A trip to the doctor's office is never very fun. Especially for women when it's time for a pap smear. It's an uncomfortable yet routine procedure. In the hands of UK director/writer Kate Herron, however, it sparked a hilarious idea. Smear has played at festivals around the world, including FrightFest, Citizen Jane, Flickerfest, Lund Fantastik, and Morbido. Funny, timely, with some good dance beats and some pretty awesome effects, it has been released online in conjunction with International Women's Day.
A young woman is about to have her first pap smear, and she is nervous. Understandably so, as the procedure has a tendency to unleash some strange, uh, reactions.
Harron made the film to explore pap-smear anxiety, “My friend told me my first pap-smear would be the worst thing that ever happened to me... it wasn’t”. Cervical cancer screening has the lowest attendance numbers for women under 35 but is the most common cancer for women in that age-bracket. Nine women die everyday and two will be diagnosed every day with cervical cancer. Kate hopes the film will encourage more women to go, “tentacles felt the most natural way to do this”
From the press release:
Smear stars Isabella Laughland (Harry Potter), comedians Ben Target (Leicester Mercury Comedian of the year), Mariam Haque, Briony Redman and Katherine Bennett Fox of The Free Association ("UK equivalent to the professionalised improv of Chicago's Second City or Upright Citizen's Brigade, the FA are it" - FestMag) and Rose Johnson from sketch-group Birthday Girls ("This is Joy" The Skinny).
Made by filmmaker Kate Herron (Screen International Star, BBC Hot New Talent List, Forbes 30 under 30), with her writing partner Briony Redman, together they are currently developing an original comedy series with comedian Tom Davis' (Murder in Successville) production company Shiny Button.
Smear is produced by Douglas Cox of Shadowhouse Films (Sundance short film Dawn of the Deaf). It includes a score by emmy-nominated composer Patrick Jonsson (Virunga, The White Helmets) , was shot by Nicola Daley ACS (8th woman in Australian history to be accredited into Australian Society of Cinematographers) and practical effects by BIFA-nominated SFX artist Dan Martin of 13FingerFX (High Rise, Free Fire). Fun fact the inside of the tentacle is the face hugger from alien, modelled on Giger’s wife - that is one famous vagina!
So sit back, try to relax and think of England, and enjoy Smear!