RECAP: “We all wear masks”: Behind Count on Me

Following the Film with Pride screening of Count On Me, we speak to writer and director, Matteo Mauroni, about the inspiration behind the film, which explores the relationship between the person and the stage persona of its drag queen protagonist, Pandora.

Speaking of what sparked the idea for the story, Matteo says: “Thom Leon, the lead actor in the film, is a real life drag performer known by the stage name of Vanity Von Glow. I came up with the idea for the film after watching one of Vanity’s live shows. 

“Her charisma and energy on stage inspired me to explore the human being behind the colourful make-up and glossy outfits. I wanted to understand the relationship between the person and the stage persona, how the two entities were different and how they coexisted within the same body. Is the drag persona a mask used by the performer to conceal their vulnerabilities, or is it a tool through which they can express their true self?”

Minutes before getting on stage, Pandora is hoping for a mysterious man to appear in the audience. We don’t know who the man is, but it’s clear that she needs his support and his presence. She needs someone to ‘count on’, who will be there for her to offer encouragement, and perhaps validation.

After the performance Sebastian, Pandora’s male alter-ego, helps a young woman on the street who just had an argument with her boyfriend. He now becomes the person the woman can ‘count on’ in a moment of extreme vulnerability.

“We all wear masks,” continues Matteo. “Whether it’s make-up, a costume, an attitude or a particular role that we feel like we need to fulfil. Sebastian tells the woman that ‘people always love us more than we think they do.’ And perhaps that’s true. But the only way to find out is take our make-up off and offer our true, uncensored self to the few precious ones who are willing to receive it.” 

What did you think about Count On Me? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions, why not contact us here or tweet us @FilmWithPride