WHERE DOES UNICORNLAND FIT IN IN SUPPORTING CHANGE FOR WOMEN IN FILM / REPRESENTATION OF SEXUALITY? WHAT DOES UNICORNLAND MEAN TO YOU?
NANA MENSAH (Actress/Writer/Producer, "Julianne" in Unicornland):
Nick (Leavens, the director) is great, and I’d heard of Lucy and wanted to work with her. New York is a small world. It’s important to keep it in the family, and work with who you love. There’s built in trust with friends and long-time collaborators.
A lot of things I’m working towards were synthesized in Unicornland, so I responded to it right away. I got to play a role that isn’t always available to me, and I got to do comedy. Julianne isn’t a downtrodden character. She’s not strong—she’s fragile—and her sexuality is front and center.
CLEO GRAY (Actress/Producer, "Veronica" in Unicornland):
It’s weird how things that are truths in our lives are never seen portrayed film or TV, and aren’t part of a public conversation We obsess over these things, but there’s no model for how to deal with them. For instance, the idea of a woman in her late twenties, who was married but never had an orgasm in a certain way is something you don't see discussed in film or TV. What we do see is porn, where women come in two seconds. As a result, women feel embarrassed about asking for what they want in bed...but so much of sex is about asking for—demanding—what you want. I love that Unicornland is about that.
My cousin is going through a divorce right now. She’s 34, been with her partner (a woman) for 10 years, and is terrified of being single again. She’s never dated in the time of the internet! I’m excited for her to see Unicornland. It’s enlightening to see how many new options there are for women.
ARINA BLEÍMAN (Cinematographer, DP on Unicornland):
There is a huge gap in the accurate portrayal of the bright spectrum of female sexuality. Unicornland delves into the themes of polyamory, boundaries, and a woman's right to her sexual choices. The series opens a door into a world not often seen on the big screen. It begins a conversation about the intricacies of multiple partners and open relationships.
It also fits right into the digital age where short form content is king—or rather, queen. Web series’ like "Broad City" and "The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl" are widespread success, and going on to become full fledged television series. Unicornland is tapping into that vein.
LAURA RAMADEI (Actress/Producer, "Annie" in Unicornland):
The writing was a nice balance between broad comedy and drama. That felt very real to my life; awkward and funny sometimes, but also rich, meaningful, and entertaining. Unicornland spoke to ownership and individuality in a way that is lacking in so many projects. I believed Annie’s journey, understood her reasons, her successes and failures.
And it was fascinating to work on the project. Because I’ve never come out as gay or queer or had any particular fetishes, I’ve always lived in the sexual norm. I’ve never had to confront the idea of being sexually deviant publicly. Working on Unicornland, I got a taste of what it meant to be exposed and vulnerable in that way. It enhanced my respect for anyone who has come out of a closet.
ERICA ROSE (Director/Producer/Writer, Assistant Director on Unicornland):
Annie’s journey isn’t one you’ve seen before because you’re not sure what her motivation is at the outset. Is she doing this to get over her marriage, or to reclaim her sexual identity? You slowly realize no; this is a complicated person who has an interesting connection to all these couples. She does this for herself, because she wants to. For Annie to be immersed in all these relationships emphasizes what she needs as an individual. It’s a natural step in the dialogue of women taking control of their own sexual agency on screen.
I also personally appreciated that Unicornland was conscious about hiring a lot of women in department head roles. The casting was diverse, and the crew was representative of a lot of different people in the industry.
DIANA OH (Performance Artist/Writer, "Samara" in Unicornland):
Unicornland breaks the mold because it shows women's bodies as subjects not objects. It sets out to view the ugly, vulnerable sides of women's sexuality so that we can be viewed as more human.
ELLEN ROBIN ROSENBERG (HMU / Stylist on Unicornland):
When Lucy approached me about Unicornland, I thought it would be a cool way to be involved in a project I felt strongly about, that adhered to my non-monogamous queer lifestyle. The prospect was intimidating, but I was ready to be “out” in that way.
Reading the script and working on set, I was excited about how Unicornland teaches agency for women. Agency in sex, in personality, in life experience, in the professional world. It’s all about being an active, aggressive agent and member of the world for yourself.
It’s funny because I think many people will be uncomfortable watching Unicornland. They’ll make jokes about it, or say it’s gross. Non-monogamy and female sexual agency are scary to a lot of people—both men and women.
MARCI MUDD (Production Designer on Unicornland):
When I first read the script, the prudish part of me was like, “oh my god." But then, there was a normalcy to it that was intriguing. The actions of the characters, of Annie, were neither disparaged nor glorified. It’s really just a story about a woman who is vulnerable, and figuring out what she wants. That normalcy pulled me in. It set Unicornland apart from other stories where characters are in unusual, overt situations.
I think Unicornland is an important thing for all people to watch. Unfortunately, the people who should see it most will likely cast it off as inappropriate or unacceptable. But Trump’s election has awoken something in a lot of women. Personally I’ve felt a much greater duty as a woman to speak up for myself and for other women, and to be active in valuing my sexuality and my rights. Especially a woman’s right to explore.
Our goal was to make Unicornland inclusive, specifically for people who aren’t in touch with their own sexuality. I’ve witnessed a lot of women having broader, more intimate conversations in post-Trump America because we feel like we’re being outwardly threatened. Unicornland is a way of opening and inviting those conversations.