a thing and also have multiple critiques of it and these things don’t cancel each other out. There’s a nice duality there, it’s very both/and: I love this thing; and I hate this thing; This is my favorite part; and this is the part I want to be done better.
I also love how so much of the Star Wars universe is fan created. Characters who are unnamed on film and have no lines get back stories and complex relationships in fandom, and this fandom informs canon and vice versa. So the creativity and love of story that Star Wars fans have is deeply inspiring to me, especially because I’m not a fiction writer or a narrative filmmaker, as a documentarian my work is about observation and consolidation more than creating something entirely new. So that sort of creativity is inspiring.
What else do you Fangirl about?
I’m a huge Disney fan, lifelong Disney fan, I live in Northern California but generally have an annual pass and make it to Anaheim several times a year. Next year for my 45th birthday, I’d like to go to Disneyland in Shanghai and Tokyo, and then I’ll have been to every Disney park in the world, and my mother and I have taken two Star Wars Day at Sea Disney cruises and are booked for our third next spring. I was really happy when Disney acquired Lucasfilm, I felt like these folks know how to take care of my childhood, and they’ve certainly proven that to be true. And I love that my two major fandoms now live in the same place, and I can wear head to toe Star Wars gear and be perfectly dressed for the parks! I joke with my partner that I’m basically a teenage boy, I only want to see Marvel and Star Wars movies, basically anything with super heroes or explosions in space, and I love sci fi and fantasy TV shows, and I never pass a comic store without going in. Because of “Looking for Leia” I’d say my Star Wars fandom, which is usually pretty central, is definitely occupying all of my bandwidth right now!
Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?
I think it’s funny how we gender things. Like droids, why do droids have gender? We assign qualities to gendered fandom that I think are arbitrary. Princesses are for everyone, and warriors are for everyone, and these can be two different categories or one category. Having said that, I love seeing how women show up in fandom, because one thing that is true of geeks is that we are often drawn to these stories of outsiders struggling to find their way in the world because they mirror our own struggles, our own sense of alienation and dreams of belonging and comradeship and heroism. Right now, my favorite thing in the world is how women have taken Claudia Gray’s concept of “Huttslayer” Leia from “Bloodline” and completely redefined the cosplay and character associated with “Slave Leia,” totally upending the male gaze and reclaiming the agency and self-determination of that character. To use a phrase I heard repeatedly when asking women about female characters in Star Wars, that’s badass.
What cool Fangirl related project or projects are you working on that you would like to share?
I am currently working on “Looking for Leia,” a documentary about Star Wars fangirls. Those that want to learn more or Fangirls interested in Getting Involved can visit www.annaliseophelian.com or www.lookingforleia.com!
Thanks again Annalise for answering these questions and letting us to get to know you and your fandom better.
Sailor Moon R The Movie in Select Theaters Starting 1/19/17
Sailor Moon comes to the big screen in her first dazzling movie! Uncut and for the first time in theaters. Join Sailor Moon on an adventure to save not only the world, but also her true love! This limited engagement also includes the North American debut of the original theatrical short, Make Up! Sailor Guardians and exclusive extras. A special bonus gift will be given to ticket holders while supplies last.
Looking at the list of theaters, this Fangirl is disappointed that only one theater, The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Township, MI, will be showing this in my area. However, the good news is that there will be two showings, one of 1/19/17 and the other on 1/23/17, both at 7PM. Tickets are not available to buy for these showings yet. Hopefully, I will be able to buy tickets to one of these. Otherwise, I will have to wait until this is available on BluRay or via streaming.
You can find more details on other locations in the U.S. and to buy tickets here.
December 18, 2015 saw the offical release of Star Wars The Force Awakens. I, like many fans, had questions going into the film based on what had been revealed through the trailers, posters, commercials and other promotional materials. Below are some of these questions and my thoughts on what was revealed when I watched this film
Warning: May contain light spoilers, but trust me, nothing major, yet….
Who are all these new characters and what is their role in the Star Wars saga?
This has been a big question since the names were revealed through the trading cards, especially Rey and Finn, who did not have last names. The Force Awakens reveals a bit about who each of these characters are, but does this, for me, in an unexpected, but satisfying way. This film also leaves room to reveal more about their pasts and of course their role in the entire Star Wars saga. I will need to watch the movie again, a few more times, before I dive deep into each of these characters.
Where is Luke?
Ever since the release of the official posters, there were many, like me, that asked this question. I thought that this was a marketing decision on Lucasfilm’s or Disney’s part to increase the hype. However, this is actually a plot point in the movie that carries all the characters in the story forward.
What is a Snoke?
This is the question asked by my friends at Fangirls Going Rogue. Supreme Commander Snoke, Leader of The First Order, can be seen and heard during the film, but I really do not believe we get enough about who or what this character really is. Hopefully, Star Wars Episode VIII will reveal more.
What happened to Han and Leia after Return of The Jedi?
When I heard confirmation that these characters were to appear in the film, this is one of the biggest questions I had. I like many others believe they lived ‘happily ever after’ after the Battle of Endor. The Force Awakens not only shows us what happened to them, but it is for me, one of the most emotional arcs of the entire film.
What were your questions going into the film?
As you can see, I have my ticket to see Star Wars The Force Awakens this afternoon! #FangirlFlail!!!
This Everyday Fangirl is very excited to see this new movie and will be posting my spoiler free thoughts and feelings right after I see it today.
May The Force Be With You!
I was not able to attend the premiere myself, but 2 of my friends, Richard and Sarah Woloski were not only there, but were interviewed by several news outlets as well!
Photo via Tricia Barr’s Facebook page
In addition, this premiere was streamed live via StarWars.com and I was able to watch part of this. Not only was it fun to watch, but loved seeing all the stars in their finery and hearing the interviews!
Below are some of my favorite moments from the live stream:
Carrie Fisher with a microphone doing an interview! This was towards the end of the red carpet event and is well worth watching again! She is amazing, funny and an inspiration!
The entire broadcast is now available to view via the StarWars YouTube channel!
Well today is the world premiere of Star Wars The Force Awakens in Los Angeles. This launches Star Wars The Force Awakens week! #FangirlFlail!
Therefore, no surprise, most of the posts this week will be about this topic.
I will also be posting about this topic on TheCantinaCast.net!
Like many, I vow to do what I can to not blog about spoilers, at least until after the holidays. However, if I do, then I will post a warning.
Even though I will not be at red carpet event, I will watching this via a live stream hosted by Andi Gutierrez, Anthony Carboni, and my online friend, David Collins.
This is an exciting time and I cannot wait to share my thoughts and feelings with all of The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl readers.
Have a great Star Wars The Force Awakens
week and May The Force Be With You, Always!
Today, this everyday fangirl is excited to welcome Hansi Oppenheimer from Troubled Girl Films about her latest creative endevor, Squee! The Fangirl Documentary Project.
What does the title of this documentary signify?
“Squee” is a sound some think fangirls make. At least that is how pop culture sees it. I chose it as the title since it’s the sound of joy and excitement and that’s one of the things I most love about fandom and fangirls in particular. Fandom is one place you can express your feelings – whatever they are – and show your passions and excitement. So I am calling the film ‘Squee’ because it’s all about Fangirls, their community, creativity and expressing joy.
I’m very involved in fandom & fan culture. My previous film, Color Me Obsessed, is an oral history of the the band The Replacements as told by their fans. The Village Voice called this unique take “the Rashamon of rock-docs.” After Color Me Obsessed, I struggled with a film about fanfic for a while, but then I realized that my interest in it was because fanfic is primarily written and read by women. I’m very interested in the creation of fanworks and transmedia, fandom as community, especially how women bond on tumblr, LJ and other platforms.
I think being an artist is all about accepting your own madness. Allen Ginsberg said “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” Funnily enough, I met Ginsberg back in the late 80’s. I was briefly in the lock up ward with Allen’s lover, Peter Orlovsky. When Allen visited him, I asked him to sign the book I was reading. He signed it “Dearest Hansi, So Happy To See You Here” (signed Allen Ginsberg)” Insanity and a sense of humor are the things that allow me to continue to make art.
I hope my work expresses my humor, a little craziness and my respect for freedom of thought. As JG Ballard said “In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom.“
First and foremost, I love listening to stories.
Mostly, I talk to people. I think everyone has a valid story to tell and I’m always happy to hear them. When I’m not working, one of my favorite things is to sit in an “old man” dive bar and talk to the old regulars. But I also do research all the time. My background prior to film was as a tape librarian. I’m a huge meta and aca-fan and I read tons of essays on everything pop culture related.
Currently I’m an uber- fan of Supernatural and The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Sherlock, also-Torchwood, Constantine, Bates Motel, Bob’s Burgers, American Horror Story, Grimm, Gotham, Arrow, Flash, anything by Joss Whedon (BTVS is my #1 first fandom), Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, Agent Carter, X-Files, The Tick, The Guild, Big Bang Theory, Star Wars Rebels, Twin Peaks, Robot Chicken…
I have a pretty dark sense of humor.
Buffy. Whenever I have a really bad day, I cue up a marathon and weep my eyes out and then I’m all better.
I’m an old punk rock chick. I worked on “zines’ back in the day and spent a lot of my youth at CBGB’s.
I’ve worked as a tape librarian, worked in the porn industry (in post production) been an actress in My Name is Earl, Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Life on Mars, Californication, Law and Order, Brain Games, Dexter among other shows. I was the writer/creator/producer on Color Me Obsessed, I’ve taught kids how to make films at DCTV, work at the Tribeca Film Festival every year, worked with the Big Apple Circus, at Lincoln Center and The Daryl Roth Theater. I spend as much time at cons as possible and will be hosting a fangirl podcast on http://thesupernaughts.com/ in May.
When will the project you are working be completed?
Squee should be starting to “squeen” at festivals and cons in late 2015.
Anything else you would like to share?
People can donate funds to help with our post production costs at gofund.me/squeefangirlfilm or help by liking and sharing our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fangirlproject or our Tumbler http://squeefangirlproject.tumblr.com/ or follow us on Twitter @troubledgirl.
Well it is a new year and there are many things this Everyday Fangirl is looking forward to including…
Movies and Television Series
My husband and I cannot believe that this series is only six episodes. However, we plan on watching each one the week it airs!
I love all the characters, especially Hera and Sabine. I am very curious to see how their adventures tie into the entire Star Wars Saga, especially during the last half of Season 1 and of course the beginning of Season 2.
You are probably not surprised by this one. However, you probably did not know that I plan to take a day off from work to see this, right?
Sailor Moon Crystal Black Moon Arc and Sailor Moon R & S with the new English dub
I cannot wait to see this arc in all it’s glory. And of course the trailer for Sailor Moon Crystal gave us a glimpse of how glorious this arc looks! In reference to the new dub for Sailor Moon R and S is who will voice Chibiusa and the Outer Sailor Scouts, especially Sailor Pluto!
Doctor Who Series 9
I am excited to see more adventures with Clara and The Twelfth Doctor!
Books, Manga and Comics
Doctor Who Comics by Titan
I did not pick up any of the new Doctor Who comics published by Titan in 2014. Therefore, in 2015 I have every issue released so far and new issues to look forward to. I am especially excited for the just announced comic stories with additional adventures with Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness and The Ninth Doctor!
A book with Asajj Ventress and the unorthodox Jedi Quinlan Vos in it? This has the makings of one crazy adventure story!
Ultimate Star Wars by JW Rinzler
I just love Star War Reference books that covers many aspects of the saga. However, I usually do not look forward to them before they come out. This one is an exception because portions of the book are written by fellow Fangirl and friend Tricia Barr. I just had to place my pre-order on Barnes and Noble for this!
Peace Talks by Jim Butcher, Book 16 of the Dresden Files
I have no information on what the plot is or what the cover looks like, but every Harry Dresden audiobook is a MUST buy for my husband and I as soon as it is released!
This is the ultimate Star Wars fan experience and I cannot wait to walk the Dealer Room, go to panels, meet fellow Fangirls and doing the Fangirl flail with them and of course watch the live performance of Smuggler’s Bounty
Motor City Comic Con
This is my neighborhood comic con and has always been a good time and I am looking forward to see which guests I will meet this year!
So what are you looking forward to in 2015? Did any of yours match mine or is there something on yours that I should add?