Local lesbian filmmaker focuses on plot and action

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Filming action-thriller and horror movies with strong-willed and independent lesbian characters is not the typical Utahn’s profession. But for lesbian filmmaker J.A. Steel, there’s no other place to do it.

“I love it here in Utah,” Steel said. “I came here in 2005 and I love it.”

Steel, who moved from Los Angeles, is in the final stages of editing her latest project, Blood Fare, an action-thriller about a Civil War era ghost that comes back to face decedents of his original battle. It will be released through Amazon.com and in select theaters in the fall.

Blood Fare, like most of my films, features lesbian characters, but doesn’t focus on their sexuality,” said Steel, director of the film. “I don’t make the main conflict about sexuality. We’re too busy blowing shit up and killing people to worry about that.”

Steel has been writing screenplays since she was in  junior high and her experience has parlayed into her being a groundbreaking woman filmmaker.

“You just don’t see many female directors and certainly not many female directors of action and horror movies,” Steel said.

Blood Fare is her fourth film, and her other credits include Denizen, Salvation and Third Society.

“I’m always thinking forward and I think my next film might be about a female assassin,” Steel said. “I have a strange way of picking films. I usually wait until I can see myself making it in a dream and then I go for it.”

While some computer effects are utilized, most of the filming is done with the premier makeup artists in the country and everything from bullets to sword wounds are done with makeup, which can help foster an environment that is unique and nostalgic, Steel said.

But finding all the resources and personnel, including actors and makeup artists, to make the films in Utah can be challenge.

“I love that Utah can double as anywhere in the United States,” she said. “But occasionally it is difficult to find adequate talent to fill the roles and I almost always end up going through Los Angeles for actors.”

While filming and living in Utah, she said many of her contacts and meetings take place in Southern California, but she loves being so close to the city.

“My airplane commute of a little over an hour to L.A. is faster than my three-hour drive across the city when I lived there,” she said.

Her films are a tribute to fun-filled action, thriller and suspense and are a perfect fit for summer. All of her movies can be found on Amazon and Salvation is available through Netflix.

In the near future, Steel said she plans on continuing her career in Utah, but there are still hopes and dreams of something much larger.

“I suppose I’d love the Hollywood dream of directing a big budget, Michael Bay Transformers, but I am really happy and pleased with the talent I’ve been able to work with,” Steel said. “And in the meantime, I’ll just keep making movies and blowing things up.”

For up to date information about her latest film, go to WarriorEntertainment.com.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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