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Photo #4 - Sophie C.jpeg

Sophie Camus

Hailing from Northern Virginia, Sophie Camus knew performing would be her life from her first acting gig at age four. After experimenting with theatre, painting, fashion, and writing, she fell into the world of filmmaking, joining Marymount’s Film Production BFA program in 2022. Sophie is excited by combining seemingly disparate references to create invigorating and uncompromising films which pull from the many artforms she’s loved. Grounded in personal experience, she hopes to reframe women’s disability representation in film.

Artist Statement

Grace follows a young woman, Jo, at a pivotal moment of her life, forced to confront her progressing disability. She is emotionally wounded, and her unresolved trauma is bleeding into her relationships, with herself and others. Called out for her desperate attempts at control by her close friend Viv, Jo realizes that healing was never something she had to obtain from others. She had the power all along and chooses to use it. The past cultural perception of disabled women in the visual arts makes it clear why it's imperative to show a woman with no obligations to being visually appealing, sexually enticing or holy. In fact, the protagonist of Grace, Jo, struggles to be any of these things, but her failure to conform does not make her any less worthy of being our onscreen heroine. This film incorporates themes of embracing vulnerability and reclaiming autonomy. It aims to respectfully respond to outdated perceptions of women with disabilities, creating a subversive work that emboldens those who view it to reclaim their power. Grace should appeal to any supporters of women in film; however, the target audience is specifically Gen Z women who identify as disabled and/or chronically ill, who feel unseen and powerless against worldly circumstances. The traditionally feminine visual style of Grace was chosen with this audience in mind. Plenty of films exist within the masculinized gaze, lacking beauty and alienating a significant portion of the audience. In this film, beauty is a means of symbolic reclamation meant to draw in the audience. Community engagement will focus efforts on the platform Tumblr, which has a significant body of chronically ill users, film buffs, activists, and lovers of feminine aesthetics, making it perfect for Grace. Eventually, Grace will find a home streaming online, as this is most accessible for those with chronic illnesses and disabilities. With that said, it will move through the festival circuit as well.  

The visual language of Grace was decided early on, with historical art references serving as the primary inspiration. For example, the opening scene in Jo’s bedroom is a nod to the many “odalisque” paintings in existence, reclaimed as a symbol of rest, not sexual obligation. Environments, like Jo’s pink-curtained bedroom or the cement-walled karaoke room, were carefully chosen to reflect the mental state of the characters therein, often resulting in a striking juxtaposition from one scene to the next. The result is a bittersweet tone, reflecting both the sorrow and hope of living with disabilities.  

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