In a society that maintains a cultural taboo around queer identity and expression, video editor Camila Mejía Duque has chosen to use her platform as an influential filmmaker to create purposeful stories that accurately portray and represent the LGBTQ+ community. Her main objective when working on a film is to tell stories that convey who these people are beyond their sexual orientation—a detail that filmmakers and audiences alike tend to fixate on.
When editing a film, Mejía Duque’s ability to highlight the subtle undertones of a scene helps her bring the director’s vision to life in a way that feels nuanced and true to life.
Over the years Mejía Duque has worked on several award-winning films, such as the 2017 drama “Fragile,” which won Best Indie Film at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Awards, and “The Fat One,” which was an Official Finalist at the 2017 Los Angeles CineFest. Her outstanding work on 2018’s “’64 Koufax” won the Best Editing and Best Film Awards at the 2018 Milledgeville Film Festival and the Best Short Film Award at the Barcelona Planet Festival in 2018, among numerous other awards.
Through her current position with content distribution company Digital Media Rights, Mejía Duque was recruited in 2019 as video editor for QTTV; a digital platform offering an array of cinematic perspectives for the LGBTQ+ community. QTTV’s cutting-edge films explore sensual themes and rousing coming-of-age stories, and are available for streaming via Amazon Prime Video, Samsung TV Plus and Yuyu TV.
“Camila understands what the audience wants and what the team’s goals are very quickly,” says Deli Xu, Director of Digital Media Rights. “Her creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication are qualities hard to find combined in one person, and the value she adds to our team is tremendous.”
With an audience of close to 400,000, QTTV tapped Mejía Duque’s editing expertise to entice their subscribers to stream more of their full-length feature films with seductive previews. Mejía Duque’s tantalizing edits strike a balance between sensual and engaging, showcasing the emotional depth of the films without sacrificing the integrity of the full story.
“I prioritize message over everything, and in an industry that sometimes focuses more on aesthetics, I feel that separates me from other editors,” says Mejía Duque. “I obviously want things to look good, but I will always sacrifice an aesthetically pleasing shot for a stronger performance, or for something that has more meaning.”
QTTV’s 2020 film “Godless” uncovers the sexual tensions and layered emotions between two step brothers, but due to the filial aspect of their connection, their feelings are less than ideal. Given that Mejía Duque’s target audience is mainly homosexual men, she curated an arousing edit which explores the sensitivity of the topic, while providing a sense of appropriation for her viewers.
“I always want to make the film attractive and appealing to viewers,” Mejía Duque explains. “I really wanted to showcase the fact that there’s nothing ‘perverted’ about the relationship.”
Mejía Duque’s strength in capturing the emotional and sexual chemistry between the characters, whilst remaining authentic to the script was the foundation that led to the clip garnering over 4.2 million views on YouTube. “Godless” was also an Official Selection at the 2020 Flickes Rhode Island International Film Festival, and was awarded Festival Favorite at Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2020.
The way Mejía Duque manipulates the rhythm within her videos leads viewers to form an emotional attachment with the storyline. Her diligence in filtering through endless hours of raw footage to find those magical character-defining shots helps to perfectly portray authentic personalities in queer films, which can often be misrepresented by the media.
The flirtatious Danish film “Speed Walking,” released via QTTV in 2020, explores a young teen’s conflicting impulses towards both men and women. Mejía Duque’s carefully curated edits helped to break down social stigmas against nonconformist relationships, and encouraged open conversation between young teens around the world about their right to express their desires freely.
“It was very important to me that the film show how genuinely confused these kids were, and how normal it is to explore romantic and sexual feelings in your adolescence,” explains Mejía Duque.
“Speed Walking,” which has over 3.4 million views on YouTube, reached international acclaim at the Chicago International Film Festival (2020), the Danish Film Awards (2020), and the Bodil Awards in Denmark (2020).
Camila Mejía Duque’s unwavering success in curating sensual content which blurs the lines between gender and sexuality, much like her work with QTTV, has helped people around the world to identify with their own sexual orientation. Through her comprehensive film edits, she continues to defy taboos around queer identity and draw focus to an authentic representation of LGBTQ+ culture in media.