Hendrik Ströhle - 'Touch Me' Director Q&A
Our Online Programme features 3 short documentaries, and we're blessed to include 'Touch Me' in their number. Touch Me is a taboo shattering short film exploring disability and sex, and was a BAFTA student film nominee. We touched base with German director, Hendrik Ströhle
VFF: Your film is highly graphic. How important is this footage / audio for helping to breakdown the taboos that you’re tackling?
HS: During the making of the film, it was interesting for us to see how an audience would react when sex is not portrayed by people who comply to standard beauty norms. I do think that people would consider the film "less graphic“ if my protagonist was young and not disabled. Actually that was one of the main reasons why I shot this film: I wanted to question the image that we have of sexuality and intimacy and I wanted to find out more about the nuances and difficulties that true intimacy requires.
VFF: Did your own attitude towards sex workers change during the making of the film? What was the most surprising thing you learnt whilst making it?
HS: I think what surprised me, was the amount of care and warmth that I was allowed to witness during the shooting. For me, Thomas practices an approach to sex work that acknowledges the sexual needs of his clients but is also equally sensitive to the longing for intimacy, warmth and love. With the film I wanted to find out where this approach finds its limits. How does a relationship work, where one is emotionally invested and the other is ultimately offering a payed service? VFF: Touch Me tackles a really important subject - what topics are you interested in exploring in your upcoming work?
HS: I spent the last six months in Namibia, where gender based violence is a constant struggle. When incidents occur in the family or at school, the crime is often swept under the rug. For my next film, I spoke with survivors as well as perpetrators who break the taboo and talk about the events that shaped their lives.
Touch Me is available as part of Visability Film Festival online, February 19-28, available through Eventbrite