GIRLS WHO ARE BOYS, WHO LIKE BOYS TO BE GIRLS..
24 July 2012
|Talent:||Norman Hull, Director|
|Client:||Channel Four, RizeUK Televison|
|Title:||True Stories: The Girl Who Became Three Boys|
With “Girls who are boys, Who like boys to be girls, Who do boys like they´re girls, Who do girls like they´re boys” ringing in my head. I was determined to learn more about the making of this most bizarre documentary about the case of Gemma Barker, who created different male identities to go on dates with girls and was subsequently imprisoned. Meeting the director Norman Hull shed some light on how it came to screen:
How did this story come to your attention?
The Executive Producer Sheldon Lazarus at Rize UK Television called me and offered me the gig.
Was you aware of Gemma Barker before and what hooked you to want to make this film?
I wasn't aware of Gemma Barker before - but what hooked me was that it was such a bizarre story.
Was it a straightforward process? Did Gemma’s family, friends and her victims want to be involved?
It was far from straightforward. All we had were interviews with the two victims - and one of those is in silhouette. The Surrey Police refused to co-operate, as did Gemma's family and most of her friends. I thought I might be able to dramatise some of it (what a great part for an actress, playing a girl and three different boys) but unfortunately this wasn't possible. So we were struggling for material. But we got there in the end.
How did you approach the material and decide whose story this would be?
One of the victims is quite a character and gave a very good interview. I suppose - in the absence of Gemma Barker herself - that it's the victim's story. I decided the best approach was to rely on interviews. It seems to have worked.
What challenges did you find most trying whilst piecing the story together?
The lack of co-operation from the police was very frustrating. They had footage of the "boy" they arrested, which would have been great to use. And of course Gemma's interview under caution (once they realised the arrested "boy" was really a girl). They wouldn't let us have anything, not even an interview.
Are you pleased with the final cut and what do you want an audience to take away with them?
Given the difficulties we had in telling the story, I have to say that yes I'm happy with the end result. I think the audience will be left with a sense of astonishment that this very hard to believe story actually happened.
You can watch the trailer here.
Edited by Tariq Wahr