Editor’s Comment: Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series debuts and celebrates film scripts factoring into this year’s film awards competition.
For her first feature, filmmaker Georgia Oakley returns to Britain in the 1980s as Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government introduces Section 28, a section of the Local Government Act that seeks to ban the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities across the UK.
At the time, protests were widespread, but many gay women and men felt compelled to keep their sexuality a secret.
blue jeans, written and directed by Oakley, follows Jean, a school gym teacher who keeps her sexuality a secret from her peers. The threat is immediate and real: if revealed, his love life could cost him his job. However, Jean finds little sympathy from his girlfriend Viv. Out and proud, Viv is part of a co-op of similarly strong gay women. Viv views privacy as capitulation to an increasingly oppressive system. As pressure mounts from all sides, the arrival of a new girl at school catalyzes a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core.
blue jeans Debuted at Venice Days, where it won the People’s Choice Award, and went on to play London, Rotterdam and Zurich. The film also picked up four gongs at BIFA, including Best Debut Screenplay, and was nominated for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer at BAFTA.
“My motivation to tell Jean’s story stems from a personal realization of internalized homophobia, as well as a desire to give voice to the forgotten teachers who fought stigma and defamation under Article 28,” Oakley said of the film. “I’m fed up with everyone saying how far we’ve come when such hypocritical, homophobic laws still exist around the world.”
The film stars Rosie McEwen, Kerry Hayes and Lucy Halliday. Produced by Helen Sifre. Additional credits include cinematography by Victor Seguin, editing by Isabella Curry, costume design by Kirstie Halliday and music by Chris Roe.
Read the script here: