Slash (film)

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Title: Slash
Commentator: Clay Liford
Date(s): 2016
Medium: film
External Links:
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Slash is a 2016 independent film directed and produced by Clay Liford.

It was based on a short 2012 film of the same name, also by Clay Liford. [1]

The film focuses on a teen boy who discovers he identifies with the slash fanfiction community—writers who imagine that their favorite male characters are actually queer and in love. It's a tale that intends to be a loving, fun look at the often-marginalized plethora of slash fans on the Internet." [2]

"Erotic fan fiction is not just a funny concept... SLASH is a comedy that embraces the world of fan fiction and its writers. This is a film that will connect with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, or struggled to figure out where they fit in." [3]

The film was funded by a Kickstarter campaign: 585 backers pledged $45,232.

Interviews with Liford

Daily Dot

Both quotes are from New Kickstarter for a slash fiction film unsettles the fandom community.

How did you first find out about slash? Did you have female friends who were into it or did you come to it some other way?:

It began with me reading a pretty big swath of slash fiction on [], amongst other places. We also reached out to quite a number of slash writers for interviews, several of which you’ll be able to see in the coming weeks as we promote the film further. Every attempt has been made to be both respectful and accurate to the community, within the obvious bounds of dramatic storytelling.

While we don’t intend for the movie to be a treatise on slash, we do understand that for many people, this might be their initial exposure to the subject. For those people, I think the takeaway revolves around the universal desire to define yourself. Sexually,’s a quest we all go through. It can be funny at times, but the humor is not of the low-­hanging fruit variety. This is a film where slash writers are the heroes. And the viewer, I honestly feel, will be on board with them for the journey.

Why was it important for you to make your main character a young boy, especially given that slash fandom is so heavily dominated by women?:

I feel that in our society, and I recognize that this is a loaded answer, there’s still quite a bit of pressure on men to be ‘manly.’ So it seems even more dangerous, or subversive even for our questioning character to be male. It makes it that much less socially acceptable. And our male lead’s sexuality is genuinely undefined in traditional terms. He’s not a wolf­ in ­sheep’s­ clothing, so to speak.

What we haven’t really addressed is our second lead. This movie is a true “two-­hander.” It’s a platonic love story between two young souls who, feeling that they were alone in the world, found each other. The questioning teen boy and the slightly older teen girl who also writes slash fiction. And we will be seeing more of her character in the coming days. The actual feature film addresses, several times, the demographic breakdown of slash writers. In fact, Missi Pyle plays the character of “Ronnie,” who is the senior editor of the slash forum on which our characters post their stories.


Both quotes are from: SXSW: Five Questions for Slash Writer/Director Clay Liford.

Slash deals, in part, with a writer of erotic fan fiction. Have you read much erotic fan fiction? What made you set a movie in this world, and is there a specific writer or fictional universe that inspired you?:

Well, now I’ve read a ton of erotic fan fiction, slash and otherwise. That, along with examining the personal correspondences between slash writers, was the primary focus of my research before writing the script. I wasn’t sure what my angle was initially, I was just fascinated with this last remaining vestige of pure fandom. I mean now we live in a very nerd-permissive environment where dude-bro’s watch Star Trek. The fan fiction community is like the last outpost, the Alamo, if you will, of niche fandom. And the moment it all clicked for me was when, after reading many author correspondences, I really began to understand the purpose this form of writing served in their lives. Whether it’s about removing the pervasive male-gaze from sex in the media, or simply a way of coping with a society deemed not ready to accept alternative sexuality. Slash fiction is more political than you’d think!

Although I kept an open mind about everything I read, I’m only human and thus have a few favorites. I’m particularly fond of Harry Potter erotica, mostly because it tends to skew the most literary. I mean I haven’t read any Jane Austen porno yet, so perhaps my opinion might change.

When did you begin developing Slash, and how long did it take to get made? What were the main reasons it took as long as it did — or went as quickly as it did?:

Once I knew I wanted to explore this world, and acknowledging it’s a bit ‘out there,’ I decided to try it as a short first as a sort of proving grounds. That was in 2013. Based upon its positive reception, and the fact that I really grew to care about the protagonists, I bit the bullet on writing a feature script. It took me a while to get past the fact that on a for-profit feature film, I wouldn’t be allowed to use any pre-existing IP’s for my characters to base their erotica on, but I eventually did a bit of “world building” and came up with the Vanguard storyline and associated characters. Getting the tone right was of prime importance to me. I don’t make comedies that play by very traditional rules. I imagine it would be comparatively easy to take particular outsider characters, slash writers, and cast them in a very condescending light. I have no interest in that form of low hanging fruit, especially after living with these characters for so long. It was paramount that the characters be sympathetic and relatable. I really want someone who might find, on the surface, writing erotica about Kirk and Spock ludicrous, to walk away at the very least understanding why the characters do what they do.


Quotes are from an interview conducted by Elizabeth Minkel and Flourish Klink, see A Conversation with Clay Liford.

Clay Liford: I think, you know, if you start thinking too much about these things and you start being worried too much about these things you’ll never make anything. So I, though I worry about these things I worry about them only to a point because I would never leave the house! I would never leave the house if I was worried about every one of these details. And I probably concern myself more than I should. Um, I mean, it is important to me, the whole thing with the community I know that—it’s like, when we make these films it’s like a lot of times we make films about a community without the intent to include that community at all because that’s not your general audience, that’s not the people who are buying tickets or who are streaming it or whatever. But at the same time, it's—I, I feel like you know, hopefully people see the message itself is very positive and want to propagate that.

Because I do think that us doing well, us being well received, and we are being generally well received so far, by the community that actually signs the checks to make those movies, that it’s going to do nothing other than make it easier for the next person. And once that door is open the opening will get larger each time, and I think it’s going to be—and maybe to some degree this is going to sound pretentious and I don’t mean to sound pretentious, but maybe this is the gateway film. For people who don’t really understand the subject. I do honestly believe that it will get easier to get other films about fandom made.

CL: ... We tried to hit it from both angles. We genuinely tried to make the pieces from Neil and Julia not sound goofy. They still sounded like they were from teenagers, but there were no overt jokes in there, and I feel like it would have—to be a comedy, to live in this world, it would have been completely, there’s just no way we can do it and still… Because I think you get to that point and just, everything is too reverent and nothing, everything is too reverent to the point that you can’t laugh about it it’s gonna come off as schmaltzy. We’re already riding the line, it’s the most sentimental movie I’ve ever made. By far and away, I don’t know what that says about me. But I think you have to ride that schmaltz line too. If everything was too congratulatory within the community…

Because I hear a lot of comments, you know, people going “oh, this should have been made from inside the community,” and to some degree I agree with that because the worst thing that could happen would be I made the Adam Sandler movie of this. Right?... Where it’s like “Look at these people!” I can’t do an Adam Sandler voice. (all laugh) You know what I mean? The worst thing I could do would be pointing fingers and laughing because that’s not even how I feel at all, but you know, it—that does nobody any good. But I feel like there’s also the problem, you flip that, where it’s so insider and so reverent that no one else can connect to it and for some people it would reinforce the way they feel about that, not having any knowledge about it. Like, it’s weird, there is a balance.


Many fans found the film to be problematic in that it erased the female history and voices of slash. [4] Other fans found the film's out-datedness to be frustrating and misleading. [5]

Further Reading/Meta


  1. ^ "Yes, it is the same director/writer. I can barely express how incredibly angry the short film he made in 2012 (also called Slash) made me. The world of slash that he portrayed was one antithetical to everything I’ve experienced in slash fandom - in his movie, fandom was 100% male and everyone the boyfan encountered was really cruel to him, from the female non-fans to the male fans. I am really upset that he’s pursuing a feature version - I can only hope that someone corrects him (I am so incoherently angry I don’t think it can be me) although since they are already filming I have little hope he’d be open to changes." -- naked-bee, July 4, 2015
  2. ^ New Kickstarter for a slash fiction film unsettles the fandom community
  3. ^ Slash, The Kickstarter site
  4. ^ Posting unlocked because I'm peeved
  5. ^ So here’s the Twitter thread I just made about Slash, the Kickstarted film ostensibly about slash fandom that you guys backlashed against last year. untitled tumblr post by bookshop with screencaps of her twitter rant, 13 March 2016. archived. The Tumblr post had 3,985 notes as of 23 August 2016.