Article Title:OutTakes: Wellington filmmaker takes on gay threesome
Category:Movies
Author or Credit:David Parrish
Published on:27th May 2006 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:1260
Text:When Wellington filmmaker Naomi Wallwork was looking to create a short documentary, she needed only to ask the neighbours for help. No ordinary neighbours, but three gay guys living across the road in a 'polyamorous' relationship. That's right – a permanent threesome! Chris, Kris and Andy were more than willing to help, and the documentary Chris, Kris and I was borne and premieres at this year's Out Takes Reel Queer Film Festival. Wallwork, 30, worked as a lawyer for 6 years, but just last year decided to take the leap into filmmaking, and attended the New Zealand Film and Television School in Wellington. Seven years ago she was flat-hunting, and when visiting one place high in the hills, she encountered "one of the Chris's," she recalls. “He was very open, saying, 'I live here with my two partners.'" Wallwork's curiosity was instantly twigged: "Whoa! Tell us some more!" Wallwork didn't move in, but over the years admits the three men were frequently part of her 'dinner party conversation', which would start with, "I once met these three guys..." Most straight friends found it an amusing anecdote. As fate would have it, Wallwork and her boyfriend moved in last year directly across the road from the polyamorous guys. Wallwork was studying film and needed subjects for a documentary. "They were my first choice," she says, "so I just knocked on the door." So the 'subjects' clearly came first for Wallwork. She was curious as to how a three-way relationship would work. After all, "it's hard enough with two sometimes!" There had been a small flurry of media attention, with newspapers and 60 Minutes exploring polyamorous relationships, but Wallwork noticed the focus was more on heterosexual threesomes. "To me," she explains, "they weren't really equal three-way relationships, just people who had two partners but the other partners weren't connected, whereas these guys are completely equal… they're all equally in love." "After talking to them one night, I could see how it works for them. In a relationship you have different interests, and sometimes they don't mesh with each other. Whereas, in their relationship, there's always one other person who may like to do the same thing. They call it 'sharing the burden' and I think it's true. With just two people you have to find out ways to work around your different interests. With another person, you've got another option." "I wanted people to see that this kind of relationship can work, and that it's just like any other relationship, in that there's nothing to be afraid of, really." It is difficult for most people to understand the dynamics of a three-way relationship, admits Wallwork, and friends have reacted differently to the film. "Some people can't get past the homosexuality or the 'weirdness'," she says. But she doesn't seem fazed. Her partner watched it – “What cool guys," he said. "That's really nice." People love stories about relationships, says Wallwork, and this story "is like any relationship story – people like to hear about how people get together. I wanted to depict a loving relationship that's slightly different from the norm, and open people's minds up to it." Wallwork and her partner aren't considering broadening their relationship to include a third person anytime soon though. "I can't see it working for us," she exclaims laughing. "We'd both have to be bisexual to be equally attracted to another person, so no." And with her partner not there to represent himself, that line of questioning is necessarily short-lived. Wallwork doesn't really worry if her choice of film topic may rile conservatives or fundamentalists. She thinks the Out Takes audience will be receptive. "I sometimes worry about the guys though," she says. In terms of backlash, "there is a worry if it was broadcast more widely." But then again, Wallwork and her partner are only across the road and would be among the first to know if the fundies came knocking. 'Chris, Kris and I' plays at the Out Takes Real Queer Film Festival – preceding the feature – in Auckland tonight, 27 May, and in Wellington on 4 June. David Parrish - 27th May 2006    
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