Framed Youth – the revenge of the teenage perverts! (1983)

I joined the very ad hoc Lesbian and Gay Youth Video Project in 1982 and we (about 25 young lesbians and gays) made this video about ourselves, our friends and some strangers(!). We were challenging the ways that conventional documentary makers were showing lesbians and gay men on television documentaries and so wanted to include ourselves as makers and as subjects, not in any way trying to be balanced. We found ways to film each other that helped us feel comfortable and we did loads of experiments using the new VHS and Betamax cameras. When the editing came to be done the new technology of the freeze frame helped disguise some dodgily shot interviews but also had the great effect of helping the viewer to concentrate on what was being said. So what with adding in clips of tv and films as comment and videoing what we shot in the street on a monitor (to highlight the outside ‘straight’ world) we were throwing away all the conventions in the book, not to mention chopping up what we said underneath all the freeze frames to make it sound better – we ended up getting an award for Best Documentary from the BFI in 1983 and being shown on Channel 4 (at midnight in a youth slot) in 1986.

“Made by, for and about young gay people, with rising stars of the time Jimi Somerville and Isaac Julien among a host of others, Framed Youth won the John Grierson Award for documentary. Television hadn’t seen such real lesbians and gay men talking honestly about their lives. Offering instant 80s nostalgia for an alternative club scene and a pop video informed exuberance.” 17th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

“Cheeky British lesbian and gay teenagers hit London’s streets with video cameras and microphones to confront normals’ views on homosexuality. The results are both humorous and revealing. Produced by the teenagers themselves, Framed Youth features a segment by Bronski Beat’s Jimi Somerville.” PlanetOut PopcornQ Movies

2 thoughts on “Framed Youth – the revenge of the teenage perverts! (1983)”

  1. I thought Framed Youth was bloody brilliant. I was 15 when it was shown on C4. I watched it on an ancient black and white tiny tv that was bought the year before I was born, in the security of my bedroom. It was, and remains, one of the most powerful and memorable things I’ve ever seen on tv. The one thing you desperately want as a gay youth still living at home is to be made to feel alright and legitimate, and Framed Youth helped me realise that.

    From a distance it was assertive, scruffy, politicised and incredibly proud. From up close it was exactly those things that made me feel validated. A voice in the (cliche’d) dark. It was a product of its time, but thank god for that, cos there weren’t many others. To me it was worth more than a thousand EastEnders kisses and I hold the upmost respect for all those who took part. Thank you for showing what was possible

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