With the huge success of studio art films like I Saw the TV Glowand heartfelt, coming-of-age parodies like The People's Joker, it's been a great year for trans cinema. These are just a couple of a wider pool, and we're happy to present one more to add to the list in Alice Maio Mackay's campy genre piece T-BLOCKERS.

T-BLOCKERS is the kind of proudly low-budget film we love to tote around here at No Films School, leaning into the vibe and making something great and a ton of fun to watch. Not to mention also sprinkling some social commentary and satire to sweeten the deal. We love it here.

Below, check out our short-but-sweet interview with T-Blocker's writer-director Alice Maio Mackay on balancing camp, taking your budget as far as it can go, and incorporating practical effects in genre film.

NFS Interviews 'T-BLOCKERS' Writer-Director Alice Maio Mackay

Cultivate Art in Camp With Trans Slasher 'T-BLOCKERS'


Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures

Editor's note: The following interview is edited for length and clarity.

No Film School: What was the process of developing a campy tone?

Alice Maio Mackay: I think the campiness in tone was just kind of natural when developing this film.

From the beginning, the film was influenced by a lot of campy films and my taste also leans inherently towards films of that nature. I think despite that being the overall tone of the film, I also knew I wanted to create a juxtaposition—having the film be grounded in certain moments or with specific characters, especially given the severity of some of the topics being explored. But for the most part, it’s viewed through a campy lens both visually/stylistically and through the text.

NFS: There are some very cool and scary practical effects. Tell me about how you achieved those. What went into choosing practical versus digital effects?

AMM: I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use practical effects. The main reason being an aesthetic preference, especially when a lot of the films referenced or that influenced me prioritized practical over digital effects. Also, the no budget nature of the film meant there was no way (even if we did stylistically prefer digital effects), that we’d be able to afford digital effects that looked good or fitted into the movie.

I’m really grateful to have worked with Adele Shearwin on this film and a couple of others, who are such incredible talents in this space. Adele has worked on films like Talk to Me & AMC’s Firebite, so she’s worked on these larger productions and is always able to bring my vision to life. The only digital effects we used were some eye glows to bring additional life to the goop and gore and some minor screen replacements.

Cultivate Art in Camp With Trans Slasher 'T-BLOCKERS'


Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures

NFS: I loved the film within the film! Can you tell me a little bit about the differences of shooting that?

AMM: For sure, so there needed to be a big aesthetic difference between the two, especially given the film within a film is supposed to be shot in a different time period compared to when the main events take place. We ended up shooting on an actual VHS camera for one day to capture the secondary film, which was a really great experience and something I’d never done before, but aesthetically was perfect for what we needed.

NFS: Any advice for aspiring trans filmmakers and/or filmmakers in general?

AMM: If you have a story to tell, just try and make it happen.

I don’t think there is ever a perfect time to make a film and waiting for the ‘big money’ to make a movie means that in the meantime the world is missing on what you’ve got to say.

And we definitely need more stories from trans filmmakers, and other unique voices! Just be sure to surround yourself with a great team. It isn’t easy and it is creatively challenging when you are working with no budget—you need to make some tough decisions, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.