In my initial research for documentary ideas for Global (Shaw) TV’s documentary strand on subcultures I came across the usual suspects, the Furries, the Lolita Girls in Japan, the Mods etc, but it was an item on Erika Eiffel and her marriage to the Eiffel Tower that stopped me in my tracks. I learned she was part of a growing subculture of people who have intimate and emotional relations with objects rather than humans, Objectum Sexuals (OS).
The first question, “How does that work?” hit me immediately. Quickly, it became evident to me that it does work for OS people and so I started my journey to learn about the “how” part. My research also showed that there has hardly been any documentaries or studies on Objectum-Sexuality that go deeper than the superficial titillation.
I am fortunate that Shaw loved the project and came fully on board. And, further more, I am extremely grateful to my five wonderful characters who have bravely opened their lives to answer the “how” part. All my characters have put themselves at risk of ridicule, losing friends and even losing their jobs in committing to the film. They all feel that it’s a valid sexual orientation, and that the troubles they most surely will face as a result of the film will perhaps make it easier for OS people in the future to declare their love of objects. The validation they seek will take years.
Their courage and commitment have raised my own level of involvement. The struggle for acceptance is at the heart of the film and the ‘how does it work’ is the vehicle to get there. At first, I thought I was making an objective film about OS, but very quickly I realized that the documentary had to be more subjective – about them, their lives and their loves. As a result there aren’t any ‘authorities’ on the subject or any psychological explanations. I wanted to let the characters speak to the viewer directly, personally. In order not to get between the characters and the viewer I kept the style of the film direct and simple; the camera focused on the characters.
I tasked my self to tell their stories sympathetically, honestly and fairly by asking them all the difficult questions that most people have about OS and I have challenged their beliefs that inanimate objects can be a source of love. Take away the fact that their love is an object and no one could tell that the OSers were not talking about a human being.
My characters’ classic love stories, full of ups and downs, loves lost and regained, frustrations and sheer joy impregnate the film with an emotional drive. And, as Erika says “I am not doing any harm to myself, or to anyone else and I am happy. I want to live and love out loud.”
Indeed the film is about a subculture of people within the spectrum of humanity – but it’s not a film about sub-humans. I ‘love’ my characters and am exhilarated to have made a film about them, with them.