That’s Sex is an experimental documentary that intertwines intimate documentary-style accounts of sexual experiences among people between the ages of 13 to 65 with an abstract dream narrative of two characters who will decide by the end of the night whether or not they will lose their virginity to each other.
The doc started as a sophomore project in a hybrid media studies/video production class. The original project challenged student documentarists to make a short video based on “two sides of a story.” Raeann Drew, along with two other classmates, chose the subject “whether or not to wait until marriage to lose your virginity.”
An editing snafu left the students with 6 hours of footage captured into the computer that was only audio, no visual. With the semester clock ticking, the students chose to abandon the idea of recapturing the footage and delve deep into their creative side by coming up with alternative video.
That’s Sex has been an elusive audio piece that seems to escape any video to match its content. The group tried a photography series, but it just didn’t seem to work. By the time the second solution was reached, drawings by Raeann’s friend, the semester clock had stopped ticking and That’s Sex had to be surrendered to Father Time.
As the tapes for That’s Sex began to collect dust and sophomores turned into juniors, a very tragic and personal event happened. On July 11th, 2006, Raeann’s friend, who had done the drawings that would have accompanied the documentary audio, killed herself. Lani McCrone was a twenty-year-old animation major at The University of the Arts.
As juniors turned into seniors, Raeann carried the sadness of loss with her into the new and exciting year. As a dedication to her friend and a burning drive to once and for all climb this visual stumbling block, That’s Sex has turned into Raeann’s senior project.
May 22nd is graduation and the semester clock will stop ticking for good. The documentary has been a challenge for Raeann because not only are sorrowful feelings of her friend’s death being rehashed, but trepidation and anxiety of letting go of her college experience are tossed into the mix as well. Finishing this documentary has been an emotionally exhausting experience.
The new visuals will be of a dream sequence. A lot of research took place within the first semester, and the narrative relates a lot to the idea of dream symbolism and interpretation, as well as the idea of the “surreal.” Often times, losing ones virginity can be somewhat of a surreal, dream-like experience. The film is based on one quote and an idea. The first, a quote from “Talk Dirty to Me, an Intimate Philosophy of Sex” by Sallie Tilsdale, that says, “virginity begins, for each of us, when we enter through a door we know that we can never go back through.” The idea comes from an Australian news article that says we spend 6 years of our lives living in our dreams. Another inspiration for the doc also comes from the animation Waking Life, which features a character who cannot escape his own dreams.
That’s Sex is currently in production stage and will continue throughout the spring with post production.