“I want to be weird” (i. Ég vil vera skrítin) is one of the documentaries premiering at the Icelandic documentary festival Skjaldborg this weekend. The documentary follows British artist Kitty Von-Sometime who has lived in Iceland for nine years and is known for “The Weird Girls Project”, an ongoing beautiful, strange, unearthly and fairy tale like art film series that were created to empower the women who take part in them. She just finished her 25th project in collaboration with CREEP and Sia.
Kitty Von-Sometime is usually the one behind the camera but this time around she’s the subject. “I’m terrified”, when asked how she feels before the premiere of the documentary. “It’s not because I’m camera shy, I’m really not. It’s just that people who know who I am but don’t really know me are going to form an opinion of me.”
The filming took four and a half-years and the concept changed quite a lot during that period of time. It started out as a documentation of The Weird Girls Project but in the end the filmmakers turned their attention to Kitty instead.
“It’s the biggest selfie ever,” she says laughing, “although it’s not really my film, but I’m happy with it. It does feel strange seeing yourself through the eyes of others, though of course I can’t really see me in the same way as the audience will see me. I will always know what’s going on behind the scenes,” Kitty says referring to the different periods of her life that she went through while the documentary was being filmed. “There were things going on in my personal life that the audience won’t be aware of, but I’ll always associate with that. And I admit that I feel vain when seeing unflattering shots of myself, but that’s just silly.”
And that opens the discussion of Kitty’s passion and the reason the documentary was made in the first place: The Weird Girls Project.
“I was just so fed up with women being bothered about the way they look and their lack of confidence,” Kitty says about what sparked the first Weird Girls project. “When I did the first one, it was just an experiment. The second was more of the format it is now and was done to the GusGus song ´I want to be a freak´ and it’s about steeping out of normal life. I wanted to push women to do something they were not used to.”
This experiment grew very quickly into something much bigger and now Kitty just finished her 25th video of The Weird Girls Project, most of them were done in Iceland but a few were commissioned work abroad.
“I’m terrified…Is not because I’m camera shy, I’m really not. It’s just that people who know who I am but don’t really know me are going to form an opinion of me.”
“It’s always such a struggle funding the project, and for the most part I pay for it myself and then my crew work for free, which I hate and I hope I’ll be able to repay them some day. A big part of the documentary is about that struggle.”
Money may be hard to come by for Kitty but the same is not said about women and there is even a waiting list filled with names of women that really want to work with Kitty and be a part of The Weird Girls Project.
“The women come to me and ask to take part.” They are most likely attracted to the empowerment and the aesthetics of the films, and who wouldn’t want to be in a film that brings out the uniqueness and beauty of the people in it. “I just spent the last day editing the behind the scenes footage from my last project and all of the women talk about a sense of massive power. Some of them had been freaking out the day before about what body part was showing, but everybody felt good, attractive, and confident. And when I put them all together they just lose their self-consciousness.”
Each film Kitty makes shows a group of beautiful girls in amazing costumes. Nothing new there, one might think, since there are beautiful girls in costumes in millions of videos and films. Except that is something quite different about The Weird Girls Projects since the women you see in the films are women you see everyday, at work, at school, out in the street and most importantly in the mirror and their beauty is not being portrayed in the way the media has gotten us used to. They might even be wearing rabbit heads or masks or nothing at all or spandex like in Kitty’s favourite film.
“That was the one we did at Þórsmörk, that was something magical about that one. Furthermore I love it when we shoot somewhere outside the city and we have to spend the night and the girls get to bond.”
Kitty’s latest project, her 25th one and her new favorite is a music video for a band called CREEP, the song was co-written by CREEP and Sia and Sia sings it.
“This new video really focuses on the message and it’s visually phenomenal.” Sia is one of the biggest music stars today so this must mean that Kitty will get a lot of attention which Kitty welcomes since she want’s to spread the message. “CREEP really wanted the message to get across because they support beauty in all shapes.”
Main photo: Kitty Von-Sometime, by Jeaneen Lund. Below trailer from I want to be weird, directed by Brynja Dögg Friðriksdóttir.