After 10 years of silence, Sofia D'Marco has written her personal real life experience of captivity into a narrative screenplay. It is not just a ‘rape’ story, ‘this is how I lost my virginity’ is about breaking silence - using art to let others know they are not alone.
‘This is how I lost my virginity’ is a real story.
After being violently abducted off the streets, Sara Martinez is taken to a remote location, only to realize that her kidnapper is no stranger. Written and starring the young woman it actually happened to, the short materializes a moment that has defined her life as a woman - she endured a torturous love story between a thug and his unwilling bride.
Through the honest story of Sara and Loco, the film explores consent and why no one seems to have ever met a rapist before. In Loco’s opinion, this is a love story - a modern day Romeo and Juliet. In actuality, Sara is his Rosalind- not his Juliet. It was our pleasure to interview Claire Chubbuck for Toronto Film Magazine.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?
My best friend wrote her tragic real-life experience of teenage abduction, torture and captivity into a narrative screenplay that she wanted to create for catharsis. Yeah - I wanted to make this film with her! And that was the start of how I became a director.
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a filmmaker and why?
Horror and pornography. Both of these genres take over the body, stimulating the senses whether you like it or not. Fear and sex are strong motivators, and I believe those can inspire legitimate change in the hearts and minds of the viewers.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker in the film industry?
The future. Now is the time for independent creators to change the filmmaking landscape. Prior to the pandemic, the Hollywood industrial complex was pumping out the same bullshit, creating an intellectual void in current culture. Society already needed new voices to shout into it. Then the pandemic hit, shutting down those large-scale productions, allowing for a reprieve of standard content, which, in turn, has created a space that independent content can fill.
How difficult is it to fund indie films?
Well, we crowdfunded. Everyone should do a crowdfunding campaign before they die! It showed me who my people were - and helped me find new ones. To my people, I love you. You really came through for me and it was noticed. Our families really stepped up, well…most of them. I was surprised when our efforts were ignored by family and friends that were in Sofia’s life at the time. Perhaps I should not have been so surprised.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?
Wes Craven has greatly impacted my storytelling - he chose subject matters that are hard to watch and represented them as that. The cinematography is inspired by a different Wes, Wes Anderson. The way he specifically manipulates sound and image to transport audiences into an experience.
I am taking the darkness found in Craven’s work and adding the levity from Anderson. The combination of beauty and the things we fear can merge, finding beauty in the brokenness. The film is meant to encourage women to speak up for who they are by breaking their own forced silence. Speaking their truth - without shame.
What inspired you to work on This Is How I lost My Virginity and how did the film go into production?
Through Sofia’s real story, I am trying to demonstrate a societal problem that I see, and that no one seems to be talking about. There is a wider context to mismatches of perception around sex, and the role it has in the widespread epidemic of sexual assault. For evolutionary/cultural reasons, mainly heterosexual males have a tendency to over-estimate their own attractiveness in the eyes of the opposite sex and to misinterpret women’s responses to them as signifying more sexual interest than it does. Then they take it personal if you don’t – a rock in a literal hard place. To put it bluntly, many men appear to confuse desire with desirability and politeness with consent. Until the legal system catches up, we have to be clear (by which I mean rude). Some will take this personally, attacks may increase as a result, but when the violence is brought to the light - lawmakers will have to do something.
How did you find the cast and the crew of the film? Tell us more about the production of the film and working on the set of the film to create this feature.
I found a community of artists through Ivana Chubbuck Studios, the acting studio where I teach. Through teaching, I learned how to direct actors, and also found a group of actors whom I love. As a community, we inclusively collaborated on a new way to find hope, healing, and strength.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
The next project I am working on is a documentary series about the battle for Capitol Hill between the citizens, the Seattle Police Department, and the superheroes sworn to protect them both. I was actually arrested during the filming of this doc! We got in there, and now, I am taking a look at what is right – and what is legal.
Why do you make films?
Humanity can be shared with stories. I see ‘this is how I lost my virginity’ (a short film) as a piece of art. All film is art. It reflects society while molding the future ideals of culture and its behavior.