La Sirène, an independent short burlesque film created by Doorstop Productions, will be debuting in Boston around Valentine’s Day.
The storyline follows a stodgy Victorian man, played by Improv Boston’s Michael Buckley, after he falls into his aquarium and gets swept away by a fantastical mermaid, played by renowned Boston burlesque performer Lolli Hoops, in an underwater wonderland.
Stephanie Stender, the film’s director, said the film was inspired by the works of Georges Méliès in the sense that it combines both interesting film techniques and post-production effects. She said that after a year of production, the film promises the audience a magical experience where burlesque and vintage film techniques collide.
“It’s a magical piece of film. The set design is beautiful, the special effects are beautiful, it brings you to a whole new world. You’re taking the journey with the Victorian man,” Stender said. “You’re seeing this new place and it’s kind of fun.”
Kaitlin Hammond, one of the film’s producers, said the film—which combines improvisation, burlesque performances, and unique film technique—brings attention to Boston’s booming burlesque community. She said that it seems appropriate that a film like La Sirène would successfully come together in a city like Boston.
“There’s a community of [burlesque] artists that has grown through the years,” Hammond said. “It’s becoming a much bigger deal across the country, but it’s super entrenched in the culture here.”
Lolli Hoops, the film’s lead actress, said the film does an excellent job of showcasing the range of artistic talent in Boston. She said that as an actress, it was eye-opening for her to see how much talent was locally sourced during the execution of the film.
“I think Boston is a really interesting area for artists who are willing to put in the leg work and willing to look to the other artists around them to build and cultivate community,” Lolli Hoops said. “It turns into that hyper-local feel. When you stick around [Boston], you find these people who are amazing masters of their crafts who really know their arts and want to push themselves.”
Stender said that one of the greatest aspects of the making of this film is that it strongly reflects female talent and empowerment. Doorstop Productions, an all-female production company, strives to place women in the spotlight in a mostly male-dominated industry. She said that La Sirène does an excellent job of showcasing what women can bring to the screen, both in taking lead roles and in production.
Lolli Hoops said that as a burlesque performer, it is important to her that society sees what can happen when women take control of their bodies and use that to express themselves. She said that with the growing infatuation with burlesque—evidenced by the successes of The Slutcracker in Somerville and repeated shows at the Midway Café in Jamaica Plain and the Oberon in Cambridge—Boston is ready for a short film like La Sirène.
“The Slutcracker was this great catalyst that threw the world of burlesque in to the public eye in Boston,” Lolli Hoops said. “It’s a beautiful thing where you get to celebrate your ideas and your body in whatever form it comes in. It shows that confidence is really the sexiest quality a woman can have . . . This film, being made by women, produced by women, and starring women, it’s almost like a lens into all of our worlds. We are a whole bunch of women working really hard to make our art possible, and it’s a really beautiful thing.”
Hammond hopes the film is received well by a variety of people. She said it’s quirky, magical, and appeals to the large variety of audiences found in a city like Boston.
“You come to Boston and it’s more of a liberal town and higher education and people interested in different types of ideas and views,” Hammond said. “That’s why burlesque is doing so well. Film, burlesque, and women’s art is doing really well here; it’s thriving at the moment.”
La Sirène, an independent short burlesque film, will be premiering around Valentine’s Day. For more information and to stay up to date on the film’s progress, visit Doorstop Production’s website.