Forging an easy rapport with her subjects, Mollie Mills’ powerful docs train an intimate lens on society’s fringe-dwellers and free-thinkers
Giving a voice to the underclasses – that was the catalyst for filmmaker Mollie Mills to start making short documentaries about the pockets of society and fringe youth rarely seen in mainstream film. As Mills will tell you, those are the people with the juiciest stories, and it requires a certain understanding to squeeze that juice out. It’s that mutual respect Mills earns that frees up her subjects. “A societal lack of empathy and acceptance can stop you from being free,” she says. “Amidst marginalising politics, freedom for me can’t be geographical, it’s from the inside out.”
Mills has turned her camera on Bethnal Green’s boxers, a Johannesburg ballerina and an Olympic figure-skater. For Dazed, she ‘death-dropped’ into the voguing scene in a crumbling, post-financial crisis Detroit, and found it an unlikely saving grace for queer POC lives. Another mini-documentary tackled men’s mental health, dismantling the stigma surrounding men sharing their feelings. How she pitchpoles her subjects is the key to her films’ success, and with no subject – or estranged locale – off-limits, Mills is pressing close against the skin of the free-thinkers the world needs to see more of.