The LGBT+ History Month 2023 #BehindTheLens celebrates LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to cinema and film from behind the lens. Directors, cinematographers, screen writers, producers, animators, costume designers, special effects, make up artists, lighting directors, musicians, choreographers and beyond.
At a time when LGBT+ lives are in the media we also encourage you to look ‘Behind the Lens’ and listen to LGBT+ peoples’ lived experiences.
Lindsay Cooper - 1951-2013
Bassoon and oboe player, composer for TV and film.
Lindsay Cooper was an English bassoon and oboe player and composer. A composer is someone who writes music to help film and TV tell their stories.
Right up to the end of her life, Cooper remained a highly respected and influential figure in the musical world. She made great contributions to avant-garde and progressive rocket music. She began playing the bassoon at a young age and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music.
She was best known for her band Henry Cow as well as collaborated with a number of musicians and cofounded the Feminist Improvising Group. She wrote scores for film and TV and a song cycle Oh Moscow which was performed live around the world in 1987. She also recorded a number of solo albums, including Rags (1980), The Gold Diggers (1983), and Music For Other Occasions (1986).
Cooper was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1970s, but did not disclose it to the musical community until the late 1990s when her illness prevented her from performing live.
In September 2013, Cooper died from the illness at the age of 62.
Ismail Merchant - 1936-2005
Film producer, director and screenwriter.
Ismail Merchant (born Ismail Noor Muhammad Abdul Rahman) was an Indian film producer, director and screenwriter. At age 13, he developed a close friendship with actress Nimmi, who introduced him to studios in Bombay (now Mumbai) and inspired him to go into the film industry.
Merchant met American movie director James Ivory at a screening in New York of Ivory's documentary The Sword and the Flute in 1959. In May 1961, Merchant and Ivory formed the film production company Merchant Ivory Productions. Merchant and Ivory were long-term life partners. Their professional and romantic partnership lasted 44 years from 1961 until Merchant’s death in 2005.
The Guinness Book of World Records says theirs was the longest partnership in independent cinema history. Until Merchant's death in 2005 they produced nearly 40 films, many of which won awards.
Merchant died in Westminster, England aged 68, following surgery for abdominal ulcers. He was buried in Bada Qabrastan Mumbai in Marine Lines, Mumbai, India on 28 May 2005.
Ismail Merchant did different jobs in the film industry. For example, as a film producer he was able to make sure films run on time and make sure there is enough money; as a film director he was able to help the actors tell the story using the script; and as a screenwriter, he created ideas for new movies.
Tony Richardson - 1928-1991
Film director and producer.
Cecil Antonio "Tony" Richardson was an English theatre and film director and producer. In 1964, Richardson received two Academy Awards (Best Director and Best Picture) for Tom Jones (1963) based on the novel by Henry Fielding.
Richardson's work was stylistically varied. Mademoiselle (1966) was shot noir-style on location in rural France with a static camera, monochrome film stock and no music. The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) was part epic and part animated feature. Laughter in the Dark (1969) and A Delicate Balance (1973) were psychodramas.
Richardson was bisexual, but never acknowledged it publicly until after he was diagnosed with HIV. He died of complications from AIDS on 14 November 1991 at the age of 63.
Tony Richardson did different jobs in the film industry. As a film producer he was able to make sure films were run with the money and time available, and as a film director he was able to help the actors tell the story using the script.
Sophie Xeon - 1986-2021
Music producer, songwriter and DJ
Sophie Xeon, known as SOPHIE, was a Scottish music producer, songwriter, and DJ. Known for a brash and experimental take on pop music that helped pioneer the 2010s hyperpop microgenre, SOPHIE worked closely with artists from the PC Music label, including A.G. Cook and GFOTY, and produced for acts such as Charli XCX, Kim Petras and Madonna.
A music producer creates music: this could involve different musicians or songwriters or different studios where music is recorded as that the music producer can make the song or album is the best it can be.
SOPHIE became more well-known with breakthrough singles "Bipp" (2013) and "Lemonade" (2014). SOPHIE's only studio album “Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides” followed in 2018, earning a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
SOPHIE’S music often had trans narratives and many trans and nonbinary people have shared how much they relate to SOPHIE’s music.
SOPHIE was immersed in music from a young age mainly thanks to SOPHIE’s father and continued to make music throughout teen years.
SOPHIE started to learn how to DJ because of being asked to DJ at SOPHIE’s half-sister’s wedding.
SOPHIE died in January 2021 after accidentally falling from the rooftop of a three-storey building in Athens.