Knowing via a prophecy that they are destined for a gruesome death, a hedonistic, genderqueer Roman Emperor Elagabalus embraces a life of luxury and excess.
Much to the dismay of their controlling mother Symiamira, Elagabalus is enamoured by a dashing charioteer Hierocles, who is keen to rise the ranks.
As their affair continues, Elagabalus’ habits grow increasingly sadistic and jealous. Hierocles and Symiamira realise they have lost control and must band together to fulfil destiny.
Told through a chorus of eccentric drag performers, tableaux vivants and a musical number, the film culminates in a recreation of the The Roses of Heliogabalus, where everybody is suffocated to death by a cavalcade of rose petals.
The 12-minute film is an Australian Film, Television & Radio School production and Masters major work for the primary creatives.
Pre-production: Feb 2019
Shoot: 18th – 22nd March 2019
Post-production: April 2019
AFTRS deadline: October 2019
WHY MAKE THIS FILM
The story of Elagabalus is a particularly personal one for our Director Xanthe Dobbie. As a queer person who does not align with a gendered binary structure, the discovery of the subversive genderqueer Emperor of Rome, Elagabalus, struck a deep, representational chord.
So much of queer history has been erased, given the chance, it is our duty to resurface what has been taken from us. While LGBTQIA+ media is slowly becoming part of the mainstream non-binary stories remain a relatively untapped area.
We have and will continue to create opportunities for femme, queer, trans and non-binary people in our cast and crew. The film requires a large ensemble cast including the three leads, the drag chorus and extras for the extravagant final feast scene. Gender imbalance and essentialism continue to be widely perpetuated in the film industry and we want to actively work against that in the crewing of this film.
We have the support and infrastructure of AFTRS behind us including studios, equipment, and a budget of $10,000 already, but to bring this exuberant and important film to life we need to raise an additional $15,000 to cover the significant costs involved in production.
HOW WILL YOUR DONATIONS BE USED?
– Production Design and Art Department
We need a large amount for set construction and the neo-historical set pieces, as well as the costumes inspired by club kids and new wave drag.
– Production and catering costs
With up to 45 cast & crew on key shooting days, it’s imperative that we have the resources to provide food and drink.
– Final scene and VFX
The final scene requires a combination of in-camera and digital VFX, 30,000 petals, rigging to make them fall and a variety of test shooting prior.
– Camera equipment
– Post-production costs: colour grading, sound design & mixing